Thursday, August 28, 2014

Little Man and the pursuit of happiness

Ethan was 10 when he was diagnosed with Anaplastic Astrocytoma grade III, brain cancer. Doctors could extend his life with treatment, but they didn't have a cure. 

I met him less than a month after he turned 11. He had posters of strong Marine Corps men up in his room and slept with a teddy bear at night.  

He wished that everyone with cancer would just keep fighting because that's what he was doing. 

He imagined himself as a superhero. Just like them, his body was full of radiation. 

He prayed every night because he believed that God was who gave him the disease and who would also take it away. 

Even after doctors said there was nothing they could do, Ethan continued to live. 

With the help of his mom Maria, he got to do so much. 

He was just getting to some of the things he wanted to do. 

It all went so fast after Christmas, about two years after diagnosis. 

Maria and Ethan were dealing with the departure of one of them. 

It was the beautiful things that made me feel the most. Like when Ethan was too weak to play video games, but he'd still muster the energy to wrap his arm around someone for a hug.  

His mom would do anything she could. But nothing could be done. 

In July of this year the hurting took over. 

Cancer stole the rest of his life. 

In Jessica Lipcomb's 's story, there's a quote from Maria that I think about. "Mourn the loss of your child; don't mourn the loss of your child's life." 

Life is valuable. There is so much beauty to be found. But it is a precious and fleeting gift. 

I hope that one day soon we can prevent cancer, or at least cure people of it. Until then we can do a better job at directing funds to pediatric patients and we can give more to the organizations that help pay household bills for parents of kids with cancer. 

*If anyone is interested in the full story, you can find part one, two and three HERE

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Demolition Derby

Sonny Hogle, 9. At the demolition derby in Naples.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Our World

Sharing an Our World I wrote and photographed for our paper. I like these features so much....

Bar Mama

Outside, it’s hot and muggy. The summer heat cooks cars zooming along the road at 92 degrees fahrenheit. At a nearby beach, people are applying sunscreen.

Inside The Miscue Bar, a shaft of light floods into the dark and smoky room as someone walks in and takes a seat at the bar. Almost every spot is occupied by working men looking for a drink.

At the end of the bar, a gray-haired woman prepares food in a kitchen the size of a treehouse. She wears a striped shirt with two gold giraffes printed on the front. Her ears are adorned with traditional Irish Claddagh dangles and a gold cross hangs around her neck.

Everyone calls her Mama Carol, but her real name is Carol Martin. Fifty years ago she and her husband started it all.

At first they struggled to get a loan, but eventually they gathered enough and built the bar with their own hands. Carol worked alongside her husband, Bob. She was mostly in the kitchen. Bob, worked as the manager.

A lot can happen in 50 years. Customers made the bar a staple. Some raced turtles along pool tables in the back. They held weddings. They had funerals. Comedians performed on a stage in the corner. Rock bands debuted their tunes. Carol had three kids. She lost her husband. She lost her oldest son.

Mama Carol is 80. She says she will never leave this place. For her, working here feels like a night out.

She puts the final touches on a roast beef sandwich and sets it in front of a customer seated at the bar.

“Thank you mom,” he says while diving into his first bite.

Those seated around him sip on bottles of beer. They are proud to be regulars at Miscue. It’s a landmark, they say, the oldest bar in Fort Myers.

                                                                          *here's what it looked like in print

Friday, August 1, 2014

A kiss before I go

After a little hiatus, I got back into daily stuff today. Every year a group of fire folks set off on bikes and call it the Brotherhood Ride. They make their way around Florida. It's a fundraiser for the fallen Florida law enforcement officers. Below, Jerry, of a nearby fire station gave his daughter Miah a goodbye kiss before taking off.