My heart is sad. A very special family in New Jersey buried their sixteen year old son today. He suffered from the degenerative disease Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This is the same disease that my oldest son has. My son is also sixteen. When I saw that this young man, whose name is Danny Garofalo, had died from the progression of this disease, I was struck dumb. I know that, for all boys suffering from this disease, it is a race against the clock to have medicine advance fast enough to save them. I know that without fast advances in gene therapy or drug development, all young men afflicted with this genetic disorder will suffer a premature death. But from the day my son was diagnosed ten summers ago, I have refused to even consider the possibility that this will be his fate. The death of Danny was a harsh, harsh wake-up call.
Danny's family knew for the last year or so that his heart was failing. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves they embarked on a remarkable campaign to #MAKEEVERYDAYCOUNT. Their zest for life in the face of incredible sadness and hardship has been a huge inspiration for me as I moved through my own difficult divorce and as I struggle to find a viable treatment for my son as fast as I possibly can.
Danny's message of #MAKEEVERYDAYCOUNT is an important reminder for so many of us who find our families in transition of some sort. In my case, I faced both the degenerative illness of my son AND the collapse of my marriage, but everybody has SOMETHING they're dealing with. How can we truly #MAKEEVERYDAYCOUNT if we are consumed with anger or in a battle to the death with the person who used to be our spouse? Obviously, we can't. The answer is to remember that life is short. If you are going through a difficult divorce but your family is healthy, you are still blessed. And hopefully, remembering Danny's message of #MAKEEVERYDAYCOUNT will help you put things in perspective and weather the storm of your own transition with fewer scars.
In a world where we need to #MAKEEVERYDAYCOUNT there is no room for pettiness or anger. I hope that, especially in this summer season when there is so much happening to enjoy with those you love, you are able to stop a second, count your blessings, and #MAKEEVERYDAYCOUNT.