Let me introduce you to my friend, Stacy. Stacy and I attended Pepperdine together and both majored in music. I don't remember how our connection started -- just looking at the two of us, you never would have expected us to be good friends -- but that's what happened. We studied together, hung out in the practice rooms together, and just did life together for many years. As we neared graduation, life took us in different directions, but we remained friends.
After graduation, Stacy and I lost touch. I often wondered how life had treated her after returning to her native Wisconsin. With the birth of Facebook, Stacy and I reconnected and I got my answers. It was always fun to see her posts and feel as though I had some idea what was going on in her life. A few weeks ago, I began to follow her daily posts with much more interest. One of her children, August (who is also called "Auggie") began to have a medical crisis.
Auggie's day began as usual, but in a flash, he was suddenly unable to walk or use muscles on one side of his body. Immediately hospitalized in a Wisconsin children's hospital, the search for the cause of his illness began. I watched in horror from a distance as this child that I have never met became worse daily. He was unable to keep food down and was obviously becoming frustrated with his weakened condition. Stacy and her husband, Grant, were dealing with sleepless nights since one of them had to stay with Auggie around the clock because the hospital couldn't provide staff to help the child clear his throat in the event of another vomiting episode. (Because of Auggie's inability to move, he would choke without assistance.)
Doctors provided lots of hypotheses about Auggie's condition. I cringed as I read of each new test this once-vibrant child was facing. Each new test ruled out a possible condition, but answers seemed to be fleeting. As the search for a cause continued, Auggie began to face hours of therapy in addition to the medical tests. This child needed to learn how to function in a wheelchair as well as how to complete basic tasks to return to some level of normalcy. By this point, I was ready to hop in my car and make a trip to Wisconsin! Even if I didn't know Grant or the kids, there had to be something I could do to help. The fact that I had no car available while recovering from my own accident helped me decide that the best thing I could do right now was to follow the daily updates and vigilantly pray for this precious child.
After several weeks of struggles for the family, the update no one wanted to see appeared. It had become clear that Auggie was a very sick child. On a late May afternoon, Stacy shared a beautiful post that Grant had written announcing the findings. Their son had been diagnosed with juvenile Multiple Sclerosis (MS). My heart broke for Auggie. In a moment, his life -- and the lives of his family and friends -- were forever changed. It was definitely an answer that no one wanted to hear.
So now what? How does this impact me? My prayer has become that I won't forget about Auggie, Stacy, and Grant in the weeks and months ahead and that I will continue to intercede for them. In the meantime, I am educating myself about MS -- its treatment, research, and fund raising efforts. I'm hoping to learn if there are any plans in the works for a benefit concert for Auggie -- Stacy has been actively involved in the thriving theater in her community -- and see if I can join the efforts as a performer. But most of all, I will thank God for the healthy children around me and ask for His mercy and peace to be poured out on those dealing with life-altering illnesses as part of their daily routine.
- P.S. - Livin' Life will not appear on Monday in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. I'll be spending the day with family, but posts will resume on Wednesday with the latest installment of "Hits and Misses."