The Gift of Giving Can Be Given In Many Ways

The Gift of Giving can be given in many ways.  We all have stories that show giving in small ways, like a smile or kind word, to giving in big ways, like a doctor who spends all their time helping cancer patients.  I am sure we all have stories…this one is mine.

My youngest brother was always the calm, fairly quiet, sweet brother of the family.  Not that all my brother’s are not sweet, but Kevin’s demeanor and affectuous smile completed his kindness.  He was a teacher and a coach, both giving professions as well as the type of guy who always stopped to make sure you were OK, even if he was not feeling well or busy.

After playing hockey at Holy Cross College in MA, Kevin spent some time in Colorado and ended up in Lake Placid, NY.  Our oldest brother Tom was a prep school teacher at Northwood and Kevin got a teaching job at National Sports Academy.  He was also the assistant Hockey Coach.  When you play sports your whole life there is always a chance for injury so Kevin’s injury, a torn labrum, was not that out of the ordinary.  After surgery, ordinary went out the window and Kevin was faced with the greatest opponent of his life, Ewing’s Sarcoma.

Ewing’s Sarcoma is a rare children’s cancer. It is a disease primarily of childhood and young adults; ages 6 to 20. Occurrence in older adults is extremely rare.  For those of us who know cancer personally you know about that day, the day you or your loved one is faced with the doctor saying…you have cancer. Kevin was 32 and called me, then I and my husband were on a plane and for the next two months Kevin and I went on a journey that was surreal, to say the least.  For the next four years our family lived in the wild world of cancer, where The Gift of Giving is an everyday occurrence under the worst circumstances.

Kevin was treated in the pediatrics department at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York City.  Everyday those amazing doctors, nurses, social workers, support staff, volunteers, even the amazing people that clean the rooms all give in ways some of us can only imagine.  Yes, they are doing their job, but they are still giving.  Doing your job happily and with joy, is giving. You may have heard about that verse in the bible, A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; Proverbs 15:30 NLV. Everyone there, even thru such sorrow, would smile and Kevin was no different.

I can say I saw The Gift of Giving happen all day and everyday at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.  There were gifts as simple as a cheerful look and as great as giving one’s bone marrow for someone else to survive. As we come upon this season of Giving, let’s relish in Giving. It is such an easy thing to do.  I constantly remind myself of that time with Kevin. He gave so much of himself, by speaking to younger patients and their families, by taking on a clinical trial not because he would survive but because the doctors would get more information for others and by loving us all thru his last days, comforting us when he was leaving.  I hold that time close so I remember that I have the ability to be the best Santa this Christmas and everyday by giving something as simple as a cheerful look. I may not prevail all the time as I am human, but every day is a new beginning, every day is a Santa Club Day.  May your day be a great Santa Club Day.  (CHEERFUL LOOK)


For more information about Ewing’s Sarcoma and Memorial Sloan-Kettering;

One Response to “The Gift of Giving Can Be Given In Many Ways”

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