Friday, April 30, 2010

coming this weekend to a marathon course near you...

This Sunday I am running the second leg of the marathon relay, with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training.

I am going to (briefly) emerge from (relative) anonymity to let you all know about this, and to encourage you to donate to my cause, if you feel so led.

My Team in Training Page

I will bet every single one of us knows someone affected by blood cancer of some sort. It may be a friend of a friend, or a coworker with whom you are not especially close. My friend H is running for her father, and for her young cousin. It might be a young nephew or niece, or an aunt, or a mother. In my case, it is the former principal of my boys' school, a man I met maybe a total of half a dozen times.

We applied for kindergarten for Primo in the spring of 2006. We interviewed with principals and toured facilities and sat in on classes. H came home from an initial tour and meeting at our school, absolutely bowled over by the spirit and dedication evident in every child, every class, every teacher, every project he saw there. This remarkable environment was headed up by Mr. O'Keefe, a smart and compassionate educator who made everything with which he was involved better. He helped make the school into "the crown jewel of the...public school system," and he was tireless in his efforts to make the educational experience for his children more engaging and more challenging. He clearly loved those children, and they clearly knew it, and they loved him right back.

He met my son twice, and each time I was blown away with his level of engagement with Primo. He remembered every detail about Primo, and he really cared what my son needed, and, equally impressively, was interested also in what he had to offer. Do you know what an expectation like that can mean to a child?

Mr O'Keefe passed away last spring, and my son requested that I take him to the funeral service. I did, and I can tell you that while everyone was sad, even in his passing Mr O'Keefe touched each of us, brightening our lives and strengthening our love for our school and its community.

As I churn out my 4.5 miles Sunday morning, I will think of Mr O'Keefe. He may not have been my best friend, or a friendly neighbor, but he was someone incredibly special who was taken from us much, much too soon, by a disease which one day, I hope, will be curable.

8 comments:

MsCellania said...

I will gladly donate for such a man.

Cat said...

Oh dear, that made me cry! Why is it the good ones -- especially an advocate for education --- get taken away like that?

My father has acute leukemia. They have said it is dormant and will not rear it's ugly head any time soon. I can only pray that's true.

G'luck on the run!

Elizabeth said...

Nice to see you (but now I will forget that I ever saw you, right?)
Hope you did well on the run.

My word verification is RESTID, which I'm sure you did after!

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