Monday, February 07, 2011

Reuven and the Super Bowl

It’s been a while since I posted about my grandson Reuven Ben Tova Chaya. He is now almost 8 years old (His birthday is February 10th). Just to remind people of his situation - he has a rare form of bone cancer known as Ewing’s Sarcoma.

He is still battling for his life and undergoing one of the most difficult periods of treatment since his cancer was discovered. After moving to Chicago, there was a tumor found on his skull, fortunately it had not penetrated to his brain. He had surgery to remove it and all went well.

Shortly after that a tumor was found on the bone of one of his legs (the femur). A cast could not fix the problem and it will require surgery. Doctors require that he not use that leg at all until after surgery and rehab. So he either has to be in a wheelchair or carried. That has made life pretty difficult for him. He needs people around him constantly to help him get from one place to another. That has not however stopped him from attending school. He has a shadow - someone who stays in the classroom with him just in case he needs to leave.

But that isn’t the only hard part. Doctors are being very aggressive in treating his cancer. He is getting yet another round of chemotherapy. Additionally - for the last several weeks he had been getting radiation on that tumor in his leg to try and kill the growth and reduce it. That is now completed and he is ready for surgery.

The radiation really had an adverse effect on him physically. Without getting into details – it was not a pleasant experience for him or his family. But one would never know it from his disposition or that of his parents or brothers. He is very calm and accepting of it most of the time despite his pain and the unusual life circumstance of not being able to run or walk like ordinary children. He is polite to everyone and mostly smiles when you talk to him.

One can only imagine what his parents have had to deal with during this difficult treatment period. Just going to a hospital everyday for radiation treatment became a monumental task for his mother. She had to pick him up from school which is about a 15 minute drive in the opposite direction of the hospital and carry him everywhere he had to go. I don’t know how she did it. I don’t know how the family is able to maintain any kind of normalcy. But they do. If one didn’t know that Reuven had cancer, one would never detect there was anything wrong in the family by encountering either of his parents or brothers.

Reuven’s life is indeed a very difficult one. But not yesterday. It was a very unusual day for Reuven thanks to Chai Lifeline. For one beautiful shining moment in his very difficult life he had a real treat. Chai Lifeline provided Reuven and one of their trained volunteers with 2 tickets to the Super Bowl (2nd row - 20 yard line). It included airfare to Dallas, ground transportation (via a limo) and hotel accommodations.

He was there for the entire game and even had an opportunity to get autographs from some of the players before the game. He is loving every moment of it. I doubt that there is a happier child than Reuven at this moment. And I am so happy for him.

My hat is off to Chai Lifeline. Thank you for being there and doing what you do for the sick children among our people.