Vignettes of Love–Part 2: Dawn,Chris,Carson and Zackary, Post #15

What do you do when life throws you a curve ball? Dawn and Chris know how to handle curve balls. They have always been such a precious couple in my life. They met when they were 19 years old at college and were inseparable. We as Dawn’s best college friends knew they would marry.  They married right after college, in 1995.  They epitomize–back then and today– a Christ-centered marriage.

For almost 20 years, their whole marriage, Chris has awakened daily at 6am to have his quiet time and Bible reading, and eats breakfast with his family, then he leaves for work.  They pray together, laugh together, work hard together, and have fun together as a family. Life often seems so perfect in the calm before the curve ball.

Their curve ball came in 2003, when Dawn was 30 years old. While enjoying their two-year-old son Carson and pregnant with their second child,  Dawn was diagnosed with colon cancer… Just typing those words brings tears to my eyes, recalling the shock. How could someone our age have colon cancer, especially Dawn who was pregnant?

A prayerful decision was made to operate. When the growing baby in her womb was five months along, anointed doctors made an incision from her breasts down to her pelvis. The nurses held that baby outside of her body while 13 cancerous inches of her colon was removed, then gently placed the baby miraculously back into her body. Miracles never cease.

The surgery was not the worst of the battle. Her incision down the front of her body had a difficult time healing because, as the baby grew inside of her, her skin and stitches stretched tautly. Dawn could hardly stand up straight because it hurt too much to stretch her healing incision. Not only could she not stand up straight, she also was not supposed to pick up her beautiful two-year-old son Carson.

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” echoed in my heart from A Tale of Two Cities.

How did we respond as Dawn’s friends? What did we do? We prayed and rallied around her. We all came to Charlotte, took Dawn out for a spa day with a manicure/pedicure, then rented a hotel suite to have a slumber party. She was real in telling us all the details. We were real to listen. To cry with her. To laugh with her (although it hurt to laugh, she loves to laugh). To hug her. To hear her. To let her know we love her and value her. 

Dawn, Chris, and Carson came to Charleston to visit and stay with me two months later. By this time she was seven months pregnant. I remember us going to Fort Sumter and Dawn trying to push Carson in his baby stroller, and she couldn’t stand up straight. We heard the ferry boat whistle indicating that we needed to get on the boat. Dawn ran like “ET” with baby stroller while Chris ran ahead with our tickets. We laughed so hard. We had so much fun. Dawn laughed through her pain. Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.

Dawn delivered baby Zackary on Mother’s Day 2004, the miracle boy. We say he was “born again” on the day he was birthed. Dawn began chemo two weeks after he was born and couldn’t breast feed.  Both Zackary and big brother Carson have hearts of gold. They are good boys, good students, are good role models. I love them as I would my own children.

Dawn and Chris  go on date nights often, and go on “Celebration of Life” cruises each year on the anniversary of her cancer surgery.  They savor every moment. Dawn and Chris are such an inspiration, and their marriage is one of dying to self and living for God, each other, their two sons and others–even when life throws you curve balls.

Christian Broadcasting Network’s “700 Club” featured Dawn and Chris’s story in December 2012. Enjoy their poignant feature video clip now by clicking on the link below.

 The 700 Club–Baby Born Again, featuring Dawn, Chris and Zackary


–Why does it seem sometimes that bad things happen to us? To draw us closer to God?

–Please comment below.

Renew with One of Dawn’s favorite verses:

–“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” –Joshua 1:9


–What can you learn from Dawn, Chris, Carson and Zackary?



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Leave a comment here | 7 Comments


  1. Wonderful story! I really enjoyed the video about Zackary. God always gives us answers to the why, but on “his time”. Thank you for sharing.

  2. onalee Avinger says:

    Another tear jerker!!!Love these true stories!!You are an awesome writer to be able to bring those tears to our eyes!!I love you!!Can’t wait for next week!!

  3. Lori Starling says:

    Great post Danya! Still hard to believe all that Dawn, Chris, Carson and Zackary went through. I remember that phone call and the shock so vividly. Two summers ago while on a beach trip with Dawn and family, I was watching Zackary playing with my 2 boys (then 5 and 2) and I could help but let the tears flow as I thought about what a true miracle it is that he is here on this earth. The faith that Dawn and Chris and those doctors had and the countless prayers that were said for sweet Zackary. He was loved by so many before he was even born. I cannot wait to see what Zacky (as my little boy calls him) does with his life. I truly believe God has great plans for him! Love to you Danya and Dawn, Chris, Carson and Zacky!! 🙂

    • Awwww Lori! His touching! I love y’all more than u know! Danya’s blog is awesome and touching many lives. We love u DANYA!


  5. J Joyner-Talbot says:

    For God knew the plans that he had in store for them. They are an awesome couple and family that is centered and anchored in Christ. I have known them & watched afar for over 20 years and watched God at work…Continued Blessings Carr Family

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