Often times, it’s our kids who inspire us.
They don’t know that they’re supposed to feel bad for themselves. They just want to feel better so they can get back to being kids. They bounce back quicker, not just because they are young, but because they want to move forward, they want to get past their illness.
They don’t dwell.
Even if they’ve had a crappy day, a day filled with pain and anxiety, with pokes and prods and tests and sticks, even after surgeries, or chemotherapy, or dialysis, or injury, they go to sleep and the next day they re-evaluate. If they are better, even just a little bit, you can tell because their eyes are clearer, their smiles are wider, they want to do more things. We as parents help them celebrate small victories, marking their progress the way we mark their height in tiny increments on the kitchen wall. We are their cheerleaders, and they are our heroes.
SickKids in Toronto has launched a new ad campaign called “VS.” It’s a moving video showing sick kids versus their illnesses. It shows kids as knights, or prize fighters, or motorcyclists, or professional wrestlers. It shows them beating the odds. It is powerful because it manages to show you the steep hill they are climbing with these illnesses in a short amount of time.
Watch it here. Have tissues ready.
The picture I’ve posted above is of Wendy. Here, she is four years old. She had spent over 100 days in the hospital, she was taking 14 medications in different combinations, every two hours. She was on five blood pressure medications, and she was getting up to eight shots a day of insulin. You might not recognize her because she had chubby cheeks because she was in kidney failure and one of her medications made her grow extra hair all over her body. But just look at that smile. That’s a kid who still played on the playground, climbed up trees, swam in the pool.
We just worked the medical stuff around her.
The other night Wendy and I were lucky enough to be invited to an event for the hospital, called the Storybook Ball. At it, there were many people who had heard of her video and came up to her, both to tell her that they had cared for her as a patient, and that they were inspired by her video. It couldn’t have been possible without the Architectural Firm Payette, who led the way through the whole cartoon. They utilized all of their extra talents, the ones they don’t use every day, to create this video. Wendy inspired them, and they created an inspirational work.
They have written about the video from their perspective, and you can read that on their website. It is fair to say that it is impossible to thank them enough.
One of the sweetest moments since the release of the video last week, was a short email from an Emergency Room Attending Physician. She wrote to say that she was already using it with her patients when they arrived and that it seemed to be entertaining and calming to them.
It’s so amazing to know that after all that time, after all that work, that it’s going to make a difference in the life of kids who are in pain. It’s actually working.
This kid inspires. Lots of kids inspire. They teach us to keep moving forward.
I’m going to end this rather short post with one of my favorite quotes, one that reminds me of lots of kids like Wendy, lots of Brave Fragile Warriors:
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”
― Mary Anne Radmacher