Miracles at MMS

by C.J. Kirkland

The Mexico license plate grabbed my attention. I wondered what this van was doing here in Memphis, so far from its home.  My answer came a few weeks later when I pulled into one of my usual morning parking spaces to drop my son off at school. The van made a left turn in front of me and I saw written on its dark windows in large, white letters, “We beat cancer!” Before I could stop myself, emotions got the best of me and a tear rolled down my cheek. I thought about my best friend who, over two years ago, was given less than a year to live after her stage IV cancer diagnosis. She’s still here, fighting. They beat cancer. She can beat it too, I whispered.
Several days later, unable to forget about the declaration I’d seen that morning, I mentioned it to someone at the school. “Oh yes,” she said. “That family had a son here in the primary environment. He attended while his sister got treatment at St. Jude. But they’ve gone back home now.”

I wish I could have seen that family before they left to share my excitement in reading those white words plastered across that maroon van. I wish I could have thanked them for refueling the hope in my heart by sharing with all who would take notice the miracle that had just manifested itself in their lives.
Less than two weeks ago I received a party invitation from a MMS mom whom I have admired since the day we met. I digress briefly to share that her smile and laughter, willingness to lend a hand and sincerity in trying to make you feel better during one of “those” days never gave indication to the journey on which she’d been for the past few years. She became my own personal example of selflessness when I learned that the mom who made me laugh on the days I felt least like laughing was a mom whose young son, for the past three years, had been battling cancer.

Now, back to the party invitation...
In bold, black letters written on my Angry Birds invitation it was announced that this was a “NO MO CHEMO Party!” Unlike the family with whom I never got to share my excitement, I believe my loud piglet squeals after reading the invitation demonstrated to this mom exactly how I felt. The next afternoon, I stood amongst other well-wishers in the St. Jude cafeteria to celebrate this dynamic mom-son duo. The magnitude of the occasion was captured perfectly with the Angry Birds cake.  “You win,” it said.

And therein lies the miraculous end to this family’s three year journey. Yes, Zane: You win! 
C.J. Kirkland is a freelance writer currently based in Memphis.
Call (901) 267-5287 or email cj@cjkirkland.com.