Monday, September 5

A Cause to Believe In

Jk wears this green bracelet all the time. It's one of those rubber, livestrong-like bracelets that only cost about $2, but it means the world to me.

My brother, Grant, was diagnosed with a terminal illness when he was very young. He had a mitochondrial disease--which is just a big, scientific word that means his body had a hard time producing enough energy. I always found that notion so strange, since Grant always seemed to have so much energy. He was constantly zipping around in his wheelchair or wanting to wrestle or laughing or signing or getting into trouble. Apparently, though, his cells weren't able to produce enough energy to keep his different systems working. Slowly, they all just began shutting down.

It's hard to watch your brother die. Especially when it's your little brother--the one you're supposed to take care of. It's hard watching pieces of someone you love fade away until it seems there's nothing left. I would never say it's worse than having someone die suddenly. It's just very different. And it's very difficult. Anyone who has ever experienced it with a parent or grandparent or any loved one, knows that.

There's a little boy at Orchard who has cancer. He's in kindergarten, and he spent almost his entire last year in the hospital undergoing an intensive stem-cell treatment. His parents are blessed enough to have the money to help him battle through it. And they have the time, resources and resilliance to go through it with him. Other children at Riley Hospital, though, don't have their parents there with them each day. They don't have anyone really.

Which is why Aidan Brown's mother visits her son at Riley. And she also visits other children. And it is also why Aidan's family created the Aidan Brown Foundation: a non-profit group that raises money to buy iPads for children receiving long-term treatment at Riley. 100% of the proceeds go directly to the kids, and it's an amazing thing.

Whether it's cancer or a mitochondrial disease or unclean water or sex trafficking or broken homes in your own neighborhood, it's good to have something to fight. Something you can make a difference in. It does something for your heart and your perspective in life when you find a cause to believe in. Whether you're giving time or money or emotional support, it's good.

And it's nice to know you're not fighting alone and you aren't the only one who believes in a brighter tomorrow.

Which is why I'm glad Jk wears his bracelet.

September 18-24 is Awareness Week for the United Mitocondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF). Check it out, read about it. It's one of the causes I believe in.

What's yours?

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