Friends of Friends of Friends

For the past 3 ½ years the staff and prayer team of God’s Grace have prayed for a little boy named Holden from Cincinnati, Ohio at my request. Holden’s dad, Jeff, works at the same company as my husband. I have followed Holden’s “cancer battle story” via the CaringBridge website journal entries of his devoted mother, Miriam. Though I haven’t even met this family, I feel like I know them well. The following entry, titled Heros, was entered on May 22nd…

Last night, Hayden (older brother of Holden) and I attended the Cancer Family Care 2014 Unsung Hero Awards, which are annual awards that pay tribute to "quiet acts of heroism shown by patients, caregivers, and oncology professionals." While all four of us had planned to attend, Jeff stayed home with Holden because Holden was not feeling well enough to be there.

Jeff and I were there as award recipients, because one of Holden's dialysis nurses took the time and effort to write a beautiful nomination letter. We appreciate that very much...although we have a hard time seeing anything that we have done as out of the ordinary, since all we do is love Holden to pieces and do what we can to make the right choices that are best for him.

There are many, many more "unsung heroes" out there... the pharmacist technician who slips smarties and little Legos into Holden's prescription refills because she knows they are his favorites. The Costco food counter guy who knows Holden wants (or used to, he is fickle with food) a slice of cheese pizza and a drink. Friends who text/email/call to say "I'm here if you need me." Holden's preschool, Liberty Heights, where he also attended sporadically during his kindergarten year on "healthy" (relatively speaking) days so he could have a chance to be a little kid, even if just for a couple hours. The lady at the bank who searched the area for fifty-cent pieces, because that is what Holden wanted as a reward for taking medicine -- and yes, they are hard to find! Friends, and friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends who have prayed for our family many, many times during the last three, almost four, years. Friends who showed up, HLA paperwork in hand asking "am I a match?" and who offered without hesitation "Holden can have one of my kidneys, how do I get tested." And yes, even people we do not know who made the same offer. The heroes are the lawn guy who quietly cleaned up/weeded our front garden one day, the people who slip gas/grocery/take out gift cards with notes of encouragement into our hands. The friends who are miles away but hop on a plane when called, the friends, or friends of friends, who are great medical resources and our go-to people. The many people who collected money to pay the lady who cleans our house, and her, too, for wanting to donate her services (I politely declined, given the first part of that sentence). The random people in Panera who when Holden was clearly sickest (bald with an NG tube in his nose) would anonymously send the cashier over with a gift card....and many, many more.

So it is not so much that we are "strong," but we are blessed. These people are the duct tape around us and the many hands that lift us and help us keep going. And it is easy to see why -- anyone who knows Holden loves him. Loves him to pieces.


I wanted to share that to reinforce the importance of doing things to help others, whether we know them or not. The little things add up and become really big, wonderful, nurturing things that can mean so much to the suffering ones….and in turn, to the givers. I wanted to share that to remind all of us that when you don’t know what to do, you can always pray. That too means so very much.

The following entry was made just 24 hours after the above one. It was entitled 2,548.

May 31, 2007 - May 22, 2014

2,548 days

                                  6 years, 11 months, and 22 days

Not even remotely close to enough time for those of us left here to miss Holden's laughter for the rest of our days.


Holden just missed his 7th birthday. He was a special little boy, blessed to have a wonderful family with many, many friends, whose lives are forever changed by going along on this journey with the Gilkinson’s. I feel blessed to be a part of this community of faith, this God’s Grace family, who will pray for a little boy living across the country, just because I asked. Thank you all.

Andrea Heshmati

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