Are you a glass is half empty or glass is half full kind of person? Last week, 30,000 optomists showed up in Central Park even though the forecast was for thundershowers. 30,000 people took a chance. I was one of them. In spite of the weather forecast, the night before my family made a delicous picnic feast. We decided we’d eat it in Central Park or sit on the floor in the living room if the rain prevailed. When I left the house the next morning, all of the sidewalks were drenched and everyone had umbrellas. During the morning it continued to pour. There were a few times during the afternoon that the sun actually burst through the clouds. Then the storm started again. The Great Lawn in Central Park got a great watering! Around five in the afternoon, my son called to strategize. “It’s not raining in midtown,” I said. It’s not raining uptown” he answered. I called my husband whose office is all the way downtown where it was still raining. My son set out into the park, beach chairs in tow. I darted into the subway to head uptown. My husband reluctantly agreed to head uptown, unconvinced that we would in fact enjoy our special night under the stars. I grabbed the food — pasta, salads, cheeses and bread and headed in the park, I broke into an enormous smile. Everywhere I looked there were hundreds of people walking into the park carrying chairs, blankets and lots of food. Everyone looked so happy.
The New York Philharmonic was performing with the Shanghai Symphony. We were all so thrilled that the rain had stopped in just enough time to prevent them from cancelling this week of once a year free concerts in Central Park and all of the boroughs of New York City, one of the nicest rituals of summer. New York is the melting pot of the world and there were so many people from all walks of life, from all cultures coming together in community to enjoy the music and a night under the stars. The heat had been unbearable all week, yet tonight when it got dark outside, a gentle breeze descended onto the giant ellipse in the middle of Central Park. I was great to be one of the 30,000 “glass is half full kind of person” that night.
We would like to nominate our dear friend Louise Hunter as a SoaringHeroine. Louise is our home care and hospice nurse who has cared for our most precious little people and their families during what is undoubtedly the most difficult time of their lives, and the most unimaginable for the rest of us. As pediatric oncology caregivers, we often hear people say “I could never do what you do” or “I don’t know how you can handle it”. Louise is the person who says “I‘ll do whatever you need.” Of course our hope and our goal for every child is a cure for their cancer and a long and happy life and fortunately that is exactly the outcome for many, many children. But for those children who don’t get to go to first grade or their prom or learn to drive or ride a bike or fall in love, Louise is the person who inspires them to dream new dreams, to hold on to their faith and their hope and to believe that tomorrow can be a better day. She is the friend who, on a sunny day, takes a five year old to the park, the friend who whispers in the teenager’s ear that she will continue to keep in touch with a family and make sure they have help when they need it, and the confidante and reliever of fears too dark to share with anyone else, for fear of the pain it may cause other loved ones. “Never giving up” means different things to different people throughout a battle with cancer. Louise is a heroine to us because she teaches people that “letting go” does not mean giving up and often is the most courageous act of all. Louise Hunter is a registered nurse for Sacred Heart Home Care and Hospice in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She is nominated by Karen Agrippine RN, Rose Schenk LSW and Annmarie Steber RN at The Pediatric Specialty Center hematology/oncology department in Bethlehem,PA.
Grandma Faye was my heroine. When I was a little girl, she was my favorite person in the world. “I am so proud of you.” She used to say this all the time. Once I learned how to say it in sign language, I used to say it back to her. I always remember my Grandma Faye’s encouragement and positive attitude. Although she was born deaf she never felt sorry for herself. She led a complete and interesting life, traveled to many countries, volunteered to help others, and loved being with her family. Her hands were her lifelines through sign-language she communicated. She also cooked amazing meals and knitted. She was always knitting. I have so many blankets that she made for me and my brother. Grandma Faye won an award for helping others. I remember going to the awards ceremony where she was given a gold pendant with her name engraved on the back. A few years later, when I went to college in another state she gave me the locket. When I played my guitar she would rest her hand on the base of the guitar in order to feel the vibration. She’d smile and fully enjoy our time together. She’d feel the joy by looking in my eyes. Grandma was grateful for what she had and spent time helping others less fortunate than herself. “I LOVE YOU.” When I was fourteen years old I made Grandma Faye a birthday card with the universal sign for “I LOVE YOU” embossed on the card. People loved this card, it had a place of honor on her refrigerator, of course. Many of her friends asked her where they could buy this card. My parents gave me the $200 needed to print the cards and I started my first business, Lisa Card Creations. I sold these cards to gift shops and museum stores and deaf clubs around the country. I would sit at the kitchen table answering letters from customers and filling orders, this was before computers and the Internet were invented. I would place ten cards into a plastic baggie and tie each bag with a blue wool ribbon. Grandma Faye’s legacy inspires me every day because on some basic level, I believe that Soaringwords is all about telling millions of ill children and their families I LOVE YOU and inspiring them to do something kind to help others. Helen Keller said, “The best and most beautiful things in life cannot be seen or even touched they simply must be felt with the heart.”
Everyone loves a hero or heroine. Someone to look up to and admire. Someone whose leadership, kindness and actions stand above the rest. Soaringwords wants to celebrate resilient and courageous girls and boys and the people who support them. Please nominate yourself or someone you know and love to be a Hero or Heroine. Has there been a heroic person who has made a positive impact on your life or the life of an ill child in your family? We want to know about these heroes who go “above and beyond” to inspire kids to “Never give up.” Please visit Heroes and Heroines webpage and email us your story so that we can share it with kids around the world. Gabby is our Heroine who runs to the cancer clinic in between her treatments to share haikus and superheroes with the other patients and their families. Here’s her video: