I am at a loss to think of something that occurs here on our Big Blue Marble that infuriates me more than children being afflicted with diseases and illnesses that threaten their lives and, even, end their lives. As a man of little to no faith, there are few things to which I can point with more reliability in support of my intertwined arguments, which are (A) There is no God; and (B) If there is a God and he allows this to happen to children, then you can keep him. I try to remain consistent to the teachings of my great, great grandfather Phineas, who was known for saying, "There ain't no Agnostic quite like a flexible Agnostic."
Every now and again - or perhaps even less frequently than that - I come across something that both breaks my heart and warms the embers of the little briquette all at once. Yesterday, such an event occurred.
Lucas Lowe is twelve years old. Stella Usiak is also twelve years old. In addition to sharing age as a common characteristic, each is also battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a disease that has thus far put both of these youngsters through a remarkably similar-looking wringer: Both were initially diagnosed with their cancer in 2011. Both went into remission. Both then relapsed. Both underwent bone marrow transplants. Both have spent more time in and out of hospitals than anyone of any age should ever have to spend. Currently, both are patients at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York.
And one more thing that these two rather extraordinary twelve-year-old warriors have in common: Lucas is in love with Stella and Stella is in love with Lucas. Do not for a minute underestimate the sincerity or the depth of the affection these two youngsters have for one another. Case in point, last fall Stella allowed Lucas to shave off her hair, which had just started to grow back after a round of chemotherapy when she learned that he had to undergo another round of chemotherapy and was going to lose all of his hair in the process.
Give yourself a present today, whether you think you deserve it - and even if you are damn sure that you do not. Invest a few minutes and get to know these two terrific kids, which you can do courtesy of this piece by Melissa Holmes, WGRZ-TV, Buffalo.
Little ditty about Lukas and Stella, two American kids done the best that they can...
...and two American kids for whom the thrill of living shall never go away.