“How is she recovering from surgery?”

As if it was totally normal to ask. As if the bald head and jagged bright pink scar was just another fact of life, like freckles or a mole.

You stood there in the hot sun with your children and the ice-cold lemonade. Sour lemon tamed with sweet crystals, summer in a cup.

I mentioned rehab and how well the scar was doing, and it was the most natural thing in the world. Like a child with a skinned knee.

No treatments, no cancer diagnosis, no talk of chemo. Just… how she’s doing now.

I didn’t ask how you knew. I don’t know if you had a child who struggled with their own trials. Or maybe a friend’s son or daughter. One who wasn’t “like the rest.” One who was different.

Perhaps not. Perhaps you just somehow knew, without asking. But I loved that you asked. More, I loved that you didn’t ask.

Superhero

“Are bubbles OK?”

Of course bubbles were OK. They weren’t going to hurt her. But you stood there, leaning against the rails. Your family surrounded you with a seemingly happy, healthy little boy delighting in the simple joy of bubbles.

You regarded us with a simple gaze, offering no commentary on what you saw. You noticed her differences, the bald head and hospital-issued wheelchair, the angry scar slashing her scalp. But all this you took in with frank simplicity, without question.

Just another fact of life.

No gawking, no endless stream of questions, no wanting to know what was going on with her. And at the same time, you expressed a simple consideration for her health. As if it was a simple fact of life, you wanted to make sure it was OK. Worried that a small activity, one that reflects the epitome of childhood and carefree happiness, could possibly present harm for a little girl.

She was different, but you saw her heart, the childishness that beats in the heart of every young person. The simple joy in watching free-falling iridescent spheres as they float between heaven and earth. Despite your concern of any risk it might pose, you wanted to include her.

Both of you, strangers on the street. I’d never met you, and I haven’t seen you since. A single passing moment, a fleeting brush of lives, two out of the millions on this earth.

It’s amazing the impact two strangers can have without even knowing it. Your careful consideration, your simple acceptance of reality, your perceptiveness astounds me. I hope you never lose that.

The Mighty is asking its readers the following: Describe the moment a stranger — or someone you don’t know very well — showed you or a loved one incredible love. No gesture is too small! If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please  include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.

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This is a man who managed to maintain his sense of humor, even in the darkest of times.

Aaron Joseph Purmort, 35, died peacefully in his home in Minneapolis on November 25, after battling brain cancer since 2011, according to his wife’s blog.

In his final days, Purmort found a creative way to leave his friends and family — as well as countless strangers — with a smile after he was gone. With his wife, Nora, he wrote a lighthearted and funny obituary for himself. In it, he reveals he’s Spider-Man, calls for his son to avenge his death, and claims he was previously married to singer Gwen Stefani.

Courtesy of Instagram user "noraborealis"
Courtesy of Instagram user “noraborealis”
Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 10.59.36 AM
Courtesy of Instagram user “noraborealis”

Below is the obituary, originally published in The Star Tribune:

Purmort, Aaron Joseph age 35, died peacefully at home on November 25 after complications from a radioactive spider bite that led to years of crime-fighting and a years long battle with a nefarious criminal named Cancer, who has plagued our society for far too long. Civilians will recognize him best as Spider-Man, and thank him for his many years of service protecting our city. His family knew him only as a kind and mild-mannered Art Director, a designer of websites and t-shirts, and concert posters who always had the right cardigan and the right thing to say (even if it was wildly inappropriate). Aaron was known for his long, entertaining stories, which he loved to repeat often. In high school, he was in the band The Asparagus Children, which reached critical acclaim in the northern suburbs. As an adult, he graduated from the College of Visual Arts (which also died an untimely death recently) and worked in several agencies around Minneapolis, settling in as an Interactive Associate Creative Director at Colle + McVoy. Aaron was a comic book aficionado, a pop-culture encyclopedia and always the most fun person at any party. He is survived by his parents Bill and Kim Kuhlmeyer, father Mark Purmort (Patricia, Autumn, Aly), sisters Erika and Nicole, first wife Gwen Stefani, current wife Nora and their son Ralph, who will grow up to avenge his father’s untimely death. A service will be held on December 3, 2014 at Shelter Studios, 721 Harding St. NE, Mpls 55413 at 6 pm.

I’ve never laughed and cried more in one sitting,” Nora Purmont said in her blog, about writing the obituary with her late husband. “But I’m so glad we got to do this. I love this man so damn much.”

Instagram user noraborealis
Courtesy of Instagram user “noraborealis”

In this dark time, Nora Purmort has evidently also been able to maintain her sense of humor. She recently tweeted some funny remarks about her husband’s claim to have been married to Gwen Stefani.

A YouCaring page has been set up for the family; visit here to donate. Check out Nora Purmont’s blog, My Husband’s Tumor, for updates on the family.

h/t Reddit Uplifting News

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Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman with terminal brain cancer, ended her life Saturday evening, PEOPLE reported. She died at her home in Portland, Oregon. Faced with a terminal brain cancer diagnosis and six months to live, Maynard chose to move from San Francisco to Oregon, where the Death with Dignity Act gave her the right to “voluntarily request and receive a prescription medication to hasten [her] death.” Before her death, she left a final message to her family, friends and the people following her story.

On her website, “The Brittany Fund,” an obituary was posted, quoting Maynard:

It is people who pause to appreciate life and give thanks who are happiest. If we change our thoughts, we change our world! Love and peace to you all.

Earlier in the week, Maynard stated that she might not end her life on Nov. 1, as planned.

“I don’t want to die. But I am dying. Death with dignity is the phrase I’m comfortable using,” she told NBC News on the decision. “I am choosing to go in a way that is with less suffering and less pain.”

You can watch Maynard’s video explaining her final decision below.

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Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman with terminal brain cancer, ended her life Saturday evening, PEOPLE reported. She died at her home in Portland, Ore.

Faced with a terminal brain cancer diagnosis and six months to live, Maynard chose to move from San Francisco to Oregon, where the Death with Dignity Act gave her the right to “voluntarily request and receive a prescription medication to hasten [her] death.

According to PEOPLE, Maynard updated her Facebook page before she passed:

“Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more. The world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers. I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type…Goodbye world. Spread good energy. Pay it forward!”

Just days ago, she said she was not quite ready to die.

In a recent interview with NBC News, Maynard said, “I don’t want to die. But I am dying. Death with dignity is the phrase I’m comfortable using. I am choosing to go in a way that is with less suffering and less pain.”

You can watch Maynard’s video explaining her decision below.


Update: Brittany Maynard ended her life on Saturday, Nov. 1.

Three weeks ago, a 29-year-old woman named Brittany Maynard declared in an emotional video that she would end her own life on Saturday, Nov. 1. Faced with a terminal brain cancer diagnosis and six months to live, Maynard chose to move from San Francisco to Oregon, where the Death with Dignity Act gives her the right to “voluntarily request and receive a prescription medication to hasten [her] death.

“I don’t want to die. But I am dying. Death with dignity is the phrase I’m comfortable using,”Maynard told NBC News. I am choosing to go in a way that is with less suffering and less pain.”

On Wednesday, Maynard released the video below stating that she would not be ending her life this Saturday.

“I still feel good enough, and I still have enough joy, and I still laugh and smile with my family and friends enough that it doesn’t seem like the right time right now,” she says in the clip below.

Hear her whole message:

h/t Mashable


Liang Yaoyi was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was 9 years old. Two years later, the young man from Shenzhen, China, passed away — but not before telling his mother, Li Qun, something important.

There are many people doing great things in the world,” he said, according to China Daily. “They are great, and I want to be a great kid too.”

He went on to say that he’d like to be an organ donor — to help others and to be “alive in another way,” CCTV News reported. With his family’s permission, doctors at Zhongshan Hospital fulfilled the 11-year-old’s wish after his death on June 6. A powerful photograph of the doctors bowing to Liang then hit the Internet.

Liang’s kidney and liver were transplanted to new patients shortly after, according to China Daily.

If you’re interested in becoming an organ donor in the U.S., head here.

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The Mighty, in partnership with Fuck Cancer, is asking the following: Write a letter to yourself in regards to a cancer diagnosis. What would you say or wish someone had told you? Find out how to email us a story submission here.

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