Leaving a Legacy

It all started when I read a post on Beating Blood Cancer. In this post, Vicky Forster a cancer research scientist writes about work she does under the title “How DoT-43 Scientist Use Leukemia Cells in Research?” The post describes how researchers are able to gain information about Leukemia and how to fight it by studying the genetic makeup of these cells in comparison to normal cells. I like what Ms. Forster wrote so I shared the link on Facebook mentioning that my blood was being used for similar research.

The response was almost immediate, Gerry Neumann wrote, “No matter what happens to us, [it] is comforting to know that in all we go through as cancer patients, something beneficial may come from it for someone else.” Gerry is a long term Stem Cell Transplant survivor and a SCT mentor to me. I responded, “Amen. Part of my legacy.” I thought that was the end of the matter.

I thought wrong. Now that I am an elderly 68, I can remember things from way back when. My mind traveled to a Little House on the Prairie episode, Season 8, Episode 14 to be exact. (I didn’t remember that. I researched it.) In this episode, Charles “Pa” Ingalls sets out to build a legacy for his children. Pa had been building a really nice table and selling it in Minneapolis. The store owner wanted more. Of course, Pa decides that he should move to the city and begin mass producing the tables. Unfortunately, an unscrupulous competitor steals the design and patents it forcing Pa out of business. Ultimately, Pa learns that a legacy is not what he builds, it is his family.

I mentioned what I was thinking for this post to my wife and granddaughter, Allison Terry. Allison shared this gem she heard in church, “An inheritance is something you leave FOR someone. A legacy is something you leave IN them.” Profound. I’m truly amazed at what Allison can come up with. She is the deepest thinking 14 year old girl I have ever known (and I’ve taught 14 year old high school students). While I am not entirely in agreement with Allison’s statement, I can agree in spirit.

I believe that a legacy is both something you leave for AND in someone. I am teaching my grandchildren the meaning of courage and faith as I fight Leukemia. My legacy. I am also helping others who will fight the disease through the research to which I am contributing. Also, my legacy.

I agree with Gerry, whether I win or lose this battle, it is comforting to know that what I leave behind may someday help others. It is also comforting to know that my documentation of my journey through this blog and other writings may help others on their journey.

Just think, like Jesus’ blood cured me of my fatal sin nature, my blood may be a link to a cure for blood cancers like Leukemia thus giving others longer lives.

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