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REMEMBERING RYAN Appreciating the Meaning of Leap Day
s we approached leap day, I was excited about the thought of an extra February day, only to discover that I am scheduled to work that day. I thought it would be
a waste of the extra day, but then I thought about my finances. I realized that an extra February day gives me a whole day to make more money.
It made me realize that regardless of what we do, it is still amazing to have an extra day in February.
Leap day often reminds me of the kids with cancer I worked with while I was a nurse in pediatric oncology. Many of them are fighting a battle and facing death during such a young age, but it was impossible not to love these kids. They are some of the most courageous patients to work with, and I always enjoyed my time with them. One of the most memorable young cancer patients I cared for was Ryan, who was a teenager when he came in for his third broken arm. Ryan was battling osteosarcoma, a very rare cancer that weakens the bones and often affects male patients under age 25. I had a connection with Ryan almost instantly. I’m not sure if it was because I was pretty young with kids of my own or because we shared a strong faith, but I was drawn to him. He was one of the most positive and friendly patients I have ever met. He was saddened by his diagnosis, of course, but he had a mature viewpoint for someone his age. After years of bravely battling osteosarcoma, Ryan passed. From my perspective as his nurse, he made his death much easier for his parents and those he loved because of the positivity he had. As a Christian, Ryan believed his death would lead him to heaven, and we could tell there was peace in his family’s grief because of his maturity and mindset. His memorial service was a celebration of the kid who never let cancer break his faith, even as it was breaking his bones.
Spending time and celebrating with people I care about
I can’t help but think that Ryan would find a way to do something great with leap day, and I suppose that’s why this month reminds me of him. Even if you’re just working, I hope you can take advantage of this extra day. Use it as an opportunity to spend time with a loved one, work hard at your job, volunteer for an organization you care about, or do something productive. "I had a connection with Ryan almost instantly. I’m not sure if it was because I was pretty young with kids of my own or because we shared a strong faith, but I was drawn to him."
Whatever you do, I hope you see it as an advantage — even if you’re just working like me!
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