Last night I attended my 11 year old daughter’s choir concert. The music was very nice and I have to admit for middle schoolers, I was very impressed with the harmonies and blending of voices that the choral director had been able to achieve with these kids.
While the voices were very good and I really enjoyed getting to see my youngest daughter perform on stage, there was one very special moment which occurred which literally choked me up.
I can’t recall whether I have told you that our oldest son who is now 19, is a 16 year cancer survivor. He was diagnosed at three with neuroblastoma, went through chemo and radiation and eventually had an autologous bone marrow transplant. We consider ourselves very fortunate that he is alive today and very thankful to everyone who played a part in his treatment and recovery.
So how does our oldest son having had cancer have anything to do with my daughter’s concert last night?
Well, the Chamber Singers, which is the school’s elite choir sang a song called “I’ll Make the Difference” which just happens to be a song written for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. It is a beautiful song whose lyrics are truly inspirational and there is a beautiful female solo which starts it off. Having a son who is a cancer survior, having lost both my father and mother-in-law to cancer and having been an active participant in the Relay for Life for many years you can imagine that anything to do with cancer has a special meaning to me. Over the years though, I have been able to suppress certain emotions on the outside when facing anything cancer-related. But last night was different.
See, a few years ago a young boy in our town was diagnosed with Leukemia and after several attempts with chemo he eventually had a bone marrow transplant. The donor was his sister who happened to be in the same grade with our youngest son.
The soloist was this same girl who was the marrow donor for her brother.
Now you might think she was selected for this part because of her story, and in part that may be true, but she has a beautiful voice and is a member of the State Honors Choir.
Seeing her up there singing this song about hope and helping others and knowing what she had already done in her life for others….well, you get my point.
After, the song I looked over at her dad and brother who were sitting a few rows down from us and I could see the joy in their faces. They were both giving her a special hand signal which would make no sense to anyone else, but probably meant everything to them.
It’s moments like this that make you realize how precious life is and question what you have done to make a difference. Is raising your family and living a model life enough? Or do you need to be active in the community and participate in helping others outside of your family to make a difference?
We are all busy in our daily lives and we have enough to keep us busy with our immediate family. But the real reward and the real difference is when you go beyond what you have to do.
The next time you are faced with an opportunity to help someone else, do it before you are asked.