Tale of Two Heroes

Category: Misc./General Career News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: July 13, 2007 | Publication: Kids Kicking Cancer | Author: Rabbi G
Publication/Article Link:Gerard Butler Dot Net Charity Group

Stephen J. was a favorite amongst the doctors and nurses of Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital. He had been fighting his leukemia for 10 years, since he was a little boy. Recently, despite the advances of modern medicine and the world class medical care of Sloan Kettering, Stephen was losing his battle.

For the last few months, Stephen began training as a warrior. He joined the Kids Kicking Cancer program where he learned from his martial arts instructors who came to his bedside in the hospital, how to use the power of his "Chi" (his inner energy), the calmness of his breath, and the meditations of his mind to calm his growing pain. In March, Stephen began to realize that he was dying. Robin Hardbattle of our Kids Kicking Cancer staff, who works regularly at Sloan Kettering, told Steven about a new movie that was just coming out. "300" was a powerful blockbuster depiction of the battle of Thermopylae in which 300 Spartans held off half a million Persians for three days. "These heroicGreeks lost the battle", Robin explained, "but they won the war". Their heroic stand allowed the fledgling foundation of Democracy, Greece, to ultimately be victorious. "You too, Stephen, may be losing this battle, but you have won the war. Your heroism has affected so many people, and you will be remembered forever."

Kids Kicking Cancer presented Stephen with the highest rank of a martial artist in a special black belt ceremony that was held in his hospital room. Amongst the doctors, nurses, family and friends who were present, Stephen was presented with a black belt that had his name embroidered in one end and the words "Master Teacher" on the other. The Kids Kicking Cancer black belt ceremony is a part of our end-of-life care program, which honors the child while focusing on the infinite light of his or her heroic inner strength. It was in the midst of this ceremony that Stephen requested that he be able to see the move "300" before he dies.

Thanks to the wonderful intervention of Evelyn Iocolano of Lollipop Theater Network, we were able to procure the DVD and bring it to Stephen's room.

Kids Kicking Cancer has been blessed with two amazing friends in Hollywood. Josh Lieberman of the Creative Artists Agency and Alan Siegel of Alan Siegel Entertainment. Both of these gentlemen introduced me to Gerard Butler, the star of "300", Phantom of the Opera and a myriad of other films. Gerry and I met several times in Los Angeles and he,like many of his Hollywood friends, very quickly signed up to help our amazing children.

As Stephen was watching "300" in his hospital bed at Sloan Kettering, I called Gerry Butler at his home. I told him all about Stephen and why he was watching this powerful movie in his hospital room. I asked Gerry to please give Stephen a call as the movie was ending; "Let him know who you are, and make sure he hears from you that you, Stephen, are the real hero." A half and hour later, a surprised Stephen received a call from King Leonidas the Spartan warrior from the Battle of Thermompalyae. "Stephen", he told him, "I want you to know that you really are the true hero. Every time that I am given the privilege to inspire millions of people in a film, Stephen, it will be your light that has inspired me. I will carry your heroic message with me to all of the world as long as I live."

Stephen slipped into a coma two hours later. He never woke up, but he died knowing that he was a hero, just like the real life Gerard Butler. And that is forever.

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