WARRIOR: n. a person who has shown great vigor, or courage
This really is the word that describes the attendees at the “Heroes of Hope” 5k/10k Race for Research. With all of the proceeds going back to UCLA, Cedars-Sinai, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles brain tumor research departments for cancer termination, this event was full of Warriors today. This was a day filled with plenty of emotions, joys, and remembrance. When you’ve seen people who are survivors of brain cancer, surgeons who had operated on these survivors, friends of these survivors, and families of these survivors, it hits you, hard. It happened to me. I’ve been associated with this organization, The Brad Kaminsky Foundation; and every year that this event comes upon us, (usually around Veterans Day), I thank God for being here today. This event is full of Warriors. From the survivors, to the teams who are supporting a person who is fighting a brain tumor, to those who are commemorating someone who courageously fought this tragic brain tumor with so much vigor, it reminds you of the effort that we all have put our passion into; to help these three institutions to elevate their efforts for brain cancer.
When I see someone, especially women, and I see a beautiful scarf around their beautiful bald head, I ALWAYS approach them, and ask them if they would like to tell their story, because there is one. I’ve had people do that to me, when they see my wonderful scar on my head, and we have a great conversation. The point is: I’m so glad when I get asked, because I know that I’m not the only one. That’s why I’ll approach someone, with a smile for them, and ask if they would like to talk. Very simple. It’s so pleasing to them, and me, because we all know that there are a lot of us out there in our world, and we sure do love the hope that another person gives us.
At our event today, there is a teenager named Joey. Joey told me today that he is 13 years old. Two years ago at age 11, Joey had a bald head, going through chemotherapy, and last year, he had a full head of hair. Today he looked a little tired, and I found out that he is going through cycles of chemo again, week by week for the next year. I had to hold my emotions in, such a great family supporting him, and Joey had so much vigor! Such a great attitude, like he’s telling all of us to fight, and I mean fight! We are all one, and we all fight together! I saw Veronica this year, and she was in a wheelchair, last year she didn’t need to have that wheelchair, but she had that same attitude; fight, fight, fight!!! Although she was in her chair, we did pictures at the end of the two racing events, (5k/10k), so her parents brought her over to the stage where we all stood on top of the stage, which was about one foot above the ground. She wanted to come up, and she did! She did it, with a little help from other people, but she did it; she just had that look, “I’m going up there!”, and she did. Again, I choked up. Most of you know my story, but when I see those warriors out there, who are dealing with situations more demanding than mine, I applaud them, I hug them, I love them. We ARE all together, and we support each other, and we appreciate every effort for any and all of those that donate to our cause, run for our cause, walk for our cause, and give hugs for our cause. It’s a cause that I’m in, for the rest of my life, and I’m pretty sure that I can speak for the other warriors out there, they think the same way of appreciating all of the efforts to help our cause.
Lisa Kaminsky Millar started this organization, a 501(c)3, and gives everything that she has committing to this one event, all year long. She started this foundation, after her brother, Brad, fought courageously throughout his tumor on his brain. I believe he looks upon what we are doing, in his cause, because Lisa has carried on this event for 12 years, including today, and another for next year, to help others so that they have a warrior at their side to help them fight, and also win the fight with brain cancer! It was also announced today, that for the end of this years time frame, donations will still be accepted for this organization: www.wizathon.com/heoresofhoperace.
I think that we all have a story, many being different from brain tumors, but the actions, and attitude remain the same. Hug someone, converse with whoever needs that conversation, try not to judge someone, maybe just try to look from their eyes for about 10 seconds, and give them a smile. It will mean SO much to them. When I was in the hospital recently, with my hip replacement, and as some of you know, I volunteer at UCLA by speaking to other neurological trauma patients; so a friend that I work for at UCLA, comes into my room, to my surprise, spends literally about one minute coming to my room to visit, and had to leave because of his schedule, but that one minute meant the world to me. The attentiveness that was given to me, very unexpectedly, was all that I needed at that moment. That’s all you need, to become a warrior. You don’t have to have an event to work at, or a long day to comfort someone, (although if you can, do it!), but just a kind word, a hug, a smile, can mean you really ARE a warrior! There’s a scripture that I’d like to mention:
“So not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13: 2
So go ahead, be that warrior, and you will definitely be an angel to someone when they need it.