Many of you who read this blog know my family, others do not. Some of you know that between us, Jeff and I have 4 grown children and 5 grandchildren, with two more on the way. Last Christmas, a family crisis in California changed us — in good ways — forever.
On December 7, our 7-year-old grandson, Aaron, was diagnosed with a massive brain tumor. I flew in from England immediately and spent the rest of the month with my family there while Aaron had brain surgery and began his recovery, first with 3 weeks in a pediatric intensive care unit (where we all spent Christmas) and then with another few weeks in a Children’s Hospital Rehabilitation unit. There he had to re-learn the basic skills of standing and walking. We saw and experienced things in those weeks that touched us deeply.
To make a long story short, Aaron far surpassed the our wildest hopes and insisted on returning to school almost as soon as he was released from the hospital in mid-January. By mid-March, he was discharged from physical therapy and we had “our” Aaron back, fully and completely, with only a few scars on his head, which he seems to think of as a badge of honor of some sort. In his words, “I had a brain tumor, but it’s gone now.” His most recent MRI was clear and he’s looking forward to a long and normal life….
….Except that in some ways the word normal could now read exceptional. I don’t think it is possible to go through what he did without growing up quickly in some remarkable ways. As a family, we were beautifully supported by family, friends, and community during that strange and stressful Christmas season. People gave and gave…. and gave. Now, less than 6 months after his diagnosis, Aaron has found a way to give back.
He has decided to fundraise for a local pediatric brain tumor foundation, the Sami Disharoon Foundation, who stepped in immediately when they realized that Aaron’s family needed financial help so that his parents could take the necessary time off work to be at his bedside. On May 10, Aaron, his sister Anna, and his mother, Kirsten, will be participating in Sonoma County’s Human Race to raise money to be used in helping other children’s families. His two little sisters, Abigail and Amelia, and his father, Greg, will be cheering from the sidelines.
Aaron has written a little webpage which I invite you to visit here. He has always loved money and is excited about this opportunity to raise funds to help others, checking his totals daily. Following the links, you’ll notice that Aaron has pledged high; this is an 8-year-old who has good reason to believe in miracles!
If I learned anything last December, it is that we live in a kind and generous community. Volunteering has always been part of my life, but never before had I been on the receiving end like this. As a grandmother, I am pleased and proud that Aaron is choosing to say thank you in such an open-hearted way. To see him walking is nothing short of a miracle; to see him walking for the benefit of others is sheer joy. My heart is full.
If you would like to support Aaron in his efforts to raise money for the Disharoon Foundation, please go his webpage or contact me for details on how to contribute to a fund that will be matched by Kirsten’s employer. And wherever you are when you read this, I invite you to think back on the miracles in your life and ask yourself how you might express your gratitude for those miracles.