From Here to There

An Ambitious Adventure in Life, Style, and Everything in Between

Breathe In Breathe Out….

November 13, 2010

Breathe in and breathe out. That’s all any of us can do. Today has been a great day and I couldn’t have asked for more. I mentioned early last week that the ball was officially rolling on my documentary and I had been able to meet some amazing kids on Floor 5 (Oncology) at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

I talked about a boy I met that was suffering from a rare form of reoccurring brain cancer. He and his mother were kind enough to let me in to their home today just to hang out and talk about the ups and downs they have been going through as of late. As I said before, I am intentionally withholding his name for privacy’s sake. But, I can’t wait for you guys to meet _____ and the family in the final documentary. The word amazing just doesn’t measure up. His mother will most likely be embarrassed when she sees me bragging on her like this. But, I can’t help it. From what I have been told, every parent, child, and family member handles this journey differently. Because no one person is the same. No one situation is the same. But, I can’t help but think that this family is doing something right. They don’t walk around depressed or shaking their fists at the sky. I wouldn’t blame them if they were. But, instead they are grateful for everyday they spend together. They’re overjoyed at the idea of teasing each other and making plans for tomorrow and the next day and the next day…..in hopes for a better test result, a respite from the battle, or a glimmer of hope in a new trial or treatment.

My only hope is that this family’s beautiful spirit and especially _____’s unfaltering determination will shine through in the documentary. I am so glad that this boy has worked with Art With a Heart. He is too, practically glowing when he talks about them and urging funding for it every chance he gets! He’s just so passionate about helping others at a time when it would be perfectly reasonable to be selfish! I admire his positivity. As I said in my last blog, I am thrilled to be doing something with purpose my senior year of college.

This entire process has already been life altering and everyday is a little piece of my journey with this organization. Every time I meet another child battling through this, I feel like I’m peering in on an intimate struggle. At first, it was very uncomfortable because I was tiptoeing a thin line between violating privacy and getting what I needed to tell a story worth telling. But, everyone has been so amazing to me and they each have a story worth telling. It becomes more and more personal to me everyday and I feel like I need to take a good look in the mirror before climbing into bed each night. I examine myself, embrace the good, and weed out the bad…..and breathe. 


From Here to There

An Ambitious Adventure in Life, Style, and Everything in Between

I Want to Live

November 3, 2010

Where does the time go? Holy crow, this week has gone by so quick! Sometimes, I feel like time is just getting eaten up and thrown away every single day. So, I’ve made it my purpose to set out to do something worth doing everyday. That can be hard when I’m trying to balance the multitude of equally important priorities in my life, but when I look back on my life; I want to say that this time counted for something. I want to say that I did something purposeful.

The next few weeks are going to be InSaNe until I finish the semester. I need to wrap up my senior seminar documentary, get ready to open in Little Women next month, make the most out of my internship with Ch 4, and figure out some way to actually pass my other classes! (Math…gross..)

In other stressful news, my puppy passed away on Monday. It was really awful. We had Daisy for 12 years and she was really a part of the family. I know it seems silly to some people, but losing your pet can be very traumatic. Everyone was really upset so now we’re just sort of dealing with it the best way we know how and trying to remember Daisy at her very best. I was so sad on Monday that I didn’t want to do anything at all.

But, instead I went to my filming that I had arranged for my documentary and am so grateful that I did. I met an amazing young man, who shall remain nameless for the sake of privacy. He is fourteen years old and is suffering from brain cancer. The doctors say his prognosis at the moment is not promising, yet he seems to stay positive and full of life.

I am blown away by the amount of courage he has displayed and it really put my life into perspective. I am so thankful for the many blessings in my life and I hope I don’t take too many things for granted. There was one thing that he said to his Mom (who is also a strong and courageous human being) that really stuck with me. When discussing the different types of therapy available to him, ____ and his Mom were at an impasse because one particular treatment had a slightly higher success rate, but takes a dreadful toll on the body, leaving the patient bed ridden. The lesser therapy is also effective but has less consequence in regards to patient time spent in the hospital. ____ decided to take the route with less effect on the time he would need to stay at the hospital. His reason to his mother was as follows, “I don’t just want to survive, I want to live.”

Today, I filmed a visiting artist session with the kids from the oncology floor. The organization brought in a local artist, a painter, who worked extensively with the kids for about 2 hours to take their mind off the chemo. One girl had her chemo drip taken off while she was in the session so she could have a break. Her face lit up for the first time since I’d been there. That overwhelming joy, stemming from a break from this hardship that is too heavy for a child her age, must be a breath of fresh air. I could see the light on her Mom’s face. This, in conjunction with her time in the session made her happy, even if just for a second. And that one second of happiness is what this organization is all about.

Working with these children just in the brief amount of time I have, has had a more profound affect on my point of view than anything else has in years. These kids have a strength and maturity powerful enough to move mountains, but it exists inside these weak and frail bodies. I know many of these things have been said before and I don’t intend to be trite, but I aspire to their bravery and I don’t even think they realize how great they are. Another boy, a seven year old, spent his time in the session room today. He was completely bald from the treatments he’d received but strutted in the room with confidence I can only hope to garner at some point in my life. He wasn’t much bigger than my four year old nephew, but he came walking into the room with the IV drip three times his size in tow. Of course, his mother tried to push it for him, but he wouldn’t have it. Honestly, when I first saw him it felt like a kick in the gut and the tears immediately welled up in my eyes. I can’t imagine how the people in AWAH push through this everyday, but I am definitely glad they do. After meeting with him and observing his time with the paint, I got to see even more of his beautiful personality on display and I felt at ease. I understand now that the reward in making even just one child smile is far greater than any pity you could feel for them. I hope I can fulfill my purpose here, I’m counting on it.