|John Theissen Children’s Foundation
Celebrating 20 years of helping sick and needy children across Long Island What’s Next?
September 28, 1988 is a date that I will never forget. I learned that I had a large mass growing on my Pituitary Gland, which is located at the base of my brain. I arrived home to find my mother and aunt crying. They explained that the Cat scan that I had earlier that day revealed a large tumor. I asked how much longer I had to live. Little did I know that the news I received on September 28, 1988 would change my life and shape my future aspirations.
I was admitted to the hospital on December 8, 1988 to prepare for the impending surgery on the following day. A small girl wearing her pajamas and an infectious smile entered my room and introduced herself. The spunky seven-year-old named Tasha was there receiving treatments for her own illness. Later I learned that Tasha was often left at the hospital for weeks at a time without a single visit from a family member. The hospital staff became her family.
Tasha was a welcome presence in my hospital room throughout my stay there. Her good-natured innocence was uplifting. She did her best to make me smile and she checked in frequently to make certain that I was comfortable. The nurses were amused and revealed that during my surgery Tasha was concerned and insisted on frequent updates.
Days later, the pediatric patients and their families were being treated to a special holiday party wherein each child would receive a gift. Tasha was expecting to attend the event with her family but sadly, they did not fulfill their promise to her. Tasha’s excitement turned into tears and disappointment. She was wearing the party dress the nurses purchased for her when she shared her unhappiness with us. I wanted badly to accompany her myself but I was still too weak. My mother offered to take her and Tasha was thrilled. She enjoyed the festive event. When Santa asked her to select a present, she stated, “I would like the teddy bear for my friend upstairs.” I felt fortunate to be that friend.
Tasha was released from the hospital and I never saw her again. I admired her positive attitude and generous spirit. Her selfless act of kindness inspired a legacy of giving.