most elementary schools, it was typical to have a parade of students in and out
of the health clinic throughout the day. We dispensed ice for bumps and bruises,
Band-Aids for cuts, and liberal doses
of sympathy and hugs. As principal,
my office was right next door to the clinic, so I often dropped in to lend a
hand and help out with the hugs. I knew that for some kids, mine might be
the only one they got all day.
morning I was putting a Band-Aid on a little girl's scraped knee.
Her blonde hair was matted, and I noticed that she was shivering in her
thin little sleeveless blouse. I
found her a warm sweatshirt and helped her pull it on.
"Thanks for taking care of me," she whispered as she climbed
into my lap and snuggled up against me.
wasn't long after that when I ran across an unfamiliar lump under my arm.
Cancer, an aggressively spreading kind, had already invaded thirteen of
my lymph nodes. I pondered whether or not to tell the students about my
word breast seemed so hard to say out loud to them, and the word cancer seemed
so frightening. When it became evident that the children were going to
find out one way or another, either the straight scoop from me or possibly a
garbled version from someone else, I decided to tell them myself. It
wasn't easy to get the words out, but the empathy and concern I saw in their
faces as I explained it to them told me I had made the right decision.
When I gave them a chance to ask questions, they mostly wanted to know how they
could help. I told them that what I would like best would be their
letters, pictures and prayers. I stood by the gym door as the children
solemnly filed out. My little blonde friend darted out of line and threw
herself into my arms. Then she stepped back to look up into my face.
"Don't be afraid, Dr. Perry," she said earnestly, "I know you'll
be back because now it's our turn to take care of you."
one could have ever done a better job. The kids sent me off to my first
chemotherapy session with a hilarious book of nausea remedies that they had
written. A video of every class in the school singing get-well songs
accompanied me to the next chemotherapy appointment. By the third visit,
the nurses were waiting at the door to find out what I would bring next.
was a delicate music box that played "I Will Always Love You." Even
the kids traced their hands onto colored paper, cut them out and glued them
together to make a freestanding rainbow of helping hands. "I feel
like I've stepped into Disneyland every time I walk into this room," my
doctor laughed. That was even before the six-foot apple blossom tree
arrived adorned with messages written on paper apples from the students and
teachers. What healing comfort I found in being surrounded by these tokens
of their caring.
long last I was well enough to return to work. As I headed up the
if . . . I caught sight of the school marquee as I rounded the bend.
"Welcome Back, Dr. Perry," it read. As I drew closer, everywhere
blonde buddy was first in line to greet me. "You're back, Dr. Perry,
you're back!" she called. "See, I told you we'd take care of
you!" As I hugged her tight, in the back of my mind I faintly heard
my music box playing... "I will always love you."
As you may be aware, the US Postal Service has a "Fund the Cure" stamp to help fund breast cancer research. The stamp was designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland. It is important that we take a stand against this disease that affects so many of our Mothers, Sisters and Friends.
pass this page on to your friends. The notion that we could raise
$35 million by buying a book of stamps is powerful!
Instead of the normal 37 cents for a stamp, this one costs 45 cents. The additional money will go to breast cancer research. A "normal" book costs $7.40. This one is only $9.00. It takes a few minutes in line at the Post Office and means so much. Or go online.
more of these stamps that are sold the more money for this vital
research. Just as important as the money is our support.
What a statement it would make if the stamp out sold the lottery this
week. What a statement it would make that we care.
urge you to do two things TODAY:
out and purchase a book of these stamps.
the link for this page onto your friends to do the same.
Many of us know women and their families whose lives are turned upside-down by breast cancer. It takes so little to do so much in this drive. We can all afford the extra $1.60. Please help and pass it on. Have a wonderful day!
This organization gives free
mammograms to those who need our help!
Use this link to email this page to your friends.
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