Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Very Sepcial Day For Me - Helping Children

For over a decade I have remained active with a handful of hospitals that are dedicated to helping children fighting cancer or any other serious illness. 

As a cancer conqueror myself, as a professional with a history of investing in cancer research, and as a person who embraces my social responsibility, I have done what I can to financially support several hospitals, including the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and an assortment of Children's Hospitals.

I know first-hand that fighting cancer is not easy.  I also know that my life changed for the better in many ways when I had to fight the dragon because life and its beauty came to me in ways I had never previously experienced.  In seeing the magic, in my own way, I found my inner 'PAN'. 

I also know that the dragon is very powerful, and has the ability of taking life here on earth.  But in having my PAN fight the dragon, I also came to deeply understand that God does exist, and so too does Heaven.

I have come to understand that each of us can be 'PAN', and that no matter what, we can see magic ... and there is another place we all will go to.  A very magical place.

Each year I literally save my pennies, nickles, dimes, quarters, ones, fives, tens, twenties .... whatever I can and put these monies in a 'Neverland' box.  The box is rather big.  Sometimes, during the year I empty the coins in the box and exchange them for bills.  I did that a few times this year.   And I am very blessed that I have a wonderful partner who is willing to give up a few niceties like a vacation or a fancy dinner or a new pair of shoes and toss the money saved into the 'Neverland' box.  Our efforts add up.

Then once a year -like today -  I take the money I saved - and I go and purchase Nintendo DS's or Sony PS's along with a video game or two that I give to the children being treated at the cancer ward of a few of the hospitals. Of course, I am mindful that some of the children may not be able to play the video games: some simply can't while others are to young and would prefer something else.  So I always have on hand a bunch of fashionable princesses and Lego, and coloring books - but most of all what I bring is the spirit of Peter Pan.

You see, if the medical doctors initial diagnosis of my cancer fight was correct, I would have been dead a long time ago.  It was nearly 15 years ago that I was first diagnosed with a brain tumor, followed by being diagnosed with neurofibromatosis II - which were both death sentences.

But I found my shadow.  And though you might think it odd, finding my PAN saved my life.

So you see, at 6 foot tall, and even at 47 year old, my body is very strong, those children that I visit in their Neverland, they don't see some old guy bringing toys . . . instead, they see Peter Pan - fighter and conqueror of the dragon.  And when I sit with them, and I tell them the stories of Pan fighting the dragon, of one Mr. James C. Hook, they always lean in . . . they understand.  And I know they find their PAN . . . even if for a short time because God has other plans for them. 

But you see . . . life is filled with magic.  And it becomes magical when you believe.  And God knows I believe.

I really believe.

And so in a few minutes I will be off to shop for these children, knowing that it is not the material gift that matters the most (though at times it helps, particularly when some of these children have no parents there with them [it is true] since they are wards of the state at the ages of 3, and 4, and 5).

And then over the next two weeks I will begin making my rounds to the hospitals, and hopefully teaching as many children as possible how to catch their shadow . . . and how to see the magic because it is right before their eyes - all they have to do is believe.

So today is a very important day for me.  It seems as if so much of my life evolves around keeping several promises I made.  One, when I was fighting the brain tumor that nearly took my life, was that I would do what I could to help others fighting the dragon should I live.  Thus, my ongoing support of research and other outreach at a handful of hospitals.  And of course, several times a year, with Christmas being the biggest time, I get to share the PAN that lives within me with others.  And so if you are wondering why I am willing to fight for children - this is part of the reason.

Fighting cancer should never be taken lightly.  But when trying to overcome any illness, we must learn to use all the tools . . . all the magic that is around us.  This includes the aid of modern medicine, homeopathic treatment, lots and lots of pray, and of course - finding the magic and embracing it.

Life is short. Eventually our spirits move to the next Adventure.

This past Thursday morning, my dear friend Robert Medori passed away while fighting the dragon.  Bobby is one of the nicest persons I have ever known.  He was a good, caring, and loving man, and though he will be missed here on earth, he will always be with me. 

And so today, Bobby will surely be joining me as we shop for the children.

Love Life.  Embrace Life's Magic.

Find your  . . . PAN

- Peter -