A MOM’S STORY ABOUT ILLNESS, COURAGE, AND LOVE
The rewarding part of publishing is the feedback from readers. The Comedy section has received enthusiastic response, but a letter I received from a mom in Ottawa deeply moved me. Kristen Thompson sent a letter after reading my story about Jungle Jim Jerome, comedian extraordinaire.
I will let the letter speak for itself. I deeply thank Kristin for this moving story about her wonderful kids, and her feelings about a certain comedian named Jim Jerome.
Loved loved loved your story about the indomitable Jungle Jim Jerome. Although you know Jim as a funny man…I happen to know a much different side of him.
But first, I’ll have to tell you about me and my family, before I can tell you about our relationship with Jim.
My name is Kristen Thompson. I am the wife of one. The mom of two. Our son, Kieran was born with a profoundly rare condition called Bladder and Cloacal Extrophy. This literally means his bladder and part of his bowels were on the outside of his body. It’s a medically complex defect and Kieran has, thus far required 46 trips to the operating room to repair this. Some of those surgeries have lasted more than 24 hours!
To add to this, our only other child, our daughter Merighan, is terminally ill with a very rare metabolic disease called San Filippo syndrome (completely unrelated to what Kieran has). Sadly, this disease is 100% fatal. Merighan is now palliative and requires around the clock care.
To say I’ve spent the greater part of my parenting life, living in and out of a hospital…would perhaps be an understatement. And although we call Ottawa home, our children are treated and cared for at The Hospital for Sick Children, in Toronto.
When Kieran was 11 years old. He was granted a wish. You know the kind…where kids get to choose whatever it is their hearts desire? But Kieran..was different. He chose to DECLINE the wish. When we asked him why…he told us he’d rather “be a giver, instead of a taker”. In his 11 year old mind, he felt it was better to be giving back.
Giving back to the Hospital for Sick Children. Giving back so his surgeon could create a research endowment fund supporting pediatric urology. Because really?? Who EVER cared about pediatric urology? Kieran, that’s who.
Kieran decided he’d like to organize a golf tournament. He’d already played in a few. And Kieran knew exactly who he needed to MC the tournament – a local radio personality named Jim Jerome.
Thus began a prolific relationship between Jungle and Kieran. With Jungle’s help….Kieran has raised nearly $200,000 for urology research. Research that has, in turn, helped to keep Kieran alive.
We are forever indebted to Jim Jerome. He helped to change the arc of a young boy’s future. How many people own that badge of honor? Well…Jim Jerome does.
With kindest regards,