Sunday, October 19, 2008

Does Any of This Really Matter?

The Team in Training slogan is "Saving Lives One Mile At A Time". Is that true? Does it really make a difference if I finish every mile? If it take $1.3 billion to develop one new cancer drug, does one dollar make a difference? Or what about the Childhood Cancer Petition? Ajay's dad wants 1 million signatures, so can just one signature make a difference? Can any one person or one act really make a difference?

I don't know a lot of things, but allow me tell you something I do know.

Last month my sister called me from California. A co-worker overheard her talking about Tyler and Burkitt's Lymphoma. The co-worker approached my sister to say her brother-in-law, Steve Measer, also had Burkitt's. Chemo and radiation had stopped working, and he was in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately there were no matches in the National Bone Marrow Registry. We posted his information on this blog, asking people to register (Here is the post).

A couple of days later I received an email from someone who stumbled onto this blog. He had never heard of Steve, but they had the same last name. It turns out they are distant cousins, and a potential bone marrow match. The matching process has begun. A single conversation and posting on a blog. Family from opposite coasts are connected, and a life can saved.

We have had many examples like this. Sinjin had Burkitt's and reached out to Brett Workman. Brett reached out to Tyler, who then completed the loop with Sinjin. When Sinjin relapsed again, the doctors said there were no options remaining. Brett's mom called, Sinjin's mom call, and we all compared notes and research. A treatment was found and Sinjin is alive today.

As I think back on this past year, it seems some of the "smallest" acts have made the greatest impacts. A young boy showing up at our home with an envelope of his birthday money. Ajay's dad and aunt flying to Houston to meet us at MD Anderson Cancer Center. A call from a stranger offering their home when they read we were at the Cancer Institute in Boston. The "Team Tyler" hats that were mailed to us from someone in Florida. The calls and visits and cards from so many. The information we received from new friends on the cancer floors. All of it mattered a lot.

So does it really matter? At first my answer was a resounding "Yes!" But as I think about it, I think it's actually the answer that does not matter. I think we are supposed to do these things because they are the right things to do. We are are to look into those flames of Hell and tell cancer we will not surrender. Win or lose, we will not surrender. I do not know which mile, or dollar, or signature, or blog post, or conversation will be the one to change anything. But in spite of that, or maybe because of that, I will keep fighting in every way I can.

So we run another mile, give another dollar, sign a petition, visit another friend, and continue the awareness. And in doing so we help ourselves. And we help those around us. And maybe, just maybe, we become part of a true miracle in the life of another human being.

I need to head out now. The race starts in 2 1/2 hours.

If you think running 26.2 miles is hard, try taking chemo. I've got the easy job.

8 comments:

Mom said...

Does it really matter?

Kyle, Is is your profound words that puts everything, even life itself in proper perspective. Evey kind act, every caring and prayful heart is what does really matter. In all things there is a purpose and a reason. Perhaps that purpose was for Tyler through his fight to show us how to love more, care more and do more for others.

I watched you run the marathon from the Internet today. You absolutely amaze me with your devotion, dedication and commitment. You not only talk the talk - you walk (run) the walk. I have never been more proud of you. You continue to teach us all to be and do better each day.

Thank you for being so amazing.

I love you so much, blisters and all,

Mom

AJay Piniewski said...

god speed my friend

Stef Tarapchak said...

Yes, every little thing does matter in this fight!!
Looking forward to your post on the race. We will, of course, give you a few days to recover!!!

JD said...

3779 out of 3867!

Kyle Alfriend ROCKS!

Way to Kyle!!

JD

Lisa Slonecker said...

Kyle--How great it was to see you at the marathon!! I know you DID it because you were almost done when we saw you. Of course, I had no doubt.

Jana was also thrilled to be able to meet you and hopes to meet Tyler some time soon.

You should be so pleased--you set a goal and you DID it. Way to go!!!

Lisa Slonecker

julie and ivory said...

hi i know you dont know us but i remember hearing your name on j5 from time to time. i agree with the running the mile, ivory my little girl was very lucky not to have to do chemo, but she did do 31 round of radation and that was hard on its own.
julie and ivory
www.caringbridge.org/visit/ivoryisaac

Anonymous said...

I saw you at the finish -- heard them announce your name.

Way to go!!!

Steve and Karen

Anonymous said...

I have been following yoour blog---and then gave you water at the mile 23 water station!

You were really out of it. But still running!

Way to go!

Carol