Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Remembering Henry today

Thinking about my little buddy Henry today on what would have been his 12th birthday. He left this world at just 10 years of age in December of 2010 and will be dearly missed forever.

In the hospital, December 2010
Driving Daboata in summer of 2010

Henry was the littlest wiseman that I have ever met. He taught without speeches or words but with actions. He loved life, his friends, and his dear mother Lihua and cancer didn't stop him until the very end. During his struggle, cancer it seemed at times was just an inconvenience, a bump in a road that he so enjoyed running down.

At the zoo in November 2011
He didn't complain about needing a wheelchair on our trip to the aquarium. He just saved up his strength for when he really needed it, like examining an amazing fish or browsing the toys in the gift shop. The rest of the time, on that day that I'll never forget, my daughter Alex (who was the same age) would push him in his wheelchair. His little crush on her was so sweet and genuine.

At the aquarium, October 2010

December 2010
Henry had an agenda in life. He had stuff to do, places to go, people to see, Lego's to build. He learned English in no time flat and made friends so very easily. I visited him in the hospital just a few days before he passed away. His cancer was relentless and his pain was increasing. I heard him exclaim to nobody in particular, "This is the worst day ever!" It was a brutally honest thing to share and it was utterly heart breaking. He was helpless against the pain, and I and everyone else in the world was helpless to stop the suffering. That is such a terrible feeling and there just MUST be something that can be done about it. Lihua was an incredible mom and she did absolutely everything that she possibly could for Henry. They loved each other so much. Even though she is back in Xian now in central China, her heart is really here in Seattle where her boy was laid to rest.

Yesterday, my dear friend Ann Marie and I visited the cemetery where Henry is buried on what was already his birthday in China. We knew that Lihua would appreciate that Henry was still lovingly remembered. Ann Marie brought a card and some toy cars and we stayed quite a while reminiscing about the wonderful experience of getting to know Henry and Lihua.

How fitting that Henry's birthday falls during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. His loss is yet another tragic reminder of the ravages of pediatric cancer. My hope is that by remembering and celebrating a life like Henry's, and all the other kids who were taken from us too soon, the cumulative compassion can be directed towards finding a cure.

One way to help and to provide hope is through the Run of Hope, to benefit pediatric brain tumor research at Seattle Children's Hospital, where Henry was treated. The event is on the very last day of this month of cancer awareness, Sunday, September 30th at Seward Park. If you'd like to join me on Team Ninja! or to support this effort to strike back against cancer then please visit the link below.

Team Ninja! at the Run of Hope

Henry at beaming at camp in the summer of 2010, having one of his best days ever.

1 comment:

  1. Paul, you are the best. These memories are precious. I hope Henry's mom will see your posting.