In all honesty, I used to be afraid to walk in hospitals; scared to encounter sickness, to know fear in the eyes of patients, and see it reflected in my own eyes. But, my assumed experience is so far from the reality.
In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer
You see, ever since “Avery’s Lion”, I have had these undeserved opportunities to encounter children who know how delicate life can be, and they have single-handedly given me a new understanding and appreciation of life itself…
Walking in these hospital rooms, life hits you square in the face. These smiles leave no room for darkness, and something in their eyes speaks to exactly where your heart is afraid. These children have met challenges and felt suffering of the deepest kind. It’s as though the trials have deeply carved out the caverns of their hearts, only to leave a massive capacity for a raging river of life, grace, truth and hope to flood their entire beings.
Here’s one story…
Today I went to the Children’s Hospital Colorado for a meeting to discuss further ways I can use art to help these kids. Upon my arrival, someone handed me a folder with my name on it. I opened it to find a beautiful drawing of a lion with a big mountain in the background…so after my visit to the Hospital, I felt the urge to drive out to this little artist’s home in Broomfield, Colorado and tell him “Thank you” in person.
Addison is 11 years old.
He was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 5 and since then was in CHEMO for 1,168 days, 74 visits to the Children’s Hospital Colorado, 4 birthday celebrations on the cancer floor, 6 blood transfusions, 3 Bone Marrow aspirations, and 20 spinal taps…today he is a survivor!
He set a goal to give 100 speeches last year, and he made his goal…in these speeches, among other words of wisdom, he will tell you “three things you need to know about having cancer, but more importantly about life itself.”
1. Make friends at a place and it will become your favorite!
2. Someone is always having a worse day than you.
3. The present is a gift, right here, right now. Some people don’t see the present as a gift, but you should choose to make it a gift.
Addison and his family reminded me of what is important today, and for that, I told him I would tell you too! Thank you, Addison, Madelene and Sarah for sharing your story with me! I only hope to be more like you:)
“Avery’s Lion” will continue to be on sale for the entirety of the year to continue supporting my efforts in helping raise awareness for cancer. Spread the news, far and wide, and never hesitate to share your ideas with me!
Find out more about Addison here, and be sure to watch this video (don’t forget a tissue).