Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I left my arch in SF

Just got back from Costco where I picked up the jumbo 64 ounce container of Ben Gay.
It wasn't for me, it was for my wife.


Because this past weekend she did what she had previously thought impossible. She completed the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. I know she thought she'd never live to see the day where she could proclaim, "I've run a marathon", because she was always in disbelief when she would see me at the finish line of the LA marathon.

"I don't know how you could do that."

Well, now she has the runner's badge of courage, a couple of lovely thick black toenails. And has gained entry into the exclusive 26.2 mile club. I couldn't be prouder of her.

But believe it or not, crossing the finish line is not the top story here. That honor belongs to a brave 11-year old boy, who fiercely battled and eventually succumbed to leukemia.

Let's turn the clock back a few years when our neighbors suggested we hire their nanny and housekeeper, Sylvia, who was looking to earn extra money. Deb and I were working and we needed the extra help around the house.

Sylvia arrived at her house with her son, David, in tow. He was a smiley young boy with a penchant for soccer and video games. From his affable demeanor you'd never know he was fighting a life-threatening disease. But he was so we did everything we could to brighten his day.

I dusted off the PlayStation 2, which never got much use in my house of Estrogen, and secured as much Sony swag (from friends at Chiat/Day) to give to David. So while his mom scoured every corner of our house, David planted himself in front of the TV and found himself in a little bit of temporary heaven.

And temporary it was.

Up and down rounds of chemo and radiation took its toll on his formerly stout body. That led to all night vigils at Children's Hospital and then a fate no parent, no less a single mother from El Salvador struggling to make ends meet, should ever face.

Fast forward a couple of years and Sylvia, a woman strengthened by the experience, found herself enrolling in the Team in Training to run a race to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Needing running mates, she enlisted my wife and our neighbor Kirsten as well.

Well, the finish line has been crossed, the epsom salts have been purchased and thousands of dollars have been raised. But, if you'll excuse the clicheed writing, the race is not over.

There are other Davids and other Sylvias out there. And their stories deserve a happier ending.

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