Anissa Mayhew and I first bonded over pediatric disease.
No, not the malady of raising children though that should be considered for the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
The diseases that our children have.
Or, in her case, had.
Shortly after I first commented on one of her posts, we began an off-and-on exchange of shared experiences, bon mots and one-upping each other in e-mails and comments on each other’s blogs.
Kinda like a childhood-illness poetry slam: leukemia mom versus autoimmune dad. My kid’s T cells could whup your kid’s B cells any day, bee-yatch! Bring it on.
I thanked her.
Then I told her not to do it again.
She had her own causes to rally ‘round while she attempted to run her zoo of three wee ones while her husband worked a state away. Focus, woman, focus! Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything.
Revenge was mine a short while later when I donated to one of the cancer charities she supported. Take that tumors!
A few months later, I asked all of you to consider making a donation to Cure JM to mark my wife’s birthday … aaaaaand, you can figure out what happened.
I think if I specifically wrote in that post “Anissa – don’t even think of donating this time” she would have giving twice as much just to flip me the bird via PayPal.
That’s why she’s so special.
That’s also why I’m not in charge of Cure JM’s fundraising.
This past October, a year after our first online encounter, I finally got to meet Anissa – which I think shocked her because … well, what’s the name of this blog, people? Our meeting required me, for only the second time ever, to venture into the nearby borough and distant planet of Manhattan solo. (The first time was to pick up My Love’s engagement ring. I know. I’m gagging at the thought, too.)
I thanked her for what she had done for me and my family and always sharing her perspective and hope about raising a child with a serious illness. That’s an opportunity not everyone gets in life, thanking the people who affect their views on the world, and I’m grateful it happened.
Especially, as many of you know, about three weeks later Anissa had two strokes in one day.
That make three strokes in her short, jam-packed 35 years.
While it looked pretty grim there for a while, the reports from her hubby Peter seem to be getting more and more positive. She posted on Facebook this week and now I’m expecting at least a dozen snarky Tweets from her by spring’s first blossoms.
It’s going to be a long, hard road for Anissa and her family. One they’ve traveled before, one my family is still on with Thing 1’s disease (literally on the road people -- we’re in Chicago today for her quarterly appointment with her specialist).
I’m here today to ask that all of you who have been so supportive of the Mayhews with your prayers, thoughts, cards, donations, e-mails and photos of your breasts (mine, lucky for all of you, are not visible at the 7:43 mark in the video) just keep it up.
Or if you haven’t done something yet, please do.
A family, and a friend, is counting on you.
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Suggestions on how to help Anissa’s family are available at: