Today Kyle's Kamp honors a special friend, Mathias Giordano - one of the most charming, brave, polite, compassionate and funny boys I have ever met - who was lost a year ago today to osteosarcoma. In the past year, his loyal friends and family have done some remarkable work for pediatric cancer patients in his name. They have been relentless - courageously showing up at event after event. And every time I see them, I feel both the absence and the presence of my young friend in equal measure. A year later, we find this world Mathias left increasingly broken and dark. We feel increasingly terrified and weary. This boy we lost endured 30 rounds of chemo, 3 major lung surgeries and the amputation of his leg. I'm certain that on many days he was terrified and weary. And yet, in the times I saw him, he seemed always to be looking at the world as it should be, as it could be and not as it was.
This morning I wonder how Mathias might have changed the world if only we'd worked harder to find the right treatments for him. I wonder how the future of a boy so compassionate, so brave, so full of character could have helped to heal the world if only we could have healed him. Then I remember that Mathias only needed just a short time - a handful of hours with me - to teach me what one person can do to change the world. Mathias had his turn to make the world better and he was a champion. He is leaving us to our turn. Our God has called us off the bench, friends. Our turn. We're up.
This week Kyle's Kamp will host a Holiday Shop for patients at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Falls Church. We have been overwhelmed with gift donations for children of all ages and for moms and dads as well. Patients with appointments will be welcomed to shop (free of charge) for a gift for each of their family members and of course, will choose something for themselves. Volunteers will wrap and tag the gifts for the patients and send them home with packages to give to their families. I look forward to spending this week and most especially this day, when are hearts our heavy with the memory of our friend, among the brave and beautiful children fighting cancer in our area.
Mathias, I cannot promise that in this 2nd year of a world without your example that there will not be times that I will be terrified and weary. But, today I am ready. Today I will choose hope and faith. Today I will work hard in my little corner of the world to make it as it should be, as it could be. You taught me well, friend.
Jenn Skinner is a Christian and a Texan(Texas Longhorn to be specific!) living in beautiful Virginia with her very patient and funny husband and her 3 very impatient and funny little boys/ball players, She joined the fight against Pediatric Cancer with Kyle's Kamp in 2013. She also writes about just about everything and nothing and the ridiculously abundant life God has gifted her at her blog, The View From Behind Home Plate