Monday, November 10, 2008

Lessons From Our Children

I have been amazed at the wisdom that comes from these young men and women as they fight cancer. Their strength is beyond anything I have ever witnessed. Some articulate their fights very well. Other show it through their actions and quiet strength. For others, you can simply see it in their eyes. Tyler's courageous battle and victory against cancer has changed my perspective on life. He is an amazing young man.

Miles Levin said his measure of success is based on the amount of impact he could have on others. For this reason he called cancer his "ugly blessing", because it allowed him to impact more people.

Katie Gerstenberger was 12 years old when cancer changed her life. Yesterday Katie's mother made a list of life lessons her daughter has taught her. I would like to share a few.

  • I need to stop saying "I'm sorry" so often.
  • I can't fix a lot of what I see, but I can be present with others who are suffering. And while it feels small, it is enough because it is everything I have to offer.
  • Courage can be seen in hundreds of small steps.
  • There are many ways to honor another person's dignity.
  • A dying child can still worry about the future (and the feelings) of those around them.
  • The treatments, surgeries, and suffering endured are all worthwhile, in order to live.
  • A child knows who they like and don't like, and it's all okay; we need to listen to that knowing.
  • Kids see right through adults who underestimate them (or who think they are smarter than kids).
  • You can be in a powerless position, and still find a way to do good within it.
  • It’s possible to laugh at yourself in the strangest circumstances you can imagine.
  • It’s possible to feel loved in the most dangerous situations.
  • It’s a privilege to be allowed to do things for your loved ones.
  • When you are really loved, and beautiful inside, you are gorgeous...with or without your hair.
  • A huge scar is a sign of strength, survival and endurance. It's a badge of honor, not of disfigurement.
  • "It" could be worse.
  • Hope is important.
  • Age does not limit insight or maturity; a young person can have the wisdom of a wise, old person.
  • No one knows exactly how you feel; no one, but people do care deeply.
  • True love knows no limits: not space, time, suffering, life or death.

12 year old Katie lost her 10 month battle with cancer, but her impact on others will never be forgotten.

There is only one path to greatness and it runs through hell. Trials make or break a person. The greater the ordeal, the more strength you’ll attain upon surmounting it, or the further you will fall. So while I have been given a terrible curse, I have also been given a rare opportunity. I would go so far as to call it an ugly blessing. While it has been challenging, I’ve had friends, family, and resources to help me through it.

--Miles Levin. At age 18, Miles lost his battle with cancer.


Mom said...


We must not forget these precious children. Their lives will and especially their suffering will not be in vain if we take over their fight.

Check out CureSearch.Org for more information on Childhood cancer.

See you next week - can't wait,



Jenni said...

Hi Tyler,
I am glad that you are doing well! My son Cliff (14) was treated at Nationwide the same time you received treatment. Cliff was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma and has been off treatment since July 1. I am sure that we have probably seen you guys in J-5 or clinic at sometime. We are praying for your family and wish you all the best!
Take care,

Curt McCormick said...

Your blog is almost too much for me. In equal parts, it brings me to tears and inspires me to do more and to do it better. I have put up "what is hard" in my office, thank you for that.
Curt McCormick

Rubypat said...

I came to your blog from Sinjin's page. I have read through some of your posts (and I'll read more when I have time.) What powerful stories you tell; what a difference even one person can make. I have fought my personal battle with cancer, and am glad that money had been available for research. I cannot understand why the same approach is not taken towards the cancers that affect our children. Words such as you have written, when spread around the world, may challenge individuals, groups, and nations to invest the money necessary to save our children. God bless you as you spread the word!

polly from angel_wings said...

Holding you close in our hearts,
our thoughts and our prayers.

Trish, Mary Jane and Polly
Angel_Wings Prayer Warriors