Paying it Forward

Steve McKinionUncategorized3 Comments

A few weeks ago a student at Southeastern Seminary wrote and asked me a few questions about Harrison’s interests in professional sporting teams, particularly football. He had seen the post about Peyton Manning’s phone call, and wanted to know which teams Harrison liked, and which players were his favorites. Of course, I didn’t know why.

A week later our mailbox was filled to overflowing with packages addressed to Harrison (he gets card almost daily as well). Every day for the last week or so the mailbox has been full with these packages; forty or fifty so far. Inside them? Baseball and football cards of Harrison’s favorite teams and players: Eli, Peyton, Josh Hamilton, Brian Roberts, Matt Kemp…. Box sets of his favorite teams. He can’t believe it!

This student has somehow rallied a community of sports card enthusiasts to help brighten Harrison’s day. And it has worked beyond his wildest imaginations. Every day Harrison opens the packages, reads some of the nicest notes, and thumbs through the cards. Just today packages came from Maryland, Massachusetts, Texas, Nevada, New Jersey, and Maine. Unbelievable.

I’ll never meet, probably, any of these people, but if they find this site I’d love for them to hear a huge THANK YOU from Harrison and his family. Your kindness has brightened my son’s dark day, and that is the greatest gift I could imagine. And THANK YOU to Perry for rallying this community to my son’s side during this time. I pray rich blessings for you and all your friends who have helped.

Imagine Harrison’s surprise when he opened a box containing this:


There was no return name or address, just a box. Inside was just the helmet and a certificate of authenticity that the helmet was signed by Edgerrin James, the great Colts running back. Whoever is responsible for this, THANK YOU.

As I think about all this kindness, I remember some advice a friend whose child also endured cancer gave to me about gifts. In essence he said, “You will never be able to repay the kindness people show to you. Many people you’ll never meet, and will never have met. Don’t try to repay them. Instead, pay it forward.”

I wish I could speak directly to everyone who has blessed my son and our family. I’ve forgotten to say thank you to more people than I have thanked. In a fog, I sometimes even forgot what people have done. But people have been so gracious, it would take a lifetime to say thank you to each one. Please know this, your prayers, emails, phone calls, visits, gift cards, football cards, meals, and even cash are not taken for granted. As you have given to us, we’ll give to others. You may one day be the person at UNC hospital wondering where the money for cancer treatment will come from. You may be the one watching a child’s face light up when s/he opens a package or sees a gift. If so, our family wants to be the one who gives whatever we can to say, “You are not alone.”

As a way of saying thank you, we pledge to “pay it forward” to the next family who needs a blessing.

3 Comments on “Paying it Forward”

  1. What a great way of projecting the positive side of keeping the revolving door of “gifts”. God has blessed our family over and over again from the response of friends and loved ones. We need to embrace each other in small steps of kindness and love. Remember “Footprints In The Heart”. Love, Joyce

  2. Hey Harrison – we are thinking about You and Praying for Your speedy recovery. You are a wonderful teammate and I we look forward to many more baseball games in the years to come. Grant Smith and Family.

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