It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving. ~Mother Teresa
This post is dedicated to my cousin Chad Scanlon. In loving memory of Chad, September 4, 1994 – May 25, 2007.
This is a follow up to the Life’s Not Fair blog post. After I wrote it, a certain someone came to mind, my cousin Chad. He passed away on Memorial Day from a brain tumor, on May 25, 2007. He was just 12 years old, about Kyle’s age.
Is that fair he didn’t have a chance to live his life? Is it fair the family had to accept such an ordeal with the fight of cancer or worse, to loose a child? Nope, but again it’s part of God’s ultimate plan I guess, even if we don’t understand it or really accept it. So I guess life isn’t so bad when you spill your coffee or hit every red-light.
In all sincerity, I believe Chad lived a full life while he was with us. How can you not growing up on the ridge? The Scanlon family is a living testament to the type of person Chad would have turned out to be. Jimmy, Marie-Paule and Sasha, Chad’s dad, mom and sister respectively, are all down to earth, good hearted folk.
The Scanlon’s and the Delier’s have always held their head high and never pitied themselves, nor did they expect that from anyone. Nope! They played the hand that was dealt to them and tried to handle it as best they could, even when Chad was fighting for his life and when he passed on. Do they miss Chad? Sure, everyday! Everyday Chad is thought about, everyday they feel the grief. Just like anyone who has lost a loved one, especially so young. But they took this as an opportunity to help others while working through their pain. They are the strongest of people, those that can move forward, face their grief and use it to help others, to reach out to those who need strength and support.
As a lasting tribute to Chad, they established the Chad Delier Scanlon Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County. Every year the Scanlon family, and I mean the entire family, organizes the Chad Delier Scanlon Golf Outing at the Glengarry Golf Course in Latrobe, Pa.
Besides helping the healing process, which I can totally understand and relate to (ie the Aunt Heather blog), they support many of Chad’s activities. Can you believe Chad was fluent in French, ever since he was able to talk? Yes! His mother, Marie-Paule is bilingual, being born and raised in Belgium. I always thought that was so cool! Maybe because je parle un peu de Francais.
Chad went to the Holy Trinity Catholic School and he was a member of the church. He enjoyed hunting and fishing. What can I say? All kids born into our family come pre-programmed for the outdoors. Of course, I couldn’t speak of Chad without mentioning his love of jump rope. Yes! He was a member of the High Flyers Jump Rope Team. In fact, while Chad was going through rehabilitation, he would work some jump rope into his activity. Can I also mention he had a great attitude and never complained? Never heard ‘It’s not fair.’
In addition to Chad’s activities, the Scanlon’s, raise money to help families whose own children are undergoing medical crises. When I say the Scanlon’s, I’m referring to the immediate family and the rest of the family clan along with friends and neighbors. Like I said, the Scanlon’s are genuinely good caring people.
It’s no secret, there are many more stories like Chad’s, but I’ve never heard anyone say ‘It’s not fair’.
Instead of saying ‘It’s not fair’, do what you can to help. Years ago, when I read The Book of Chad, I was pleasantly surprised to find out what the local friends and family did to help Chad and his family during Chad’s struggle. This is amazing to me! Family and friends got together to finish building Jimmy’s garage. Yes, while the family was dealing with Chad’s sickness, friend and family finished building a complete structure! The Scanlon’s came home to find a finished garage at the end of the driveway. I bet that was an awesome sight! Maybe it helped to shift their focus, even if it was for just a moment. I’m sure it made Santa’s little helpers feel good to just pitch-in and do something, and I know Jimmy and Marie-Paule appreciated it beyond words. Sometimes giving is completely unrelated, yet it means the world to both parties.
It’s easier said than done, and not everyone thinks that way or has the drive, motivation, resources or ideas to tackle their tragedy in the same manner, but there is much more to bringing comfort to others. Instead of saying, ‘It’s not fair’ we should be saying ‘What can I do to help my fellow brother or sister?’
A few years after Ryan passed away, dad was back in the hospital. Something about his oxygen in his blood being low, or something along those lines. Naturally, I got a call from mom telling me to meet her in the emergency room. On a side note, I walked in the room where mom and dad were, and dad was wearing a hospital gown for a shirt and he kept his jeans and boots on! I almost fell over laughing at the sight! Mom said he refused to get totally undressed, since they only needed his arms to take his blood pressure and such. Only my dad!
Anyway, across the room from dad was a little boy, probably Kyle’s age at the time, two or three. I’m not sure why he was there, but I do know he was sick, again the details were none of my business. When dad heard about the little tyke, he immediately had my mom go and get the little boy a balloon and a stuffed animal from the hospital gift shop. I know seeing that kid sick struck a cord with dad. At that point, Kyle was always in and out of the hospital himself with phenomena, tonsillitis, ear infections, you name it, all respiratory issues. We had a sick little man on our hands for quite some time. I did peek my head in the room of the mystery boy, just to give the kid a thumbs up. He was so happy over his spontaneous gift from an unknown source. It made all of us smile. And you know what? The day was a little bit easier to take.
Was it fair that Kyle was so sick for so many years or that little boy was in the ER? No, but we are blessed that Kyle is healthy now. Like I said, others always have it worse, like Chad’s struggle. But I will admit those years of emergency room visits, made us all aware of the fears and battles other sick children tackle. Let’s not forget, it helped Kyle to soften dad’s heart. So much so, that he reach out his neighbor, literally, across the hallway to give back. This time in the form of a milliard balloon and a stuffed animal.
You know I do believe Ryan and Chad are hanging out in heaven together, maybe casting their fishing lines side-by-side. I also believe they are with my pap and Chad’s grandma, my Aunt Helen. That’s how we are related, my pap and Aunt Helen’s dad were brothers, Jimmy’s grandpa and my grandpa were brothers. Aunt Helen was another one of those great spirits we were all blessed to know. Ryan had such a crush on Aunt Helen when he was little. He used to say she was his girlfriend. Maybe she’s sitting there too, fishing in the pool of heaven.
This year’s golf outing is on Saturday, June 15th at the Glengarry Golf Course in Latrobe, Pa., near Lycippus. Every year the seats fill up fast, I guess that’s what happens when you come from such a large family. It is a fun event! All donations support the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help a child with a life threatening disease receive a wish; the Holy Trinity School in Ligonier; Hunt-of-A-Lifetime to help send a child with a terminal illness on a hunting trip; and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation for travel expenses to aid children in getting to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh for treatment.
If anyone is interested in volunteering or donating, please let me know. Or visit the Chad Delier Scanlon Memorial Fund on Facebook. Show your support for Chad and the family just by hitting ‘Like’. Some donate in the form of monetary contributions; some sponsor a hole, which we do in memory of Ryan; while others donate their time and some donate baskets and prizes to be raffled off during the golf outing. It’s a very well organized event that I am blessed to be apart of every year.
I do want to give a special shout out to the Glengarry Golf Course. They have been exceptional to work with and they have treated us wonderfully. Besides going out of their way to make sure the day runs smooth, not that Jimmy and Marie-Paule need any assistance, but they are easy to work with and they genuinely want the day to be successful.
To really learn the full story of Chad’s brain tumor, the struggles and obstacles he and his family faced, purchase The Book of Chad. It couldn’t be more straightforward and spot on and educational.