One of the reasons I love what I do is because I get to drop into and out of people’s lives, almost like I’m sampling food at a buffet. Today I’ll try a bit of this person’s life and tomorrow I’ll experience a bit of that person’s life. It’s a very unique opportunity that a lot of people don’t have.
I like to think it helps to provide me with a bit of insight and clarity about my own life. A lot of people would benefit from walking a mile in another person’s shoes. It might make them appreciate all of the blessings they have.
Last week I met nine-year-old Delaney Hall, her mother Lynn, and her relative Carol Huelsmann. I learned that Delaney had recently asked all of the guests at her birthday party to bring swatches of fabric instead of presents. She used that fabric to make blankets for the sick children at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in honor of her cousin Galen, who passed away from leukemia in 2013.
Now apparently making blankets in honor of Galen is nothing new. From what Carol told me, she estimates Team Galen has made and donated close to 1,400 blankets to Children’s Hospital. But just because others have done it before doesn’t mean its any less special. Heck, making 1,400 blankets seems like quite the accomplishment to me.
I met up with Delaney, Lynn, and Carol last week to deliver a batch of 40 blankets to the hospital staff. I talked with them about Galen, making the blankets, and dealing with such a horrible twist of life.
Galen was only 16 when he passed away. Think about your life after you turned 16 years old. Think about everything you’ve done. Now imagine it was all taken away by disease.
It dawned on me as we walked the halls that I had never been to St. Louis Children’s Hospital until that moment. I immediately counted myself fortunate that I’ve never had a reason to go. I wasn’t sick as a kid and I don’t have any relatives or friends that ever had to to go or stay there. Realizing that was a real eye opening moment too.
“Forget about trying to imagine what it would be like to have a life-threatening disease at age 16, and just think about how lucky I am not to have never been here before,” I thought to myself.
After a bit it was time to go. We made our way back to the parking garage where we went our separate ways. I had re-entered my own life, where my biggest concern was where I would grab a quick bite of lunch (I ended up at Lion’s Choice for those who are interested).
Just like every other visit into other people’s lives, my visit with Delaney, Lynn, and Carol taught me a few things. It’s one thing to say you’re fortunate, but it’s another thing to be put in a situation where you really realize it. I’m still blown away by my realization of how fortunate I am to have never set foot in Children’s Hospital for any reason (and God forbid, it stays that way). I also learned that despite all of the negative things you see and hear in the news and on television, there are parents that are teaching their kids to be kind and generous to those who need help. Delaney didn’t just decide to ask for fabric for her birthday out of thin air. She had a family who raised her to think of others.
I’m not sure what life situation I will pop into next week, but I can only hope I take away as much as I did this week with Delaney, Lynn, Carol, and Galen.