I guess I’ve had kind of a hard week. I’m never really mentally ready for school to begin, so there’s that, the annual mind-numbing process of being thrust so thoroughly into so many structured school and extracurricular routines at once – which I liken to the burn upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere that a space shuttle experiences after floating quietly through space for a time – but I’ve got lots of other stuff on my mind, too.
Now that I think about it, we didn’t exactly have a quiet summer. Ours was oddly chaotic for various and sundry reasons, some of them quite positive, but lesson learned. More down-time next summer. More time to relax, with absolutely nothing on the calendar. I’ll make sure we get it.
But someone else I love may not, and that’s really weighing on me. One of my dearest friends is waging the battle of her life, against chronic lymphatic leukemia, and it recently became way more aggressive. Way. But my friend? She’s a fighter. There’s still one more big gun in her arsenal, a bone marrow transplant, and she’s going for it. But, try as she might, she just can’t fire that dang gun all by herself.
That’s where you and I come in.
Because if there’s one "cool" thing that can be said about this particular cancer, it’s that a cure exists, and we can be part of the cure. Holy smokes! There’s someone out there, right now, who can help cure my friend! It boggles my mind that it’s that simple. We just need to find that person, and stat.
So please, if you have any inclination at all to at least see what’s involved in the process, visit bethematch.org. Being tested is no more complicated than collecting a mere cheek swab of cells (the test kit, $100, is tax-deductible). According to the website, only one in 540 people who join the registry actually go on to donate, and potential donors can remove themselves from the registry at any time. Please consider it. If it’s not my sweet friend you get to fight for, perhaps you’ll become someone else’s angel, an answer to their prayers.
So yeah, rough week, to say the least. Plus, my allergies kicked my butt, particularly given the oppressive heat. By Thursday afternoon, I was feeling pretty wiped out. I just wanted to go back to bed. Instead, I made sure Holly got to soccer practice and then I headed to the stadium at Batavia High School to watch Noah’s second soccer game of the season.
I wasn’t feeling all that sociable but wound up sitting with my friend Margaret and her youngest, Maggie. Don’t little ones and puppies sometimes know just what we need? Maggie, an irresistible, impish sprite of a child with curly locks and eyes that really do smile, sidled up and presented me with a dandelion. Not a vibrant yellow one, but one she’d plucked from among the weeds behind the bleachers, one barely clinging to its wispy white seeds.
She instructed me make a wish. It had lots of seeds, so I got to make lots of wishes. And I did.
But then I had to blow my nose.
“Are you coming back?” Maggie called after me, as I headed off to the ladies’ room. She’d had to hike all the way down those big bleachers to ask a second time, as I’d been too stuffed-up to hear her, at first.
“I sure am!” I called back, my spirits lifting. Is there anything more energizing and heartwarming than knowing that a small child wants your company? My friend, the one fighting for her life, she knows just what that’s like. She’s a beloved elementary school teacher. She wants to come back, too. With our help, she just might do it.
• Jennifer DuBose lives in Batavia with her husband, Todd, and their two children, Noah and Holly. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.