Cancer Changes our Perspective

For the next few weeks, I’m going to be sharing many stories about my young friend, Nick Rychcik who is battling a rare and aggressive form of cancer. He is the warrior for this year’s Nick’s Run to be Healed 5K on Sunday, September 28. Though he may not know it, Nick is an inspiration to many.

Jason Maguire who was a friend of my Nick and is heading back to SUNY Plattsburgh for his sophomore year wanted to get more involved with the foundation. Since he loves baseball and Nick Rychcik loves baseball, I asked Jason to go shopping. He did a great job with the baseball theme and also gave Nick his baseball bat from a previous tournament. Nick, an avid Yankees fan will have to ignore the Boston Red Sox in this photo!

Jason Maguire holding the bat he gave to Nick.

My plan was to get these items and some balloons to Nick before he came home tonight after being at Sloan Kettering for a trial treatment that will hopefully beat this monster called cancer.

I stopped at the store to get some fun gifts for his four siblings.  At the checkout line I had a couple movies, a nail design set, nail polish, a board game, Lego set and a princess journal; something for everyone. A woman behind me casually said, “Someone is getting spoiled today.”

I paused and thought of the irony of this situation. I wanted to tell her that the children receiving these gifts were dealing with the constant threat of losing their sibling, but I didn’t want to sound sanctimonious. However, it made me think of people’s perceptions about what they see around them. She may have been thinking that I’m spoiling my children and they’ll grow up to be brats, while I’m thinking that these poor children have been separated from both their parents for over a week as they care for their son who had surgery. Even though their aunts, grandmother, friends and relatives have tried to fill that void, nothing can replace having your parents there when you are scared or lonely.

I thought about Nick’s parents, who worry about whether or not this treatment will work, and also fret about not being home to help their oldest daughter get back to college or school shop for their other children.

I overheard another woman in the library say how she couldn’t wait for her children to get back to school so she would have her routine back. Every parent whose child suffers with cancer wishes to have their routine back. They wish they had the chaos of not getting their house cleaned because the kids are running around making a mess.

A cancer diagnosis changes our perspective. Hopefully as people become more aware of what a family goes through their perspective will change, too. Yes, we brought some fun gifts to a family who is missing their brother, nephew, and grandchild, but they cannot be spoiled, because the fear of losing that person overshadows a lot of the joy of receiving gifts. It’s a distraction that hopefully relieves some stress.

Thank you to Jason for reaching out and helping a young boy find some joy during this tough and long journey. I hope the women who made these comments, which weren’t mean or misdirected, have a change in perspective if they ever read this blog.

Life isn’t always what we perceive and I’m thankful to be reminded of that today.

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