i’m already crying. and i haven’t even started to tell you about this young man.
Connor is more than a graduate this year. he is more than my brother. he is MORE than my little boy’s uncle. You see, Connor is a fighter. a survivor. a statement. a spirit. a challenger. a fearless individual.
and he’s been this way since birth. Connor was born with bacterial spinal menangitis. While he’s had a clean bill of health since infancy, he has surpassed mental and physical expectations. in fact, you’d never know anything was ever wrong.
i have had the pleasure of watching him grow up. and even though i wasn’t always happy to have a little brother around me, cramping my style, i never underestimated the power or reason of his presence. since he was little, my mom has been telling him that God put him on the earth for something!
Earlier this year, my parents and i, accompanied by our amazing church family and friends, sat in the surgical waiting room. He had undergone surgery to remove a tumor that had obliterated one of his adrenal glands. The surgeons came out, and told my parents that his tumor was, in fact, cancerous and that they should start considering an avenue for treatment.
Connor was diagnosed with Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma. It’s a rare cancer that affects, literally, one in a million people. As you can assume, our whole family has felt the impact of this news.
Connor opted to begin chemotherapy immediately. i admire his bravery and courage and strength when his body was at it’s weakest. today, he’s about halfway through his treatments. and we have every hope, prayer, and thought banking on a recovery!
I’m always happy to report on his status. Because my brother is truly an inspiration. I can’t even begin to imagine what conflictions you’d have when give news like this. I tend to believe that i would throw myself on the couch and sulk in a very “woe is me” manner and fail to fight this thing standing. But not my brother!!! My brother has bravely tackled the physical and mental toll of his diagnosis, treatment, and surgery. He has simply rolled with the punches and is still standing.
Connor will still be graduating high school this spring. and we’re all very very proud of his accomplishments. so without further ado… please allow me to proudly introduce you to my brother:Connor: you are such a CONCRETE definition of strength. courage. determination. will and SPIRIT. and i admire that. i applaud that. i’m not sure if you will ever fully understand the way you have touched the lives of many. the way you have encouraged others. the way your story alone has motivated people to get up. you will never really understand how much others see in you. so just keep doing what you’re doing, because you are a therapy to so many of *us* – without even knowing it. i am so so sooooo proud of you. so relieved to see that you are still my little brother. that you’re still flirting with nurses. that you are determined to be more than a diagnosis. that you strive, crave, and ACHE to live your life to it’s fullest without fear or doubt. so just remember how much you say to all of us by just being yourself. remember how much you accomplish just by being you. remember that there are so many of us that find our own peace in your strength. you are a hero to many. i admire and respect your will and spirit and heart. and i can only pray that laken grows up to be HALF the man that i saw standing before me in these photos. we love love LOVE you dearly.