Sunday, February 26, 2017

For Sophie: The Power of Concern

The one minute bell had rung. The final bell chimed, yet one-third of my class, the whole left-hand side was missing. What's going on?

No one seemed to know, but this was more than a coincidence. Finally, a young man sworn to secrecy led me out of the classroom.

"Sophie was diagnosed with leukemia today. Everyone is at her house."

It couldn't be. I'd just seen her mother this morning.

"They just got the call, took her home and will take her to the hospital in just a short while."

 I started class, but nothing seemed important enough to teach. As the missing students trickled in, they brought their sadness with them. Foolishly, I took them out of the classroom and tried to catch them up. Their minds were elsewhere, but we had to march onward. One of our teachers came by and reasserted that no one was supposed to know until they had an official diagnosis. We had to pretend; I told them my neighbor's son had been mis-diagnosed, so maybe, just maybe Sophie's was the same mistake....I didn't tell them the mis-diagnosis was 20 years ago.

The next school day, before first period started, all teachers were summoned into the faculty workroom, where the director gave us the official punch: Sophie had acute lymphoblastomic leukemia and was in for the fight of her life. I put my head down and wept.

When I returned to the workroom, the soccer coach had just gathered his team to break the news. I walked out just as he gave them the news, and knowing of the shock to come, I put my head down again.

Yesterday, the soccer coach, who'd started a go fund me, asked if I would help get the word out.  Teachers and students were donating, but he knew it wouldn't take the fund very high.

Acute lymphoblastomic leukemia is a costly fight.

When I saw Sophie last week, she was happy and confident in spite of just having had bone marrow taken out of her back. She looked so tiny in her hospital bed, a David against a Goliath with one tiny stone.

Please read Sophie's story, and if you feel moved to do so, throw in a stone.

This morning I opened my email to find this message from a Japanese exchange student who is currently attending our school. I immensely appreciated his perspective because I was worried about sharing this with family, friends and with blog readers--especially when we might be getting used to gofundme requests. We may forget the power of concern that comes with itHe writes:

This is the link to a gofundme for a girl at Maeser that has cancer.  We can send her money through this link in order to help her with treatment.  I want to encourage you guys to help her by sharing this on Facebook or saving a couple of dollars and donating it to her.  We can all do something for her.
I'm so surprised to see this campaign.  I have never seen anything so wonderful like this to help somebody.  I haven't ever seen this in Japan, espcially near me.  I have discovered how kind , awesone and helpful Americans can be to each other.  Maybe Japanese people can learn from this.  
Before, there were many occasions that I would get bothered or annoyed by small things, like a paper cut, or when my host siblings are fighting.  These seem so small in comparison to being sick with cancer and being stuck in a bed in the hospital.  I feel lucky now and am just thankful for ordinary days.  I really want us all to find ways to help this girl and I hope she gets better very soon.