I spent a lot of today praying for friends that need special grace from God. One of which is a friend from church who is in need of a kidney. As I prayed for him I remembered a story I had read a little while back.
Jeff Leeland had just accepted a teaching position at Kamiakin Junior High in Seattle, Washington. The family had endured months of Dad's driving to and from work before the family could relocate from their previous home.
As winter struggled toward spring in 1992, Jeff and Kristi heard the
devastating news: "Your baby boy has cancer. Michael needs a bone marrow transplant." The good news was that Michael's six-year-old sister, Amy, was a perfect match for the transplant. But Jeff's insurance company wouldn't pay for it. A tiny clause in the contract coldly stated that Jeff had to be on the job for at least a year before they would cover a transplant. He had only been teaching in the new job for six months.
By March, Michael's need for a transplant became urgent. If he couldn't receive the new marrow soon, his illness would progress quickly, and he would die. The Leelands needed to raise an impossible sum of $200,000 by May.
Fellow teacher Joe Kennedy told his class about Mr. Leeland's situation. Dameon, a seventh grade boy who walked with a limp and struggled in special education classes, heard about Mr. Leeland's son, Michael, and made a visit to Jeff's house.
"Mr. Leeland, don't make a big deal out of this ? If your baby's in trouble, I want to help out." Dameon, the kid others teased, reached out his hand and stuffed 12 five-dollar bills into the hand of a teacher who had made a difference in his life. It was the boy's life savings.
Word got out about "Dameon's gift." Some kids organized a
walk-a-thon. Others contacted a local newspaper. Others held a car wash. "Teenagers," Jeff says, "are pre-adults in limbo-land, waiting
around for something important to do." Michael became important.
The Kamiakin kids' wave of compassion poured out across Seattle. On Friday, May 22nd, a man walked into the bank with a check for ten thousand dollars. One week after Dameon's gift, Michael's fund grew to $16,000. By late May, area TV stations picked up the story. The response from the news stories was overwhelming. By May 29th, Michael's fund grew to $62,000. The Leelands were boosted with hope when the hospital moved Michael's transplant back by two
On Friday, June 5th, the fund had grown to $143,000. Monday, June 8th: $160,000. Tuesday, June 9th: $185,000. When a TV news broadcast pronounced victory for Michael, the Kamiakin Junior High kids went crazy with happiness. Only four weeks after Dameon's gift of $60, the Michael Leeland Fund totaled over $220,000.
Michael got the marrow transplant. He lived. Dameon, the boy who gave sacrificially so another could live, accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior after becoming close with Michael's family. Having struggled for years with physical problems of his own, Dameon died from complications after he got an infection in one of his legs.
Michael Leeland lives on to tell Dameon's story. Dameon, the unlikely hero, gave his all to save the life of another. And in the process, he received life everlasting .
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
- Matthew 7:12 (King James Version)
Dear Lord, we pray that we will be willing to do for others in a loving and unselfish way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen