Thursday, January 15, 2009
Right before I met Wally this summer, he was lucky enough to go to China to help film a documentary on the Paralympics. His stories from the trip and of the people he met were fascinating and inspiring to me, making me want to learn more about the athletes who competed in the games. So when I saw the listing on NBC for their special on the games I recorded it to make sure I wouldn't miss any of it. The people featured are truly amazing and their families are also amazing and I couldn't help but soak up their stories. One story in particular spoke to me. It was the story of an 18 year old swimmer named Marin Morrison. Marin was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 15. Prior to that she was only seconds away from being able to qualify for the Olympic trials. Hearing her story and listening to her father talk about how grateful he was to still have her in his life brought me to tears. I decided to do some more research on this young lady and discovered her website. I have visited the site many times since I watched the special in November and I am sad to report that this courageous young lady is no longer with us, having succumbed to cancer just after the first of this year. I couldn't figure out what it was about her story that touched me so much until I visited her page today and the picture that greeted me caught me off guard. Marin bore a striking resemblance to my friend, Jessica, from college who died this past year from breast cancer. It is sad to hear stories of people dying so young from such a terrible disease but their strength encourages me. Listening to the struggles they have gone through really puts my problems in perspective. No longer does my lack of romantic partnership or stress over finances seem so important. I am alive and healthy and therefore I am blessed. Having said that I want to share another story with you of a couple who is currently facing this battle. The husband of a woman I attended high school with was diagnosed with lymphoma right before Thanksgiving and started chemo just after Christmas. They are both blogging about this from the patient's perspective and the spouse's perspective. I encourage you to check in on their reports and to be inspired by the optimism they are showing in the face of adversity. It has definitely allowed me to see someone I once knew in a whole new light and to gain a new level of respect for them. God speed, Stuart. I have faith that you will beat this.