Andy Nulman: With Tragedy Comes Beauty.
Huffington Post: 04/19/2013

No, this is not about the horrific situation that has gripped the city of Boston.

This is about a horrific situation that gripped a family. My extended family. My cousins, to be exact.

A few weeks ago, my cousins Warren Roll and Kelly Goodman were told that their four-year-old daughter Jayden had cancer.

Tough to write, tough to read. Tougher still for a parent to hear. Watch this news report from Canada AM, or this one from CBC, if you really wanna choke up.

How Warren and Kelly responded, however, was inspiring. Even more inspiring is how you, the public, have responded.

Your response can help save a life…but it has already changed at least one, Warren’s. He shared his feelings with me, but I suggested he put it in writing so that I–and he–could share then even further.

So without any further ado, heartfelt words from Warren Roll, a grateful parent:

It’s been nine weeks now and every day is a new day. Sounds corny, but not when you live it.

We were a normal Canadian family living (relatively) carefree, when one day, just before Valentine’s day, our four-year-old daughter Jayden told us she had a headache. A few more days of uncharacteristic heavy fatigue from this rambunctious girl and we took her to the doctor. Fast forward two weeks, four IVs, one bone marrow biopsy and one transfusion and my wife Kelly and I are told our daughter has a rare blood cancer and her only hope for survival is a stem cell transplant.

These terrifying words are every parent’s worst nightmare.

The emotions are indescribable, and impossible to put into words.

And yet, it got worse. After testing Jayden’s two younger brothers to see if they were compatible donors the results were negative. We lost complete control and felt helpless as cancer robbed us of our ability to protect our baby.

We cried. A lot. We still cry. But we realized that now was the time to be strong and stay focused while Jayden was/is stable and with us. What could we do while waiting to see if there were other potential donors around the world? I told my family maybe we could find our own donor for Jayden, and for the thousands of kids and adults that are currently waiting for the right match in Canada, the U.S and around the world.

We started a Facebook Page. The word got out about our devastating news fast. First there was one friend, then 10, then 100 and then hundreds…there are a lot beautiful people out there in this world. Today there are 250,000 beautiful people that are reading and sharing the details of Jayden’s condition and reaching out to help save her.

We organized a stem cell drive in Montreal and through our network of incredible friends and family, drives to help save Jayden popped up all across North America. We have already tested the DNA of 3,500 people that want one help save her…and we are not done. We have drives scheduled in Toronto, New York, New Jersey, Long Island, San Diego, Los Angeles, and yes, even Boston.

Before all this, I had lost faith in the average human being. As we get older we become more cynical. I have too. I’m guilty of becoming selfish and pouring my energy into my career and my family, and disregarding friends and strangers in need. I didn’t expect much from my fellow neighbor…and I was dead wrong.

People care. There is a lot of heart in the world. More than I ever imagined. Not only friends and family but absolute strangers all over the globe… from Italy to Thailand from Israel to Australia, help and support continues to poor in to help save a little girl in Canada that just wants to grow up.

It gives me strength and courage to fight hard knowing how many good guys are left that want to fight together with me and my family.

Yes, we have been hit with a tragic situation. But through it, we have discovered a new beauty.

Thank you for helping us discover it.