As I mentioned in my first post, the vast majority of the causes I support focus on children. “For The Kids (or FTK, for short)” is used by no less than two of my favorite organizations, THON and Extra-Life (yeah, yeah, shameless self promotion, but it’s all for a great cause).
I have a strong belief that children should be immune from serious illnesses, deformities, injuries, and disabilities. It has nothing to do with religion or spirituality, but everything to do with life, and all of the experiences contained within. While nobody should ever have to suffer from things like cancer, muscular dystrophy, or any of the multitude of ailments that can prevent one from participating in or enjoying something, it is easier to handle it when it happens to a 25 year old than a 5 year old. After all, the adult has had the opportunity to do things like drive, travel, fall in love, perhaps even start a family.
But it’s easy to write vague posts about sick kids in general. Sick Kids In General are like the Buffalo Bills; everybody knows they exist, everybody acknowledges they exist, everybody will get excited and cheer them on when they are doing well, but otherwise nobody will talk about them unless they have to, or they’re a die-hard fan. Luckily for those kids and their families, I’m a fan. I’ve taken the FTK ethos to heart, and every now and again I’ll post some stories and links about some of these kids here, because it is important to put names and faces to things. Unfortunately, a lot of these will be sad (they are sick kids, after all), but there will be quite a few with happy endings to demonstrate the power of hope and perseverance.
Yesterday one of my friends asked me to share the story of her friend’s daughter, Maiyanna, a little girl with a rare form of brain cancer. Being that this week is the third anniversary of my nephew’s passing from brain cancer (expect a post about that on Friday), this hit very close to home. It is my understanding that the outlook is quite grim, and sadly, she doesn’t have too much time left. But I implore you all to look over that page, and think about supporting more brain cancer research so that in the future other families won’t have to endure this kind of heartache.
Another kid whose case I’ve been following for awhile is Xan Moses
If you’re on Facebook, join the Xan’s Fans community. He’s a kid from Louisiana with some sort of neurological condition that is causing his body to slowly deteriorate and shut down, and so far doctors have been unable to figure out what it is. He is currently here in Pittsburgh receiving treatment at our Children’s Hospital. He reminds me a lot of my nephew, in that he is going through this tragic ordeal that is taking a physical toll on him and an emotional toll on his family, but all he wants is to spread love and joy and happiness and laughter. That’s why they started that Xan’s Fans community on FB, because it is his wish to have a million fans before he dies so that he can make a million people smile and be happy. How many little kids do you know are this compassionate? Any time I was sick as a child, I was a miserable little turd, and (appendicitis aside), the worst I ever had was a cold.
But that spirit is something that I’ve noticed exists in almost every kid with a serious, chronic illness. And I think that makes it all the more heart-wrenching to see, and all the more imperative for us to find cures, to save lives, to eliminate diseases.
For The Kids!