Thursday, May 12, 2005

Another Glorious Birthday

"What children take from us, they give…We become people who feel more deeply, question more deeply, hurt more deeply, and love more deeply." Sonia Taitz

Today is my nephew's 9th birthday. Well, big whoop, you say. Every day is some kid's birthday. True, but he's not just any kid. He had a rare cancerous brain tumor removed when he was only four. And now he's nine.

Thank God.

He's a special kid, extraordinary in many ways. He's bright -gifted, in fact- funny, inquisitive, intuitive, kind, sensitive, loving. Maybe it's the cancer experience, maybe he just came that way. Probably a combination of both. No matter how old you are, you don't go through major life-threatening surgery and its aftermath without being altered in some way. And not necessarily for the worse.

In his case, notwithstanding partial deafness and other ongoing neurological issues, he's growing up to be the kind of kid anybody would be proud to have.

Thank God.

A lot of credit goes to his parents. And to his extended family. You don't prepare for a scenario like childhood cancer, you have nightmares about it. Yet his parents handled the surgery, and these ensuing years with strength and grace and yes, even humor. They did more than cope, they overcame. We all helped, but they did the heavy lifting, and so did he.

He continues to do even more. You'd think a kid who's gone through such a humongous trauma would want to forget it, ignore it, pretend it never happened. Not him. He's on a mission. To help other kids.

Lots of folks around him lately have been raising their eyebrows and shaking their heads and wondering what's up with the long hair? He's not a teenager, he's pretty healthy now, how can his parents let him get away with such an indulgence. Indulgence? Not hardly.

He grew his hair long so he could donate it to an organization that uses human hair to make wigs for children who've lost theirs to chemotherapy. Last week, just before Mother's Day, he reached the required length and got a haircut. Now you can see his beautiful face, and his even more beautiful spirit. That's what you call a special kid.

Oh by the way, in case you're wondering, in addition to his laudable qualities, he can be bratty and contrary and stubborn too. Just like any normal nine-year-old boy.

Thank God.

You can read more about him in One for the "Angel Files".

And if you want to do something: Cancer Research Fund - VHL Family Alliance Homepage

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