This video from City of Hope, a large cancer research and treatment center in Los Angeles, documents the story of Gavin Wolfrank, a boy first diagnosed with leukemia at 7 months old. His treatment of high-dose chemotherapy continued until he was 4, when a matching donor for a bone marrow transplant was finally found... on the other side of the world.
Gavin wanted to meet this extraordinary stranger who saved his life, and City of Hope made it happen. We are hoping to raise awareness around the life-saving impact of people willing to donate their bone marrow and continue to make stories like this possible. Please watch this video and help us share with your community. Finding an exact bone marrow match is often times an up hill battle but there is strength in numbers if we can continue to encourage others to sign up for a registry.
So, the story is beautiful, and it's impossible not to empathize with this sweet kid, his loving family, and the wonderful woman who donated bone marrow to save a life. The cause is worthy. But I also want to draw attention to how tastefully this video was produced.
I have cancer, and I spend a lot of time monitoring media about cancer. I get really, really sick of cancer center promotional videos with maudlin piano music, and sappy, cloying narratives about children and adults bravely "battling" cancer. Whether you're 4 or 40, IMO this cliché doesn't fit the experience. The cancer battles you. You just do all you can to live through treatment, and beyond.
Pity dehumanizes us. Pity comes with an unspoken assumption that the person with cancer is not going to be around for long. I hate cancer-pity.
But in this video, the viewer isn't inspired to feel pity for Gavin, or anyone else with cancer. They're inspired to get involved.
Bravo, whoever produced it.
And, hey, Gavin? Live long and prosper, little dude.
Learn more about bone marrow transplant research or join the National Bone Marrow registry here.