When Josiah was diagnosed, our small church rallied around us. For months, we didn’t buy groceries, do our laundry or keep up with cleaning. I’d come home in the middle of the night from the hospital to find a clean apartment and a full fridge, often with an encouraging note, gift card or check on the kitchen counter.
As many of you know, my pal Federico Viticci who runs MacStories was diagnosed with cancer a while back. He’s just gotten scan results, and has a ways to go in his fight with his disease. Just reading replies to him on Twitter is more than enough to make me swell with pride from the support the broader Nerd Community is giving him in this time.
I’ve told the story before, but one night a few weeks after Josiah’s initial surgery, I was opening a pile of mail on the living room floor. I was exhausted, but needed to pay some bills before sleeping and returning to the hospital, where my wife had spent the night next to our son. I opened a letter and check from a church in Alabama. Turns out, they had a prayer meeting about Josiah. I know no one in that town, and couldn’t find the church on Google Maps. Yet, they had heard of Josiah’s circumstances and wanted to show their support. The small check they mailed us wasn’t much, but I could feel the weight in the paper, knowing it was a large amount for some.
My high school buddy PJ is three quarters of the way through his chemo treatment. Like so many stories I’ve heard, PJ’s diagnosis was a surprise, and subsequent news wasn’t as good as it could have been. He and his wife just moved out west, and while they don’t have family there, I know many people are in contact with them almost daily. Communication is key while in treatment, and thankfully, PJ is always willing to be honest with me and others about what’s going on.
There’s something about tragedy and suffering that brings humans together. We am have an in-built sense of what’s right and fair, and when babies or twenty-somethings get a terrible diagnosis, it lights a fire in our chests. We’re compelled to help, no matter how small our encouragement can be. Maybe it’s a tweet, a letter, a check or a meal. Maybe it’s laying on the floor of a hospital bathroom, letting someone cry into your chest. Whatever it is, I know the power of we is bigger than the power of cancer.
So, instead of “just” offering support, do something to solve the problem, too. I’ve added a banner at the top of the site linking to St. Jude. Go donate. There are lots of other great institutions fighting cancer, too. Go donate to them. Do something.
We’re depending on you.