Life can sometimes kick us so hard we lose our ability to rationally analyze a situation. Our mind becomes clouded and our perspective wavers. Hope, with its optimism, expectation and anticipation vanishes, and we know our lives have forever changed.
I recently heard the story of how hope changed loss into opportunity and a celebration of life. Twin brothers Erik and Aaron enjoyed a close relationship. At the age of 10, Erik’s parents became aware of him falling, sometimes downstairs, for no apparent reason. At first, they concluded he was going through an awkward stage, but he continued to fall with more frequency. They decided to seek medical help. A tumour on his brain was discovered and required immediate surgery. The procedure was successful and the tumour benign.
The family was understandably relieved by the outcome, but it wasn’t long before the falling resumed. Another brain tumour was discovered, but this time it was malignant. Erik underwent surgery and cancer therapy, but passed away.
Aaron was lost without his constant companion. His brother's death led to deep grief, and he didn't want to go on without Erik.
His parents became desperate and sought help from a pediatrician. The doctor asked him some questions like, “What is it that you like to do?” He replied, “I like to cook.” The doctor reached into her pocket and pulled out $20, which she gave to Aaron. She told him to go home, make some cookies and start a business. In a month, she wanted to see a budget. Antidepressants were not prescribed.
His mother said Aaron’s smile returned on the way home from the doctor’s office. A month later, Aaron was back for a follow up appointment with the pediatrician. He had prepared a budget, brought cookies for the doctor and returned the $20 she had given him.
He told her he had produced a number of batches of cookies and had sold them to family, friends, and strangers. Some of the proceeds from the sale of his cookies went to the charity that supported his brother, Erik, as he had gone through cancer therapy.
Aaron was invited to share his story on *The Oprah Winfrey Show* and his favourite cook, Paula Dean, surprised him with a guest appearance.
This little boy found a passion for life, business, and philanthropy and continues to be deeply motivated by the memory of his twin brother. The doctor, who listened to his heart, was able to give Aaron hope and allow him to move forward.
“If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.” –Martin Luther King, JR.
MARCH 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER AND LOWER MAINLAND
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