I took my brother to tackling camp the other morning and the coach started by yelling, “You are tough. Everyone is tough. Repeat after me.” All the players shouted, “I am tough!” So I thought I would write this today because I want all of you to say it, too. Everyone keeps saying that I’m so strong and amazing. I hear that I inspire people all the time, but the reason I am this way is because I am inspired by others. I am also strong and have an amazing attitude because of how I react to most things and a lot of my choices come from what I see in other people that reminds me and brings out the best of what I already am. Everyone has all the same things on the inside but sometimes you don’t know it.
It has been almost one year since my last radiation treatment, and I have a lot of trouble remembering stuff now but I never forget how I feel. I never forget how it feels to be happy or how to love life or how good it feels to smile and hug and be nice. But it isn’t easy to be me and maybe I’m tough because I choose to have faith every day no matter what. I just accept who I am and know I’m sick even though I look fine. I know how hard it on my family and that everyone wants to help and that is why I am writing this. I want to help you, too. I want you to know that you are tough. You can do anything. You have all the same stuff in you that I have in me and we bring it out in each other. I am lucky, too, because there are a lot of really hard times when I’m not with people, and everyone doesn’t see, but I stay tough because my faith in Hashem (G-d) so I’m not alone and am reminded to relax and get calm and can pray. But after a totally different year than most 10 and 11-year-old girls have, I want to share some examples of how you make me tough and supported me through this year. I don’t think most of you even know it and that’s what’s so cool.
I want to point out a family who drops off 3 or 4 bags of recycling every weekend. The mom always comes to our house and leaves the bags. One time she even went to Subway and had lunch with us. Her family totally changed their lifestyle to help us and it’s not about fundraising anymore. Now it’s just a special friendship with a family who keeps fighting with me every week. And then at dinner the other night when we were talking about me making it through this year, my brother asked if we were ever going to see a friend of my Mom’s who was lots of fun. I started thinking about how he always told jokes and didn’t make a big deal out of anything. He is like a big kid, but you know how we helped make each other tough? He took me on a 6 mile bike ride the same day I had radiation. I was supposed to rest. He didn’t want to and mom thought I would fall. Guess what? I did fall! But he helped me up and I kept going. He even had to push me sometimes, and we had fun. He did so much with me that week but the most important thing is that he stopped being a kid and took care of me, the real kid, and we were both happy. There are lots of neat moments and special people, but I want to share a last story about how good it makes me feel when I see people wearing my bracelet. This summer a baseball coach in Moorpark put on my bracelet and gave me a big hug and said I would see it in all the game pictures. He also said he loved me. My mom is friends with lots of people, and we know his family from baseball but our families don’t hang out. We don’t know them really except at baseball but when he said he loved me, I believed him. He has kids and I probably remind him what is important in life. He is a great coach and loves to help kids and probably likes my attitude so I think he probably loves that I get out there and keep playing my “waiting game” and have fun. Sometimes it’s awesome and sometimes I cry but I don’t stop because of who I am and because of people like the coach who love me and people who wear my bracelet when I don’t even know it, people who give up their time to take care of me, people who still recycle and people who help other people be tough.
You are tough. I want you see how tough you are and learn something about what you have inside of you. Try to see the good stuff and think about the people who help you be tough and remember you are not really ever alone. Have faith, help each other and feel more love. When you are older, love is not always good and gets messed up with lots of things so just think of me. Remember how you helped me, recycled, wore your bracelet and be tough with brAvery.
-Love, The Miracle Kid