Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on September 01, 2010
Every given week at The Max Foundation, we deal with an entire range of situations and emotions. Our advocates do their work meticulously, professionally, with compassion and dedication, offering love and support, and linking families from all corners of the world with whatever resources are available for help. Two events recently, however, stopped us in our tracks: we received a package, and a very special video.
The package came from China. In it we uncovered bags with almonds, dates and other delicious goods, and a letter from a father who we had helped for two years as his son was battling blood cancer. This dad, the letter explained, had travelled 19 hours by train to mail this gratitude package to us.
The other mailing was not less overwhelming; it contained a CD with video taken in Uzbekistan. A few months ago we supported blood tests for 15 children from that country. Although these children are able to access medication for their leukemia through an international patient access program, their physician wanted to test their blood to make sure that as they are growing, they are still receiving the optimal dose of the medication that is keeping their leukemia at bay. Because there is no capacity in Uzbekistan to perform this test, these children had never been tested before and their blood samples needed to be taken to Russia.
View video of the event in Uzbekistan on our YouTube channel.
The follow up email we received explained that after securing our funds the doctor had called all the children for their blood work on the same day. Before doing the test, she had organized a party and videotaped it to express their gratitude to us. The video we received contained three hours of recording. There was a talent show, and dancing and singing. There were no dry eyes when one of the children, a 12 year old boy, sang a song he had written to Max and sang it with great passion. The song told of a dream he had, that one day he woke up and saw a boy and the boy was Max and he was coming to help him.
As touched as we were to receive these gifts, we understood that there was nothing we could have possibly done to deserve such an outpouring. The lesson, as I see it, is that this was not at all about us. Instead, this was all about the courage of a father, a doctor, and some brave children. People who some might otherwise call “from low resource settings”, yet people who can teach us a great lesson, a lesson in courage. Somehow our actions had unlocked something powerful that was already inside of them.
We must honor their feelings. Our duty, if any, is to share their courage with everyone willing to hear it so it will continue to grow and inspire others. And this we will do; we hereby commit to every person with the courage to rise above cancer that we will never stop telling why their lives are important. We will use this experience to gain strength to keep up the fight so that in the future, children in Uzbekistan can receive the blood tests they need any time in their own country, and so that fathers do not have to spend two years asking for help for their children in faraway places.