Wednesday, July 22, 2009


cour·age: That quality of mind which enables one to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, or without fear, or fainting of heart; valor; boldness; resolution. Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Firmness of mind and will in the face of extreme difficulty. Firm determination to achieve one's ends.

These used to be just words to me. I thought I understood them, but I did not. That is, not until I saw courage in the flesh. I understood when I saw children, including my own son, fighting cancer. I watched them stare into the face of Hell, and fight with everything they have to give. That is courage. They do not fight because the odds are on their side, or victory is assured. They fight because that is who they are. Courage is in their heart and in their soul. They fight to win.

And I have seen the courage of parents. Parents who make decisions, as they understand there are no clear answers, and talking to 10 doctors will give you 20 opinions. I have come to know many parents, and have seen a lot different decisions. But all of those decisions were based on pure love for their child. Every one of those decisions required incredible amounts of courage.
If you have never had the opportunity to witness pure courage, please allow me show two examples.

Mason McLeod has Burkitt's. For over a year he has battled it with incredible courage. His parents have searched treatments throughout the U.S. and even into Europe. There have been battles with doctors and insurance companies. Mason has fought 5 relapses, countless high dose chemos, a bone marrow transplant from his younger brother, a coma, and the list goes on. Still, because of courage, they have never faltered. With courage they have fought. And with courage they have trusted God to give them the strength to continue the fight.

Now the battle has gone to another level. The demands on their courage is even greater. The cancer is attacking with a vengeance, and the known medical options offer no solutions. It now comes down to a miracle. But miracles do happen (never forget that). Please keep this courageous family in your prayers. As Mason's mom says, "Keeping the faith always and believing that God has big plans for Mason on this earth!"

Zac Mason had ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia). He was diagnosed last year, just as Tyler reached remission. Zac has fought a courageous battle, as his father has met with doctors and researched options. So many decisions in pediatric cancer must be made with incomplete data from under-funded research. So how do you make decisions when there are more questions than answers? How do you do this when the stakes are nothing less than the life of your child? You research and talk to every one you can. And you search heart. And you pray. Then, with courage, you make the decision.
Zac has relapsed, and treatments are not working. Still, he continues to fight his battle with courage. His father continues to research options and make decisions. A new treatment has been found, and the Mason's are currently evaluating a move to either St Judes or MD Anderson to perform the treatment. Please keep the Mason family in your thoughts an prayers.

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

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We are knocked down, but never destroyed.
--2 Corinthians 4:8,9

Every day is a gift. Everyday holds the hope of changing the world. Everyday is a
chance to make life AWESOME!
--Jake Silberg (survivor of Burkitt's)

Cancer-I intend not only to beat you, but to better the lives of everyone I can: By loving them, encouraging them, giving them information, making them laugh, praying for them and by any other means I can. Cancer, you are not the end. You are merely my opportunity to serve others and perhaps my only chance to attain at least some small measure of heroism.
--Mark Hartwig

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear--not the absence of fear.
--Mark Twain
Team in Training:
Training for this marathon has been harder than last year. I've done okay, even running while on the cruise a few weeks ago. Then I go an injury, and ordered to stop running for 10 days. Getting back into it was has been hard. Then this past week was a father -son trip to Florida. I did the miles, but took it easy. Then blew off the 10 mile run because I was traveling.
Lost of excuses. Then, while in Florida, I heard from the families of Mason McLeod and Zac Mason. Now my excuses about "this is hard" seem very stupid. And I feel fat and lazy. No more excuses.

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