Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Real McQueen

When I believe in something,
I fight like Hell for it.

Hollywood's "King of Cool" tripped the mortal coil on November 7, 1980.  He missed the arrival of Devin McQueen by almost two and one-half decades.  It matters not.  For while these two McQueens are linked by what it is that is inside of them, it is not their DNA.

I know not how you are spending your Sunday morning on this early June day.  If you happen to be spending it in New Providence, New Jersey, then you shall be spending it in the company of a most remarkable young man.  Truth be told, you shall be spending it in the company of too many remarkable men and women to count.  This morning is the 3rd Annual NJ Sharing Network 5K Run and Walk.  The NJ Sharing Network is a "non-profit, federally designated organ procurement organization responsible for the recovery of organs and tissue for the 5,000 New Jersey residents currently awaiting transplantation, and is part of the national recovery system, which is in place for the over 115,000 people on waiting lists."

Among the families participating in the 5K Walk this morning is the McQueen family.  Nine-year-old Devin McQueen shall walk with his dad, Derrick.  Derrick and Colleen McQueen adopted Devin shortly after Colleen first met him - when he was roughly one year old.  Devin had been abandoned by his parents and when Colleen first saw him, he was a patient at Newark Beth Israel Hospital in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.  Colleen was a nurse in the Unit.  She learned that Devin's prognosis was extremely poor because he had been born with a condition known as "short gut syndrome", in which portions of the small intestine are either damaged or missing.  It is a condition that affects less than 3% of all babies.   

Devin was born with so little of his small intestine, which is critical to the absorption of nutrients essential to permit tiny children to grow and to grow up that by the time he was five years old, the best option available for keeping him alive was an intestinal transplant.   Intestinal transplants are very risky, particularly for children. The five-year survival rate is less than 50 percent, doctors told the McQueens, but there was no choice.

Neither the doctors nor the McQueens know how long a life this remarkable little boy shall live.  His parents know better than to ask.  The answer to that question is not unimportant.  But it pales in importance to knowing that irrespective of its duration, Devin is doing all he can do to squeeze every moment out of every day.  What they do know is that every day Devin is here is a testament to his incredible strength....

....and to their own.  


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