This isn’t our families 1st pandemic

The Happy Crates Family

Shorty's Kindness Crew is finally here!

      I’ve been trying to put into words what’s been traveling through my mind over the last few months. The world is in the midst of a pandemic, and life as we knew it, changed at the flip of a switch in back in 2020 across the world. Every bit of “life as we knew it” changed fast, and without much warning. “Normal” ripped away in an instant. 


      As the mom of a child who is courageously battling brain cancer, and has been since he was 8 weeks old, this pandemic is different, yet much the same. My name is Lauren, the proud mom of 3, the founder of Happy Crates, and known as “Darren’s mom" by many. Almost 12 years in the childhood cancer world, and Darren trudges through every single obstacle that cancer brings like a BEAST! Always dancing, always SMILING, always hugging and pretty much always while singing praise and worship music or one of his favorite tunes by Andy Grammer!

****Insert video of him singing praise and worship on the intro to his 1st google meet with his 4th grade class during quarantine.


      “Your child has cancer” are the words that started what felt like, our family's 1st pandemic, back in October of 2009.  As a 22 year old 1st time Mom, I stood over a crib in the PICU next to my husband, staring at our sweet innocent 8 week old baby, and we heard the words that no parent should ever have to hear.  We were told all of the facts, but yet we had ZERO control over how fast, or IF we could cure our son’s brain cancer, because there is NO cure. 

      We “adjusted” to the life that we have to live at a different pace, and a different “normal” than most families, as a cancer family. What was looming as such a deadly threat of a battle, dark, sad, and full of worry, fear, and anxiety, has bloomed into a collection of many beautiful moments that rise to the top in our hearts, as we seek to find the joy in everyday. Those dark and sad moments still come and go, as Darren is currently in a “watch and wait” phase of treatment (his type of tumor can go dormant), but we know that God is with us, and the light from those around us shines so bright with love and support that carries us through. It's kindness that remains the same, through all of this. Our mission is to be that same community of light and kindness, to children (and their families) fighting cancer all over the U.S.


      Watching people who have never experienced the joy that comes from helping others, light up the world with kindness is an incredibly beautiful thing. I love that people are experiencing the kind of joy that comes from lending a simple helping hand, and just purely being KIND! 


     Is it odd that I feel like maybe now, more people will understand what is important in life? Both beautiful and tragic at the same time. I often say, “I wish that I could lend out my view on life and how beautiful it is, without giving the pain I’ve endured, to see through that lens.” This too holds true, for so many who have been through storms in life and come through it broken, yet with a new lens to view the world.


Right now, fear is the loss of a loved one in the midst of this storm. It’s absolutely devastating that for many, that fear has become a reality, and they never got to say goodbye or hold them one more time.


 Right now, fear is in a disease staring you in the face, and threatening to wreck everything in your “normal” routine and way of life. 


Right now, fear is everything around you crumbling and falling and you have no control over much of it. 


Fear is becoming so entranced by the negative, that it begins to consume your mind and take over your way of thinking. Even though worry does nothing but steal joy. 


All of the above hold true for our childhood cancer pandemic, and the Covid-19 pandemic. ALL of the above and more, but let me tell you something else……

God is good!

Fear is a liar!

And worry steals joy!

People always ask “how are you always so positive??”. That’s a whole ‘nother blog, but in a nutshell cliff notes version,

it’s that everyday, I have a choice to do the following:

CHOOSE to find the joy

CHOOSE to find the light

CHOOSE to find the courage to keep up the fight

CHOOSE to find the smiles 

CHOOSE to find the love

CHOOSE to find my purpose in life

Seek the light, search for the joy, and Be Kind.


Our new “Shorty’s Crew” apparel collection is our heart, and a chance for everyone to help us spread SMILES and kindness! For every piece of "Shorty’s Crew" apparel sold, we get to put a SMILE on the face of a child fighting cancer in the U.S. You spread the message, we spread the SMILES!

Grab your Shorty’s Crew kindness Gear here……….and share us with a friend! 

Shop Happy Crates for top quality fun and apparel for any occasion 🙂


Stand tall to fight childhood cancer, and BE KIND like Shorty!

Together, we create SMILES! 



Lauren Leonard

Mom, Wife, Daughter, Friend, Aunt, Cancer Mom

CEO & Founder, Happy Crates, LLC 

This isn’t our families 1st pandemic

By Lauren Leonard | Sep 7, 2021 | Comments Off on This isn’t our families 1st pandemic

The Happy Crates Family       I’ve been trying to put into words what’s been traveling through my mind over the last few months. The world is in the midst of a pandemic, and life as we knew it, changed at the flip of a switch in back in 2020 across the world. Every […]

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