By Laura Edwards

Fighting Batten disease has changed my perspective on life. It’s affected my system for assigning value to things, from those that can be bought and sold to those that cannot. Tonight, on the eve of another Thanksgiving Day, here are just some of the things for which I’m thankful.

Ice cream. You can get it in a carton, cup or cone. You can get it in almost any imaginable flavor. It always tastes good. It almost always makes a sad day less sad.

ice cream

Two (mostly) healthy legs and feet, two functioning eyes and a great pair of running shoes. Together, they help me run for my little sister four to five days a week. Running is the best antidepressant for me. Without it, I may have lost my sanity a long time ago.

Tar Heel 10 Miler

Beautiful places. When I stood on the edge of this magnificent valley in the North Cascades range of Washington state last year, I wondered aloud how anyone could ever possibly question that there is a God.

north cascadesMy West Highland white terrier, Daisy. I brought her home because I wanted something snuggly to love on at night. She’s given me that and so much more.


True friends. If I could claim nothing other than a few really good friends, I’d still be rich.


My Grandma Kathryn – one of the purest, kindest, most selfless people ever to walk the face of the earth. She taught me to love long walks on the beach and hush puppies with honey butter and the written word, but most importantly, she taught me to believe in myself. Tomorrow will likely be the last Thanksgiving we spend together.

Grandma Kathryn

My brother. Ten years ago, I would have sworn up and down that we’d never get along. We still don’t agree on everything, but who does? Stephen – I’m proud of you!

Stephen and Laura

My parents. They gave me opportunities, but they also challenged me to want to be the best I could be. They taught me to reach for the space between unattainable perfection and self-respect. I owe at least some small slice of everything I have – everything I am – to them.

Mom and Dad at cake cutting

My husband, John – my best friend since our junior year of high school. My rock.


Moments of joy that burst out of the darkness of despair. Moments we want to hold onto forever.


A girl who taught the rest of us a lot about love. About courage. About never giving up – regardless of the odds.

moving up day

The word ‘believe.’


This day. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I have today. And it is a gift.

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