I’m getting really excited for this Sunday, May 13 – the day of the Sporting Life 10Km walk/run for Camp Oochigeas, a camp for kids with cancer. I’m walking the 10Km with my husband, a small group of friends and two of my kids. The athletes in the group are running the course, kicking up dust in our faces as they disappear into the horizon. Some of us aren’t strangers to walking and have travelled much farther than 10k so we’re not really concerned about the distance.
We’re Team Bryan.
Bryan is a very special little boy in the very last stages of palliative care, having been diagnosed with a brain tumour in April, 2011. That he is still with us is miraculous in itself. That he has drawn together a motley group of runners and walkers, some of whom have never even met him or each other, is a testament to the power of love.
I first met Bryan when he walked into my Saturday morning First Communion Class in September, 2011. Already showing signs of an aggressive brain tumour, he had me when he smiled. His parents wanted him to know as much as he could about God while he was still able.
From the beginning, I felt strong maternal and nursing protective instincts towards Bryan and every week I had him sit in the seat right beside my desk. He was inquisitive in class and at the same time brought a mischievous sense of humour. He wanted to know if God can laugh. He asked why the Oil of Chrism looked like pee(!). He wondered why God made broccoli and why women wear lipstick. When he got too weak to come to class, I took Catechism lessons to him, at his home. When he became even weaker and lessons had to stop, I kept visiting. I’m just one of many people who continue to journey with Bryan and his family. Bryan has a way of drawing people to himself.
These days, Bryan lies in a comatose state, his beautiful little body ravaged by an unbelievably cruel disease. His heartbroken family and friends continue to watch and journey with him. We’re helpless at this point. None of us understand why things are the way they are but some of us choose to put our faith in God whom we know loved us to the point of His own crucifixion. My Wise Friend likened Bryan’s suffering to Jesus’ crucifixion. Bryan has been chosen to join in the sufferings of Christ in a unique way and we who journey with him are standing at the foot of the Cross of Jesus and of Bryan.
So, this Sunday, Mother’s Day, all 20 of us are getting up early and making our way to the starting point. We’ll be identified by our bright red Team Bryan t-shirts. We’ll assemble for our official Team Bryan group picture and then we’re off. It’s going to be great!
For Bryan. For all the kids who will benefit from the walk/run. In memory of all the kids who are no longer with us. This race is for you.