68: A Letter of Support

68: A Letter of Support

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Middle School

A Letter of Support

Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them.

~Orison Swett Marden

Dear Friend,

I recently was told that you were diagnosed with a brain tumor. You are probably feeling tired, sick, sad and scared. I am very sorry that you have to go through this experience. I understand what you are going through.

I have been battling a brain tumor for over a year now. Having this experience has taught me many things, but one thing I have learned a great deal about is friendship. I now know that I have wonderful friends who will stay by my side and still be my friends through anything, even when I can’t remember things very well, or my head is shaved. My friends and I may even have grown closer during the time of my illness. Even my friends’ friends that I don’t even know have reached out to me.

When I was in the hospital, a lot of my friends came to visit me, even though the hospital was a couple of hours away. My friends gave me things that they knew I would really enjoy. One of my friend’s mothers brought me a ten-pound cheesecake because she knew it was one of my favorite desserts. Every time I would open the refrigerator, I would ask, “Who’s that cheesecake from?” because I couldn’t remember. So finally, my dad put a note on the box that said, “Brought by Michele Ward.” I kept wanting to know who it was from because it was important to me to know who had come to see me and who had brought what. Things that friends do for one another are worth remembering.

One time, I was eating lunch in the cafeteria with some people at school. After I finished eating my food, several other people and I got up to take our trays up and throw them away. I was the first one back to the table, so I sat down. A few moments later, the other girls came back. My best friend Carleigh came up to me and said, “You were sitting on the other side of the table, Quinn!” I couldn’t even describe to you how foolish I felt at the time. My short-term memory was that bad! They had a little laugh, but I know they understood that after my surgery I had a harder time remembering things like that. Until my memory problems improved, they helped me remember things.

Another thing I really adore about my friends is that they don’t treat me like I’m sick. They will help me out if I need it, but they don’t give me any pity. Some people will just treat me like I can’t do anything. Even if I know I’m allowed to play physical games, they’ll treat me like a China doll. When people do that, it makes me angry.

This year, I owed a lot to my teacher—Mrs. Joyce Davis. I consider her a good friend of mine. I had Mrs. Davis in third grade, but she moved up to fifth when one of the old teachers left. Before she agreed to move to fifth grade, she told the principal that the only way she would go to fifth grade is if I were in her class. I think she really cared about me and wanted to help me out in any way she could. Some years ago, Mrs. Davis was in a bad accident. She has been through a lot and I think that has helped her be sensitive to others’ feelings. She would always notice when I was feeling bad or upset. Mrs. Davis is very special to me and to many other people. I have also been through a lot and I think I try to follow her example of noticing when other people feel bad and trying to help them.

I also got a very special gift from a friend. There is an eye doctor I know in town who tested my vision after my first surgery. His name is Doctor Ozzie Reynolds. One day not too long ago, Dr. Reynolds sent me a poem. Inside the folded piece of paper was a one hundred-dollar bill. There was a note on the poem that said if I could memorize the poem, I could keep the money. The poem is called “If” by Rudyard Kipling and I’ve been learning some each night. He gave me the poem because it was very special to him and he wanted to share it with me. Now, the poem is special to me too.

In the past year I’ve learned many things. I’ve learned about cancer and about tumors and about different kinds of doctors and about how you can’t get a good meal or a good night’s sleep in a hospital. But the most important thing I’ve learned is how blessed I am to have such good friends who love and care about me.

Stay strong and keep thinking good thoughts.

Your friend,

~Quinn Scarvey

[EDITORS’ NOTE: This letter was written in 2003 and won the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation award. The competition required the story be written in the form of a letter to a friend going through a similar experience. The topic was, “What I’ve Learned About Friendship” through having cancer.]

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