I'll admit it. I have a soft spot in my heart for sick children. When I see a child with crutches or in a wheelchair in my audience, I almost always try to include them as a volunteer in my show. I donate my time, talent and money to causes like Make A Wish, Children's Respite Care Center and CureSearch, to name a few.
So this past summer, I notice that I only had three shows scheduled on a date when I was in North Dakota ("only three"). So, instead of taking a few hours of down time, I decided to use my free time in a more productive way. I went to visit the Sanford Medical Center Pediatrics Department. When I got there, I found that they had alerted the media and there were two television crews there to film and interview me.
Being able to share some happiness and wonder with children like this is one of the many blessings I have in my life. In the video, I mention a young man who meant a lot to me, but there's more to the story than the brief quote you'll hear. Here's the rest of the story.
About three or four years ago, I learned of a young man in Wahoo who was fighting non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. His family was under some financial strain, so I offered to put on a fundraiser magic show. Alex was a young magician, so this seemed like the perfect fit. The day of the show, we didn't know what to expect. His grandmother thought that 30...maybe 40 people would show up. It was closer to 500. The donation bucket overflowed with 10, 20 and 50-dollar bills. It was amazing!
The generosity of strangers allowed Alex's mother to take time off work to stay with him day and night at the hospital while he underwent treatment. Alex went into remission. He began gaining weight, his hair grew back and he joined our magic club. Alex was bright, funny, intelligent and a GOOD magician.
Then came the word that nobody wanted to hear.
Alex went back into the hospital and stayed there for almost 6 months. I visited him several times and we'd talk about magic and assorted other topics. He remained funny, intelligent and bright, but his hair went away and he lost weight again. A last ditch effort at a Stem Cell transplant was too little, too late.
My friend passed away at the end of June, 2014 at the age of 11.
I was honored to be selected as a pallbearer and performed the "Broken Wand" ceremony at his visitation.
So, now whenever I volunteer to perform at a children's hospital or Make-a-Wish event or something of the same ilk, I see Alex in the faces of the children. They're all fighting their own personal battles and many of them are literally life and death. I know that some children will make it and others won't. My job is to bring a little wonder; a little happiness; a little Magic into their lives. Even if it's only for 30 minutes, it's worth it.
I apolotize in advance for the poor quality of this video. I wasn't able to download it from the t.v. station website, so this is recorded off of a t.v. on my phone. Sometimes you need to make the best use of what you have.