Just about two weeks ago, I was informed that an 8 year old boy in my community had been diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. The boy’s father serves as policeman for the local city, but his insurance provider would not cover the mounting costs of the boys cancer nor treatment. In only a few days from hearing the news, the community that I live in began a goal of organizing a benefit dinner and auction to raise money for the boy and his family. A local restaurant set aside the venue and food, boutique shops and vendors donated auction items, volunteers got the word out through Facebook accounts, at church, through neighborhood yahoo groups, and at little league baseball games. Balloons were inflated, decorations put out and music filled the evening as the sun began to set among the hills near Bee Caves, Texas.
Just about two weeks ago I learned about an 8 year old boy who would begin a struggle against cancer. At the time I was not familiar with the boy. I did not know his family and had never met them. For most of my neighbors and those in this community, the same held true. Yet, for my community that mattered little and on the evening of November 11th at a friendly place called Bountiful, people came. They arrived as individuals, as couples and with their entire family. They bought raffle tickets, ate dinner, donated cash, and bid on auction items. The outpouring was powerful.
Just about two weeks ago I thought about my own kids. I wondered how I would feel if one of them was faced with the challenge of juvenile cancer. I imagined the fear and uncertainty of that situation and wondered how I might react. And then last Wednesday evening a beautiful 8 year old boy approached me. He had lost most his hair and wore a surgical mask to guard against any compromise to a weakened immune system. Around him stood families and children who had come to support him and to provide help in a time of need. They didn’t need to know him personally. They simply understood the need that had arose and put aside everything else to make a difference for this little guy. If that is not the definition of community, then I frankly don’t know what is.
I am proud to be a part of a community that cares enough to make this kind of difference. And in a world that seems so preoccupied with blaming others and thinking of only themselves, its more than significant to see so many taking responsibility for helping others in need. For all of those who made a difference that night…here’s to you. Our kids are a blessing…mine and the family down the street who I might not know.