Not long after Harrison’s recovery from his stroke, one of Lachlan’s best friends, Jansen Kidd, had a football birthday party. I took Harrison. He tried desperately to play, but was just unable to run. It was heartbreaking.
But Jansen had a surprise for Harrison.
When it came time to open gifts, Jansen called Harrison over. Jansen had asked his friends, tons of them, to get gifts for Harrison instead. He presented all of those gifts to Harrison, who was shocked and moved. It was an entirely unexpected blessing for a little kid who, as far as anyone knew at the time, was still not responding to chemotherapy.
Jansen was a ninth-grader. But he was mature beyond his years.
In an act of heroic generosity he gave every birthday gift away to make life better for a boy with cancer. His selflessness is an enduring testimony to the blessing of authentic friendships.
And tonight, when Lachlan, Jansen, and their teammates at North Raleigh Christian Academy take the field to do battle on the gridiron, orange stickers donated by Jansen and his sister Catherine will be affixed to their helmets. Football parents, band parents, and others, have taken it on themselves to help raise awareness, not of Harrison’s battle, but of the fight of the 50,000 kids in cancer treatment right now.
The Knights, whose colors already include gold, will wear orange socks as a sign of solidarity with kids like Harrison who are unable to play the sport they love so much because of cancer.
Maybe one NRCA student wearing orange tonight will decide to pursue studies in medicine and will discover a cure for childhood leukemia. Perhaps a parents will be moved to lead their business to adopt childhood cancer as a cause. Maybe a little girl will, like Harrison’s classmates two years ago, sell duct-tape wallets to raise money for treatments. Maybe a mom who watches her child suffer every day will find strength in the show of support.
I am so encouraged by the stories I am hearing of high school football teams recognizing childhood cancer awareness month. I your child’s school would be interested in helping save kids’ lives though awareness, please email me.
P.S. This afternoon Gov. Pat McCrory make a presentation at the UNC Children’s Hospital in honor of kids fighting cancer and memory of those who fought valiantly but lost, on September 13, which was declared Childhood Cancer Awareness Day in North Carolina in 2010. Until today, I had no idea.