If John Belushi and the crazed drummer for The Who, Keith Moon, had a lovechild, it would be my son, Chance.
Chance is the frat brother I never had. While some people (read Amy Cooke) keep trying to get me to own up to my own immaturity, Chance takes no such responsibility for his. His naughtiness screams, “I can do this because I have Down Syndrome and you are powerless to stop me, so just enjoy it.” So, every day is a new adventure in how to party and how to destroy daddy’s personal property with glee.
I woke up the other day to find half my lawn furniture was in his bedroom. This is impressive given that his bedroom is upstairs.
I was a little slower running out of the house when I found my step ladder, a bunch of pizza boxes, and my daughter’s hat stacked neatly on top of my car. Of course, my shoes were under the car.
Why have a shed in the backyard when the contents can be evenly spread across the lawn?
I’m the entourage for a rock star. And, as it turns out, it’s freckin’ awesome. If it weren’t for Children’s Hospital my home would be a whole lot quieter. Chance was born with a hole in his heart. At three weeks old he had his first surgery at Children’s. So far he’s gone through something like 14 procedures. Beyond being my mentor on how to live in the now, he is the example of brave.
As you know I have a love/hate relationship with Children’s Hospital. The amazing people in this building keep Chance healthy. But they couldn’t save his older sister. No one could.
Every night I lay awake thinking of my daughter, Parker. It’s been over 15 years since I’ve seen her. She died just days before her first birthday. An incurable and vicious cancer ate through her little body. The site of the old, dingy, cramped, and uncomfortable Children’s Hospital building is where we got her death sentence.
With perfect clarity I remember asking Parker, as she was strapped down by wires and punctured by tubes, “Why do you have to die?” She looked at me, and, with her tiny hand, tapped her head where a tumor was growing out of control.
I never really understood what being powerless was until then.
I’ve come to see Children’s in a different light over the last decade. Children’s Hospital moved from its torture chamber of a location in the old part of Denver to a bright, cheery, and friendly new home in the Anschutz Medical Center in Aurora. And through my son I have experienced what Children’s has always really been – a child’s greatest hope for a good life.
The courageous people at Children’s couldn’t stop Parker’s suffering. But they cared for her with tenderness, humanity, and dignity. And because of Children’s Hospital her little brother is still alive, saving me from the horror of losing another child.
Children’s Hospital connects the daughter I lost with the son I hope never to lose. I love and hate this place. I need this place.
I’m asking you to invest in this place before someone you love is in the same need.
Folks at Independence, spurred on by our graphic artist Tracy Smith, celebrate Parker’s memory and Chance’s life by raising money in the Courage Classic. Every year at this time “Team Parker” cycles through the Colorado Rockies raising money to give other children the hope for a good life.
Please do it right now. Go to here to give.
Thank you so very much!!