About a boy.

August 31st, 2011

This is my son, Jonah.

Here are some things he would like people  to know about his friend, Elijah:

He’s a good friend. I’ve known him since Grade 3.

He’s a really good artist.

He’s really funny. He tells good jokes.

He’s not really physically tough, but he’s mentally tough.

We all usually hang out with our friends Max and Nick and talk. He’s always ready to join another secret society.*

*Your guess is as good as mine.

Here are some things Elijah would like people to know about himself, as represented on his personal “coat of arms” all the fifth graders did at the start of the school year:

He loves the Phillies.

He likes to draw and paint.

He’s part Irish.

And also,

He has Stage IV neuroblastoma, a cancer that attacks infants and children.

Except that it means his friend can’t join him at recess sometimes, cancer was pretty low on the list of words that came to Jonah’s mind when asked to describe Elijah. Elijah’s Mom and I would like to see it disappear from both their minds altogether.

This is Elijah with his mom, Dawn:

This is what Dawn would like people to know about her son:

Elijah is a smart, funny, artistic and articulate 10 year old boy. He loves his friends at school, reading, watching documentaries, sketching, learning about sharks, and listening to the Beatles. He is known in some circles as E.T., Eli, Little E, or E-Man. When he grows up, he wants to be an artist and a marine biologist.

My son has been through so much. Cancer is all he has known for more than half of his life. Throughout everything, he has embraced life with humor and an attitude that never ceases to amaze. He inspires me daily. When I grow up, I want to be as brave and strong as he is.

Dawn is not only a relentless champion for her own child, but she’s a passionate advocate for other people’s children who have, or may get, cancer. On September 21, she will travel to Washington, D.C., as one of 46 Mommas, a name that represents the approximate number of mothers in the United States who will–this day, and every day–learn that cancer has come to their child. This year, Dawn will be one of 46 moms participating in the 46Mommas annual head shaving event, to promote awareness of childhood cancers and raise research funds for their cures.

I told Jonah what Elijah’s mom was planning to do.

“I would cut off my arms and legs for you kids,” I said. “But I wouldn’t shave my head. Just so you know.”

We both agreed this was for the public good, and that Elijah’s mom was pretty rad.

I don’t give my writing space over to many causes, but this one is personal, and entirely selfish. You see, Elijah has to beat cancer because my son loves him. Elijah has to beat cancer, because I need to know that my child could beat it too. Elijah has to beat cancer, because I reject the alternative.

He has to beat it. And you have to help him.


Here’s a few ways how:

Thank you, from Jonah and me.

12 Responses to “About a boy.”

  1. erniebufflo says:

    I’ll be praying for Elijah, and maybe I’ll see ya at the hotdog cart on Thursday.

  2. marilee pittman says:

    my heart is squeezed…

  3. Kelly Foss says:

    I did Shave for the Brave in front of the whole assembly at my children’s school (Topsail Elementary in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland) in 2008. Thankfully my boys are healthy but not every momma is lucky enough to be able to say that. I would shave my head again for them all in an instant if someone else would collect the money for me. 🙂
    Best of luck to Elijah and Dawn. I’ll be thinking about them.

  4. Juliet says:

    You rock. This was such a great post. My brother was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was 4 and I was 6 going on 7. He lost his battle a month after his 12th birthday, but I will always and forever be rooting on every other kid and adult who has to fight the same battle…and hoping for a different outcome. Now that I’m a parent (of an 11 month old smiling, happy baby boy), I can truly empathize with what the parents of these kids must be going through…and it’s heart wrenching. It’s so awesome of you to help bring this to people’s attention and remind us of what some people are dealing with on a daily basis. I’m sure Elijah’s mom Dawn truly appreciates this as well. Mark me down for prayers/positive tweets and the tiniest of donations (since that’s all we can afford right now). And hugs to those boys – good friends who love and accept you no matter what, even at age 10 is a tribute to their parents as well.

  5. Andi Berry says:

    This was an AMAZING post…made my eyes moist! This family is pretty AMAZING too and obviously have some amazing friends!

    would love to contribute to their cause through Arbonne! So, here it is…anything purchased throughout today and the month of Sept on my website (NaturallyFabulous.myarbonne.com) will be donated to their cause!!! Also, any Arbonne SeaSalt Scrub that is purchased I will match that amount (up to $100)…let’s help this sweet family! Come visit me and share the love! ; ) Love you Dawn & Elijah!

  6. Erin Goss says:

    Jonah, we LOVE Elijah and his “momma” too. I was able to visit with your “momma” last night at a book club in Fordyce. She is a really neat lady and I am so glad you guys are supporting Dawn and Elijah…and all the kids who have faced this beast. My daughter, Zoe, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2009 and treated at ACH. We have been most grateful to have Elijah and his family to share the road. They are amazing and I appreciate any support given to the effort of FINDING A CURE for childhood cancer!! Jonah, thank you for being a special friend to Elijah. Its tough sometimes for these kiddos to go without hair and unable to do certain things because of the beast! They are amazing people as are their very special friends. By the way, I am fairly certain your little brother, Carey, was in mothers-day-out at Trinity with my Zoe when they were tiny creatures. Small world, huh?

  7. Karen Corbitt says:

    Dear Jonah and Kyran,
    Thanks you so much for doing this. I have been praying for Elijah for quite a while now. He is on our church’s prayer list, Christ Presbyterian Church in Olive Branch, MS. I am so thankful to get to know him more through this, and am continuing to pray.

  8. Elijah and his family are very dear to our hearts. My daughter Morgan was diagnosed with Acute Lymphablastic Leukemia just a few months before elijah was diagnosed . He won a special place in our hearts and Morgan has always kept up with how he is doing. Morgan completed treatment in 2007 and remains in remission today.We pray daily for a cure for chilhood cancer and that other children like Elijah and all our friends will never have to deal with cancer again. Elijah and his family have always put their faith in God and trust Him completelly with everything that they do for Elijah. And yes Dawn rocks she goes that extra step that we cancer moms do to let everyone know that MORE money needs to Be funded for RESEARCH FOR CHILDHOOD CANCER. I haven’t shaved my head but would if I got the chance!!! Please pray for this family and continue to support the cause of raising awareness for childhood cancer!!

  9. Mary Tamulevich says:

    Thank you so much for sharing and allowing us to share this with others. Childhood Cancer Awareness Month starts today and what a beautiful tribute to start the month. Elijah you will always be in my thoughts and prayers. MJ/Angel_Wings

  10. Kate Schwartz says:

    Elijah is such an inspiration!!! I follow his caring bridge site and his in my nightly prayers. I just recently donated to Cure Search and strongly feel that childhood cancer needs a cure and more funding to research less toxic treatments. You rock Elijah!!!

  11. Learn More says:

    Kicking the ass of 4th stage’s Cancer, is not a one easy thing to even think of. But this kid showed us, he is special.

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