Fight 437 – Week 1

airplaneFlight 437

Week 1

It’s strange, this thing called life.  We begin our journey full of hopes and dreams for something we will never understand.  There are times we may curse our journey when it takes us down a road, not of our choosing.  Nevertheless, in spite of this, once we arrive, we usually find that it’s exactly where we needed to be.  Then in an instant, we realize it’s time to continue, to move on to a new place, a new dream.

Throughout this journey, our paths will cross with other souls on their travels through life, and for a time we may share the same road.  This time together may last for an instant, or a lifetime but none of that matters.  For our lives are like the twinkle of a star in the far off reaches of the universe, swift yet beautiful.

This journey called life is full of twists and turns but in the end, it always manages to take us to places we never dreamed of…

This is the unexpected journey of the passengers on Flight 437.

“Please Daddy, may I have it?  I promise I’ll take good care of it,” Kimi giggled while looking up at her father with one of her heart-melting smiles.

Dave Langer looked at his wife who was watching their beloved daughter work her magic again.  “I don’t know, what do you think, sweetheart?”

Samantha knew their daughter would win out in the end, but she always enjoyed watching her husband try to search for a reason to deny her request for another stuffed toy.  “Oh, no, you two can handle this decision without me,” she laughed, seeing the pleading look appear on Dave’s face.

The last two years had been difficult for the family.  Kimberly was their only child, and at the age of three, Dave and Samantha received the worst news any parent could receive, Kimi had Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML).  JMML is quite rare, so because of that, it is difficult to study, and none of the standard chemotherapy treatments seemed to work for this form of leukemia.  Kimi was growing weaker every day until her oncologist suggested an allogeneic stem cell transplant.

“Mr. and Mrs. Langer, Kimberly is a prime candidate for the procedure; however, it would be preferable if she had a sibling for the donor.  If I have your permission, I will add her name as a recipient on the National Marrow Donor Program so we can get things going.  Do you have any questions?”  Dr. Sims knew this was the best bet Kimberly had for a complete recovery, and he prayed they would find an unrelated donor that matched her tissue type before the disease progressed any further.

Dave answered immediately, “Of course, do whatever you need to save our Kimi.”  He took Samantha’s hand in his, as he looked at Dr. Sims.  “What are her chances of a complete recovery?”

“As I told you before, this form of leukemia does not respond well to chemotherapy.  Fortunately with the advancements in adult stem cell research, we have found this treatment is quite successful in younger patients who suffer from this form of cancer.”  Dr. Sims could see the fear in their eyes, but this was the only chance Kimberly had to survive.

“Please do whatever you need to save Kimi.  She deserves to live a full and happy life so we’ll do anything to give her that chance,” Samantha pleaded with tears flowing down her cheeks.

“She’s right, please find a donor to save Kimi,” Dave also pleaded.

Dr. Sims looked across his desk into the faces of two, frightened parents and said a silent prayer that the search would be successful.  He knew that each passing day made her chances for a complete recovery more difficult, but until they found a donor there was nothing more he could do.  “I will do my best.  Now, why don’t you take Kimi home, and I’ll handle things here,” he did his best to muster a smile.

Dave stood and reached across the desk, offering his hand to Dr. Sims.  “Thank you for caring about Kimi.  We’re very lucky to have you as her doctor.”

Dr. Sims stood, and returned the handshake.  “It’s my honor.  Kimi is an incredible, little girl.  I have faith in this procedure, so I know her chances of survival are excellent.”

Dave turned to Samantha, “Come on, sweetheart, let’s get Kimi, and go home.  I’m sure she’s driving Dr. Sims receptionist crazy by now.”

“To be honest, I think Ms. Rasson enjoys her visits with Kimi,” Dr. Sims laughed.  “Ms. Rasson is always saying what a delight Kimi is, and how she’s always so cheerful.”

“Doctor, I want to thank you for caring about Kimi.  I know that Samantha and I both are grateful not only for your professionalism but also the fact that you actually care about her recovery,” Dave said while Samantha nodded in agreement.

Dr. Sims felt a catch in his throat.  “Thank you.  I lost someone I cared for deeply from this same cancer, so I’ve made it my life’s mission to save as many as I can from its clutches.”  His eyes glistened with tears for the loss of his sister, who had died as a young girl.

Dave nodded his understanding as he took Samantha by the hand.  “Let us know as soon as you find a donor.”

“Dave, you know you’re going to buy it for her, so stop torturing her,” Samantha laughed, as she saw the corner of his mouth curl up into a smile.

“Oh, Daddy, thank you!”  Kimi squealed with excitement.

Dave reached for the bright, pink stuffed cat and handed it to Kimi.  “There you go, sweetheart.  Now, remember that it’s your responsibility to keep track of it on the flight home, okay?”  Then he handed the clerk his credit card to pay for the prized toy.

Kimi grabbed the stuffed cat and hugged it tightly, “I will, Daddy.  I promise.”

“Why don’t we go to that little café by our terminal and have something to drink while we wait for our boarding time.  I really don’t want to sit around in the waiting area,” Samantha said, taking Kimi by the hand.

“Here is your card, sir,” the cashier returned the credit card to Dave, who then put it back in his wallet.  “Thank you,” he smiled then turned and followed the two most important women in his life.