“I was changed because of Ezra.”

We received this email the other day, and were moved to tears (good ones!) by it. Thanks, Meshelle, for letting Ezra’s story be a part of yours. It means so much.


“Honestly, I can’t remember how I heard about Ezra’s story, but I can tell you exactly where I was… that is forever engraved into my consciousness. I was at home and about five weeks into my maternity leave after delivering my second child. There was a rare moment of silence where both, our oldest 18 month old and our newest member, were both napping away. I remember opening the website and seeing a blog simply titled ‘Relapse.’ It was August 30, 2010. I often describe that day as the day that Pandora’s box was opened, learning things that I could never forget and finding a depth of sadness that I didn’t know existed. It was the day where I was overcome by a tornado of opposing feelings, one side knew the extreme peace and happiness that comes with bringing a new child into this world, and the other side was overcome with sadness and anger that there was something dangerous that was silently stealing children from their families. I have two children, how did I not know about the world of childhood cancer? I spent all day catching up on Ezra’s story. I allowed your words to pierce the perfect little bubble that I lived in, and I allowed myself to feel sadness for you… soon enough that sadness turned into anger and outrage. It just didn’t make sense to me how so many kids were affected by cancer and how so few people seemed to know about it.

By the time the November 8th blog post ‘Ezra David Matthews‘ was uploaded I had already returned to work. I sat at my desk and cried for you, for the loss of Ezra, and for the fact that the light of the world was diminished a bit more. My first thoughts were more of a series of questions, each one of them beginning with why; why them? (I didn’t know you at all but you all came across as the most loving people on the planet… and it wasn’t like you hadn’t been through enough.), why Ezra?, why not one of my kids? That last question stopped me cold as the stark realization that it could be one of my children washed over me. There is no rhyme or reason to this. It was not enough for me to be angry, to say this sucks and move on with my life… I had to do something. I had a degree already, but it was in Philosophy, and I’m pretty sure that a cure for neuroblastoma couldn’t be found in Aristotle… so I went back to school. I took an extremely rigorous course load that well prepared me to take the MCAT, which I did and now I’m working on changing the world. Medical School isn’t easy, but I can guarantee it’s a cakewalk compared to fighting cancer. My course of study has led me down the clinical research path.

‘Please, be changed because of this. Recognize the flawed world we live in, and work to help the ones you can. Really work. Recognize the hurt in the world, and recognize the grace that gives us a chance to still be beautiful.’

I was changed because of Ezra. It’s hard not to be changed by something of this magnitude. I get up and go to school because I can. My kids are happy and healthy and my husband is extremely supportive. I am alive, and because of that, because of Ezra, I will work my hardest to make a change in the world of pediatric cancer.

Meshelle Givens

P.S. The picture I sent is of me and my youngest Laila… she was the one I was on maternity leave with when I first read your story.”

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