A Toddler Serves as Inspiration to us All
During the course of our lives, each of us will face personal hardships. Sometimes the trauma is fleeting and we overcome it. Other times its sustainability can overcome us.
Such adversity knows no age, it knows no color. It doesn’t discriminate.
In 2015, John Harbaugh and the Ravens encountered about as much adversity as an NFL team could possibly expect. And although the losses mounted, the team was galvanized by their collective struggles and consequently, they will be better equipped to take on the season ahead.
That says something about the team – about their grit, mettle and fortitude.
How we deal with adversity, not success, is what defines us. In its own sinister way adversity provides an opportunity for growth in character, the potential to boost our innate moral qualities and unleash our spiritual potential – assuming we accept its challenges.
On Monday I visited with a family that faces a challenge that I can’t even begin to understand or grasp, much less find the strength to overcome.
Lauren and Mike Miceli are trying to cope with the loss of their precious Logan, an incredibly inspirational young boy who has battled HLHS, a congenital heart condition which requires three open heart surgeries. Logan had successfully completed two of the procedures and was scheduled for the third in the Spring of 2017.
This is the same highly publicized heart issue afflicting the son of Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen.
These families go through a great deal to bring about a normal and happy life for their children, but there is a path for success, albeit challenging. Constant monitoring, blood tests and treatment plan adjustments are a way of life.
Even eating unfortunately, was not a “natural” thing as Logan received most of his nourishment via a feeding tube, administered every three hours around the clock. Although he was making progress eating more by mouth, he never really had the consistent pleasure of a great tasting meal.
Yet guided by an uncommon strength, especially for a toddler, Logan Miceli embraced the fight with a smile.
And he won!
With equally uncommon parental devotion, together, the Miceli’s were well on their way to a great outcome for Logan’s HLHS. In fact, he was thriving! A near-normal life that they all hoped and prayed for, for so long, was finally theirs.
Imagine the thrill of victory for this young family.
But the celebration of this new lease on life was fleeting, snatched away by another more daunting force than the heart defects. Just as Lauren and Mike prepared to enroll Logan in Pre-K3, they learned that their precious son, after 2 1/2 years of steady progress and normal childhood development, was diagnosed with a deadly form of AML Leukemia usually afflicting older adults.
Johns Hopkins Hospital had never seen a case like Logan’s and research specialists are still searching for one anywhere in the world that includes these two uniquely different afflictions in a single person.
The victory that was seemingly theirs, escaped the Miceli’s. The best of modern medicine was unable to save Logan and in just a little over a month, he left us on March 2, 2016. Yet his spirit lives on in all who witnessed his battles.
Words of comfort are hard to find when a loss like this rocks your faith to the core. We’re left seeking fairness while trying to understand why God would take such a precious soul. Such losses have no explanation, no logic. Faith, the belief in something for which there is no proof, is challenging enough.
Why would a loving God allow this boy and this family to suffer so?
But faith has never been about logic. It never will be.
On Monday night we had the opportunity to speak with Lauren and express our heartfelt condolences. We hoped to comfort her, yet it was Lauren who comforted us.
She explained how happy and spirited Logan was. She described a boy who found joy in all walks of life. He laughed when she vacuumed her home and accompanied her with a smile as they walked to their backyard to clean up after their dog.
Every activity, every breath, no matter how mundane, was a reason to smile.
Pictures of the Miceli family were scattered throughout the funeral home for all to see. Each and every one was characterized by peacefulness, joy and unconditional love. It was as if the pictures cast their own light and dulled the sobering presence of the tiny casket.
Lauren was and is strong. Her world grounded in faith.
During a time when you would expect complete devastation from a young mother and bloodshot eyes ravaged by tears after losing her only child, her eyes were beacons of light.
She believes unwaveringly that God brought Logan into the world for a reason and that his loss was purposeful too. It’s up to his survivors to determine what that purpose is.
I never met Logan but I will never forget him. His story, his smile, his selfless parents, taught me something about life’s simple joys.
And through their actions and words they reminded me that such simple joys are all around us. We only need to look for them.
Just open your eyes.
Thank you Logan, for all that you’ve brought to our world.
We’re all better off because you came along.
Rest in peace little friend.
Here’s to your legacy…
While Logan fought through the treatments for his illnesses, The Miceli’s learned of other families who were saddled with living expenses that forced them to make gut wrenching decisions to leave their ailing young children alone in the hospital.
Imagine a scared, confused, innocent child with no family member nearby to console them, and help them to understand the reason for painful procedures. The thought alone is heartbreaking yet it is a reality for many – families left with no choice due to financial obligations and at times obligations to their other children.
To assist such families The Miceli’s founded Logan’s Never Be Alone Foundation, a non-profit foundation, “that aims to provide financial assistance to hospital parents, so that they may comfort their children and be more involved in their everyday medical care.“
The Miceli’s will measure the success by the number of empty chairs beside ailing children. Through their fundraising efforts they hope for “fewer empty chairs next to the hospital beds of fearfully alone children, and more parents able to be present for snuggling and comfort.”
If successful, it is then that they will be on their way to fulfilling Logan Miceli’s legacy.
If you would like to help please CLICK HERE.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
Special thanks to Brian Frederick, Logan’s Grandfather, who contributed to this article.