9.08.2007

For Glenn.

I met Glenn during training and orientation for The Caring Place. There were a lot of us, but he stood out somehow - tall, quiet, but you definitely felt a sense of strength emanating from him somehow. We went on to become full-fledged volunteers, but we've only been grouped in the same session once (a session = 10 weeks). But we've seen each other around, during Caring Place seminars and activities, and also around the workplace (we work for the same company, but not in the same division. Not even in the same building.).

Time passed, and I noticed an article on our company's Intranet spotlighting Glenn and all of the volunteer activities he's involved with. There were, and I'm not kidding, between 15 and 20 organizations that he regularly gives his free time to. I was stunned - how does one person have that kind of free time? Or, more appropriately, how does one person have such a big heart?

More time passed, and through announcements at The Caring Place and through email, I learned that Glenn had cancer - many, many tumors throughout his body. He went through the ringer - surgery, chemo, medication - and at one point, his cancer seemed beaten. I saw him at a Caring Place quilt dedication (he, of course, had volunteered to help run the event that day), looking a little pale and tired, but he was SO happy to be there. His eyes really gave that away. He remembered me, and we chatted and I wished him continued good luck and good health.

Last week I received another email that Glenn won the prestigious Jefferson Award for Public Service, and was up for the national award in Washington, DC. His sister, who also works at my company, sent pictures of Glenn receiving the award from Senator Bob Casey. Sadly, this had to take place in the hospital - Glenn had been admitted for surgery to relieve some complications of his illness, which had returned. Yesterday, I got word that the surgery was not successful - he has a large tumor in his abdomen that can't be removed or operated around. He'll be moving in with his sister next week to rest and recover and... I don't even want to go there.

I could easily go on about how unfair it is that such a remarkable, generous person has to endure such suffering, but instead, I'll get to the point of why I wanted to talk about this. One of the email updates I received was from the volunteer coordinator at The Caring Place, who mentioned that while Glenn's been sick, he learned how to crochet, and has been making blankets that he's sold to raise money for organizations that support the less fortunate. Doesn't that just say it all? Even while battling cancer, enduring great pain and uncertainty, he's still giving his time to others. How many of us could, or would, do the same under those circumstances? I'm going to see if I can get some pictures of those blankets.

I may not know Glenn very well personally, but I'd like him to know he's changed my life. The hat is only the beginning.

1 comment:

Cris said...

Wow. Glenn sounds like a heck of a guy, and this story puts a whole lot of my "bad days" into perspective.

I had forgotten about the Caps for Kids donations to be taken at Knitters' Day Out, which is all the more shameful for all of the leftover yarn stored in bins in my spare bedroom. The purple sweater can wait for a bit; this afternoon I'm casting on a (first time ever) hat.

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