The One with Flames on the Side
Sawyer sifted thoughtfully through his toys. He picked out a few cars. Some planes. And another car. The red one with the flames on the side. The blue one with the doors that open. Then another plane. One more.
He knew this was an important job. Finally satisfied, he stuffed his collection into a Ziploc bag.
It was time to go. He climbed into his seat in the back of our SUV, carrying his precious cargo in his lap all the way there.We were on our way to see a little boy named Demetrius. He was three, the same age as Sawyer. Difference was, Demetrius had leukemia.
If that wasn’t enough, his father had lost his job and they foreclosed on their house. They were now renting a teeny house in a not-so-nice section of town. And his mother, who was told she likely could not get pregnant again, was, in fact, pregnant and due the following month.
We’d packed our car with tons of donated baby things: a high chair, bouncer, crib bedding, blankets, a breast pump—and, of course, the toys for Demetrius.
He could use some fun. Chemotherapy caused him to vomit so often throughout the day that trips to the park across the street were out. He was even scared to go to sleep at night because he knew he’d get sick.
I had asked Sawyer if he’d like to pick a toy or two to give him. Sawyer was really thrilled at the idea and kept adding to the pile.
“Mommy! I’m going to give him these toys and he’s going to be all better!” Sawyer said.
If only it were that simple. Demetrius was so excited he literally threw up.
I met Demetrius through Team in Training (TNT), the endurance sports training fundraising branch of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. He was one of our team’s Honored Heroes. I decided to run my first marathon and raised almost $5,000 through donations from family and friends—and even from Internet acquaintancesI’d never actually met—to help the cause.
I learned that people really do want to help, but often don’t know how.
We drove away that day feeling good about what we’d done. But we also worried was it enough? Could we do more?
There are so many in need. Sometimes it’s hard for us to stop in our busy lives and not just look around, but really take action.
But for children? It comes naturally.