The C WORD

Keep Calm And Fight Cancer
Cancer.
Even the word itself is ugly. Scary. Frightening.
It’s a conversation stopper unlike any other. An attention grabber that no one ever wants to pay heed. A fun sponge, if you will, of the highest order.

Cancer is a sad and terrible reality for far too many people in this world. A destructive presence that invades its victims lives on every level, and shakes them to the core of their being, both those afflicted and those who love them. Cancer does not discriminate. It does not care if you’re white or black, old or young, gay or straight, rich or poor. It can cost you your job, take your life savings, steal your identity, and come back wanting and demanding even more. It is far-reaching and all encompassing and cuts across all socio-demographic groups, regardless of age, race, culture, or status, and despite many discoveries and scientific advancements, it remains one of the leading causes of death on this planet.

The term “cancer” can be defined as any kind of abnormal cell proliferation over which the body fails to have control. This has come to include over 200 different diseases with some basic similarities – cancerous cells all grow, invade, and destroy surrounding normal healthy tissue –but which have a variety of causes, symptoms, and appearances, each requiring its own unique and distinct course of treatment, meaning we must treat nearly every form of cancer differently and carefully.

Cancer is tough to treat because of what it isn’t. There is no virus or bacterium that directly causes it. You can’t “catch it” from another person or from an unclean surface or from the air. Environmental factors may play a role, but they are not the only cause. Cancer is a disease of the genes. It happens when our own bodies turn on us, when a genetic malfunction allows cells to proliferate wildly, uncontrollably, and unstoppably.

Normally, our bodies are nicely equipped to keep our cells humming along. It’s a delicate balance, though; and unfortunately, if growth-promoting cells become overly enthusiastic about their job or if growth-suppressing cells fail to do theirs –the result is the same: cancer.

I’ve seen what the horrors of cancer can do far too many times already in my life. My first encounter was back when I was a hard working but equally hard partying twenty something year old, who, despite my Scottish Gaelic roots, was an avid sun lover. Late one night, a very perceptive coworker of mine noticed a mole on my face that just didn’t look right. At her urging, and a quick trip to my doctor later, I found these three scary words dropped upon me: basal cell carcinoma, which translated to “you have skin cancer.” After a fast consult with a cancer doc and a plastic surgeon, the nasty little mole was simply cut out of my face, and because it was caught so early, no other treatment was required…other than a watchful eye for the next mole-ish invader. Still, EVERY time I look in the mirror I see the small scar and indentation just at the shave line on my right cheek, an ugly reminder of what might have been. (It’s the real reason I hate to shave, uncovering that ugly reminder every time) That cancer scare was eventually a catalyst for a great deal of change for me personally – and resulted in me quitting my job, moving to a different city, and starting a new life…. because really, we only get one of them, and so I think we owe it to ourselves to live the best one we possibly can.

I wish that close call had been my only experience. But no….instead, cancer seemed to enter my life and the lives of the people I love time and time again, always unexpected and always unwelcome. Friends that lost parents when those friends were only children still, or friends who struggled through the absolute horrors of breast cancer. Relatives who have fallen again and again to various forms of the disease, while others who have had close calls or scares and stay ever vigilant, almost expectant, of its first signs. But by and large, the worst fate seemed left for my father, a very kind, gentle, and good-humored man who lived his life helping others and in return was left with what I can only describe as the most cruelest, meanest, and most vicious of deaths imaginable. My father was a fireman who loved all sports, a broad-shouldered guy who usually ran about 180 lbs. during his heyday but in his last months of life was lucky to weight 100 pounds soaking wet. One of my last memories of him was helping to lift him in and out of bed to help with toileting, while trying best to preserve his dignity, joking about how he used to do it for me when I was little so I was just returning the favor…then to find myself crying later in the shower, a daily ritual then, so that no one would see how horribly upset I was by his ravaged appearance. And then only to become bitterly angry with myself for being so upset and afraid when he who was suffering was being so absolutely, incredibly brave.

And now cancer’s latest victim is my baby sister Raylene. Although I won’t call Raylene a victim, because that’s a word that’s not in her vocabulary. Raylene was diagnosed a month or so ago with colorectal cancer, the same disease our father fought for almost ten years before he lost his battle. She’s a strong person, a fighter through and through. One of the best people I’ve had the privilege to know, Ray is not only my baby sister but also one of my best friends. And because she’s still so young, because she caught this so early, because of her fighting spirit, and because of the positive light that simply shines through her and illuminates everything and everyone around her, it is my belief she WILL beat this thing. Not only that, but probably kick its ass, take it to school, and show it a thing or two before it’s all said and done.

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I hope we one day soon find a cure. But until that happens, I believe we owe it to ourselves and to those that came before to do what we can to arm ourselves in the battle. Let’s remember to support those on the front line fighting the war, whether it be researchers desperately searching for that next break through, or those who are suffering, as they bravely put one foot in front of the other day after day moving towards what has now become their new normal. Together, let’s join these proud, brave people in this courageous fight for life.

Cancer’s kind of like that. Despite it’s many evils, or perhaps because of it, it makes you stronger than you ever thought possible. It makes you carry a burden you never thought you’d bear. It makes you rise to a challenge you didn’t think you’d ever overcome. It makes you be THAT person you never thought you could be. It makes you a victim, but it also makes you a fighter, a warrior, a survivor.

Thanks to the World Health organization website for some facts and figure, and my sister and our dad for the inspiration.

If you’re reading this and you’re going to be in Cape Breton on Sunday, May 19th, please drop by Centre 200 for a fundraiser and silent auction for my sister Raylene (Morrison) MacDonald to see some incredible talent and good ol’ Cape Breton community spirit at it’s finest! For more information, for tickets, to contribute, or if you just want to pass on good wishes, please contact Donna Morrison, my older sister extraordinaire, quite the scrapper herself, who’s assisting with organizing the event at donnadarlenemorrison@gmail.com or feel free to contact me directly at reallydeepstuff@gmail.com
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Spare Change

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I was running  down Spring Garden Road a few months ago, distracted by many things left unfinished at work that particular day while rushing to be somewhere and already twenty minutes late, when I nearly  stumbled over a young guy sitting in front of a vacant store front.   Smiling up at me from under a ton of scruff and a crazy purple and yellow rasta hat, he shook a tin can in my direction, and with a wink and a smile said  “spare change for poor life decisions?”   On his lap was a cardboard cut out sign, and carefully lettered on this sign, in bright red flowing cursive writing, were those very life choices he deemed so poor, including  “stay in school!” and “be kind to your mama – she’s the only one you got” to “whatever you do – don’t forget the condoms” and “I shouldn’t have eaten that!”

“Now THAT is genius” I laughed, tossing him what change I had.

“Thanks!” he called after, “Good luck with your life choices!”

I hadn’t really thought of this rather poetic young stranger for a while now, until I was recently faced with some major personal change  and all those pesky life choices that go along with it.  Looking back on my life, I guess as far as these things go, I’ve steered clear of poor choices while making some rather good ones instead.  (Well, it is true I had an unfortunate Corey Hart phase once upon a time.  And you know that old mantra “beer before liquor makes you sicker”?  Yeah, I always ignore that one).   But  for one thing, I’ve chosen a truly wonderful partner as a witness to my life,  someone who is just a genuinely GOOD person, beautiful both inside and out…and I guess I’ve been lucky that he’s chosen me.  I have wonderful family and friends that I don’t appreciate nearly enough, but i know they’re always just an arms reach away, literally and figuratively.  I’ve built an interesting and varied career that’s been rewarding in many ways, and learned from some truly greats in my field.  I’m WRITING more these days, something that  can (so corny but so true)  fill my soul and makes my heart sing, and my latest accomplishment in that area has been the publication of a couple of short stories in a literary magazine called the Rusty Nail (you can even find me on Amazon!)

And, let’s face it, I am co-parent to just about the CUTEST damn cat in the world!  I mean, seriously, look at this little dude…

Mungo

But into every bright sky comes a little rain.  And for me, that’s in the form of changes in my workplace that could potentially result in much less job satisfaction.  Or in other words, my “career” now becomes “just another job.”   Now when faced with those circumstances, the way I see it I have three choices: 1) I can get MAD about it and decide to pack up my toys and go play in another sandbox (easier said than done in this job market, but maybe I could have my old job at McDonald’s back?!?)  2) I could just GO ALONG WITH IT and ride the wave of change, just sit quietly and wait to see where it takes me (seems a bit too complacent for a rebel such as myself though, don’t you think?) Or I can 3) EMBRACE the change and figure out a way to somehow grow, learn, and discover new opportunities from it (well, aside from the huggy part, that just seems much more fitting!)

And so, embrace it I shall!   Turns out, for me, this catalyst for change has led to a return to higher education.  Following in the footsteps of a friend who faced a much more serious crossroads when her job ended, I am now in hot pursuit of  a Bachelor’s of Social Work Degree through the University of Manitoba (hopefully with a Master’s soon to follow). And I get to do this part time, online, through distance education, with lots of people from many diverse backgrounds across the country, just like me…making a change.  Yes kids, I finally know what I want to be when I grow up: a Social Worker.  Returning to school at my age can seem like a bit of a daunting task (let’s just say I was around the FIRST time plaid shirts were “cool” and we can leave it at that), but in truth it feeds my competitive nature to work hard, study, and get good grades, provides me with all kinds of killer student discounts on stuff, and allows me to plan wild and crazy frosh week activities all over again!   As for becoming a real life social worker type, truth be told it is not necessarily what I would’ve imagined for myself (growing up I pictured Pulitzer prize-winning author, or Daytime Emmy winning soap opera star, or international man of mystery), but after thinking it through, it seems a pretty logical fit.   Consider this: the study of social work comes with a strong sense of social justice and social duty, of righting the wrongs of the world, becoming a champion for the underdog, and just standing up to THE MAN.  Come to think of it…I like all those things!  Now combine that with a spunky attitude, a somehow flattering set of tights and cape and a scrappy sidekick  named Mungo the Cat and what do you get?  A SUPERHERO! I can become the world’s first Superhero Social Worker! (Quick, I better trademark that!)

Moral of the story – you can never tell where a little unforseen change is going to take you.  So I say take CHANGE and embrace that sucker for all it’s worth.  Push and pull it to and fro… shake it upside down…hell, spank it if you want to (well, maybe don’t go that crazy!)  But just remember to consider all the options before you, and mark out the one true path that works best for you.  Because you always have options.  And when you realize that, well the possibilities…the possibilities seem positively endless.  Trust me on this one.

Now, about that costume…. 🙂

Dear Jodie

Jodie-FosterI love Jodie Foster.

Some people quote the Bible, or lines from their favourite books, or lyrics from a song. I quote Silence of the Lambs. I mean, just the sight of sunblock has me screaming “it rubs the lotion on its skin and puts it in the basket!” I’ve followed Jodie’s career most of my life, and along with cheering all her amazing accomplishments, in roles like my beloved Silence, Taxi Driver, The Hotel New Hampshire, and the Accused to name a few, I’ve forgiven her for the seemingly unforgiveable, like continuing to hire Mel Gibson when no one else would touch his racist, homophobic, misogynistic ass, and for Panic Room, a movie I actually liked but one that will forever be marred for inflicting the wooden depths of Kristen Stewart’s “acting chops” upon an unsuspecting world. So as I watched her rather mesmerizing speech at the Golden Globe awards, I wondered was THIS something for which I could proudly cheer her on, or scream in horror “oh no, she’s pulled a MEL… again!”

Seems the answer’s actually both

See, as much as I love Jodie, I love lesbians. Over the years, lesbians have been some of my bestest friends. Those gals can drink like truck drivers, make great wingmen at bars, and are wicked spotters at the gym. And truth be told, I’ve been accused more than once of having some pretty strong lesbian sensibilities myself, with my love of short hair and hoodies, cargo shorts and aviators, beer samplers and junior hockey, Wonder Woman Barbies and She-Ra, Princess of Power, and the musical stylings of Alanis and la Goddess Tori Amos…. but come on, DAMN, you have to admit, those sapphic sisters know where it’s AT.

Just this past year, we’ve had a rush of casual gay MALE coming out stories in Hollywood (I’m looking at YOU Zachary Quinto!). Celebs like Zachary or Big Bang’s Jim Parsons will now suddenly drop a line or two seven paragraphs into a small magazine story (something about their organic vegetable shopping spree at the local market with their male partner of a zillion years, then shrug it off and talk about their next indie role). Now with all due respect to Ellen and Portia, the way I see it, it’s the ladies turn. And after a near miss a few months back (I’m looking at YOU Queen Latifah!) I held my breath, thinking Jodie was going to do IT. You know, become this year’s Anderson. Sort of.

And then she did. Sort of.

Yes, in a six and a half minute rambling yet elegant, “am I missing the inside joke here?” to “she really gets me!” kind of speech, Jodie gave up one of the worst kept secrets in Hollywood and “came out”, noting she’d first done so back in the stone age to “trusted friend and family….then gradually to everyone who knew her, everyone she actually MET.” Now to me, that sentence alone says a lot about our society and its’ celebrity obsession, and our need to know the most intimate and secret details of the Hollywood crowd we so admire. Our Jodie is NOT Honey Boo Boo as she noted….her life and the life of her family is not some goofy reality show for our daily amusement and consumption. So bugger off, she’s saying, let me live out my fifty but still smokin’ and currently single life in peace.

Now some people are of the mindset that, as a celebrity, one gives up the right to a private life….that everything you do, everyONE you do, should be public knowledge. Not so I say. I work with kids with behavioural issues and with their parents on developing strategies to deal with said behavioural issues. Most days I love my job, and if I must say so myself, I’m really good at it. But that doesn’t mean that, when at Costco let’s say, I should drop my jar of pickles the size of my head and rush over to intervene when some little seven-year old darling baby boy is screaming he wants the new rated M for mature Call of Duty game while his mama is screaming “STOP THAT OR WE’RE LEAVING RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!” even though I know 1) she has no intention of leaving ’til she gets that latest Fifty Shades knock off and 2) junior will smugly get whatever he wants just to SHUT HIM UP! And sure enough, fifteen minutes later baby boy is clutching his killer game while machine gunning the massive hot dog lineup mama has dropped everything for and is now waiting in, just to get him a jumbo sausage with extra ketchup. No, as much as I sometimes want to, I won’t step in. I gave at the office, so to speak, and so, in my twisted logic kind of way, has Jodie.

I want to celebrate Jodie’s speech. I want to say “Hey,my sistahs! Finally you can give Ellen a break and get a new poster girl! For realz this time!” But there’s something about the vagueness of her message that doesn’t sit well with me. Because being vague implies that maybe there’s something there that should remain hidden, something that is still shameful to just admit. By flirting with the rumours, then addressing them in such a roundabout way, doesn’t make Jodie the role model I want her to be. But only part of me feels that way. Because listening to Jodie’s message, really LISTENING, I realize her words just make her seem more human, more real to me. And it makes me think of my own experiences and those of friends and how, as gay people, we’re almost constantly “coming out” to people. We constantly feel this pressure to take the spotlight and make this great proclamation about our lives. A need to explain away the important people in our lives, to defend who and what we are. To define our own “modern families”. Scarlett Johanson isn’t pressured to grab a mic and shout “I am a man-eating HOE and you are my next victim!” Ryan Gosling isn’t forced to say “watch out! I WILL sleep with your woman cuz I’m a big ol’ hetero STUD!” So in that respect why must Jodie shout from the mountaintops that she not so secretly wants to do Megan Fox? It’s because we insist upon it. We save those precious moments of full public disclosure for the queers among us. And so, on that note, BRAVO to Jodie for taking her own road. I’ll respect her coming out story. Because it’s her story, and all stories are different. And I won’t treat her life as a reality show, because unlike Honey Boo Boo, that’s not how Jodie rolls.

To be honest though, I can’t promise I won’t obsess over Jodie’s love life, especially if she soon bags a hot celebrity girlfriend. Because, after last night, one thing Jodie truly confirmed….she is one fine smokin’ hot single lesbian. And an “on the market” available one at that.

The Light

October is National Anti Bullying Month, a cause that’s near and dear to my heart. I work in child and adolescent mental health, and over the years, I’ve come to know well those that would qualify as bullies, and those that would suffer as their victims, My team and I work hard to, in a sense, “rehabilitate” the bully, source out that negativity, reinforce positive behaviour with positive attention, uncover the deeper reasons that invoke these behaviours, and instead promote and encourage better, more positive peer relationships. With the children who are bullied, we work to build resiliency and better self esteem, to help them find a voice, seek support when in despair, and perhaps most importantly to do whatever they can to hang on to that thing that makes them most special, worthy, important….that light that we all have inside. Most times we’re successful, sometimes we’re not, but we’re THERE, we’re present, we’re listening, and we’re eager to lend a hand, to guide a way. I’ve come to find that people think they know the answers to bullying, that we believe we can sum things up in few short lines – poor parenting, teachers that don’t care, an entertainment industry glorifying sex and violence, kids that are just born mean. It’s easy to blame the wondrous technological advances of this era, and look to social media as the villain, with the magnitude of unfiltered garbage free to flow into our living rooms, onto our laptops, via our mobile phones. As a society, we don’t “talk” anymore. We text, we tweet, we post funny or revealing Facebook updates. One quick sound bite, 140 characters or less. And in that short time span, we go for impact, we try to be provocative, we try to get the best laugh or the biggest shock value. We don’t make those simple human connections we once did. And through this social media we can be anonymous, we can be outspoken, though provoking, even inflaming. But what we don’t recognize, what we fail to realize, is the damage those “words” can do, and, as adults, the lessons our actions can teach, the impressions we can leave behind to those who look up to us the most.

Aside from my passion for my work, this epidemic of bullying has touched me on an even deeper, more personal level. I have a 7 year old nephew and a 17 year old niece who have faced struggles with issues like these often in their daily lives. My nephew is a shockingly bright, incredibly well spoken, handsome little guy, small for his age but with a personality bigger than life. An only child, unlike his uncle he didn’t grow up with four siblings and one Monopoly game and have to figure out how to share and play together NICELY, DAMN IT, and so school is where he learns, like most kids, how to maneuver his way through those minefields of childhood relationships. And so this perfect little child, so charming with adults, has he’s always struggled fitting in with kids his age, so rule bound and precocious as he can be. This struggle, almost comical at first in his description of it when some other child just wasn’t LISTENING, turned frighteningly real last year, when he started coming home with cuts and bruises and torn clothes due to tussles on the playground –well, not so much tussles as his running away in fear for his safety, being caught, pummelled, and having no one around close by to help or intervene.

My beautiful niece’s struggles have been different, yet no less severe. She has always been a very warm and loving little girl, who easily wins over friends with her engaging personality. A strikingly sensitive soul, she empathizes easily with others, so much so she’ll often take on their problems and champion them as though they were her own, not recognizing the toll at times that might take upon her. Like lots of young people her age, she’s gone through those awkward early adolescent and teenage years questioning the confusing world around her, and one particularly important question she’s faced is in regards to her own sexual identity. She’s still just figuring it out, and like so many others will likely continue to do so for many years to come, but gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual, trans….to her, the label doesn’t matter, she just hopes to find someone to share common ground with and then later to fall in love. To find someone who truly and genuinely loves her, regardless of their age, their race, their shape or size, or their gender. A rather enlightened and self assured attitude for a teenage girl, it’s not one necessarily shared by other people her age, and so, as a result, she’s encountered some gossip, innuendo, teasing, and cruelty. And because of her belief system, she’s been forced to hold her head high and carry on during some rather trying, difficult and downright painful times.

My nephew and niece are already heroes in their own fight, and don’t even realize it. My nephew would cry himself to sleep at times, so fearful of these school yard bullies, but then shake it off in the morning and be first on his school bus, excited to face the challenges and rewards of a new school day. With concern for his well being, his parents (my sister and brother in law) brought him to his pediatrician, who, after hearing their concerns and some description from my nephew, had this strong message for them– “don’t’ you DARE let these bullies stomp that bright light out from inside this child. Go to the school, fight for more supervision, transfer districts if you have to…but do NOT let them take away his light”. As for my niece, with her mother and step-father’s support, she was able to make a very grown up decision to cut some negative peer influences out of her life and find some truer friends, and from there slowly make her way out from underneath some darkness that had surrounded her. My nephew and niece are lucky. They have mothers and fathers that love them and have instilled in them so many of their own good qualities, qualities passed down by our parents, that I’m confident they’ll find their path. My sisters will protect their babies like all good mama lions would, but I know aside from that fierce protective nature they’ve already given them the strength of character and the strong sense of family that they will need to see them through whatever difficult or trying days they might face ahead. But one thing that these two, and in fact my other niece and nephewall share in common, the one thing that makes them all so very precious, is how sensitive they are to their surroundings, how deeply – how BIG – they feel things in this world. But instead of being celebrated, this sensitive nature will likely something they’ll need to learn – to be expected -to somehow overcome.

 

I read in horror and dismay the fate of Amanda Todd, a 15 year old girl from British Columbia who committed suicide days ago after years of struggling with cyber bullying. Years earlier Amanda had made a seemingly harmless but devastating mistake. She flashed a stranger on a webcam, a stranger who took that image and used it in an attempt to exploit her, and when this exploitation proved unsuccessful in gaining what he wanted, he released the image, posting it online and forwarding to Amanda’s friends, her family, her neighbours, and her classmates. And so this embarrassing picture became widely distributed, and this girl who made a simple mistake became the subject of scorn and the victim of terrible abuse, until ultimately In an effort to escape her pain she took her own life. And with that news, my mind flashed to the kids under my care, to my family, to my own experiences. Cyber bulling itself seems its own vicious animal, in that at least with physical bullying there are scars and marks and the visible evidence of the abuse, and with it the chance of police involvement and the possibility of charges laid, of justice done. With cyber bullying the abuse is pervasive and ongoing, and it invades the places we should find safest. Words hurt, and the scars and the marks that come from their use cut just as deep. For kids, the warzone isn’t just the classroom or the school yard or the movie theatre or the shopping mall – it’s their living rooms, their bedrooms, the very sanctuary that should be their homes. And as a society we have become a group of passive bystanders – we see these daily struggles but do little to stop them, but then later rush in to lend our sympathy and support in the wake of such tragedy, gnashing out teeth and pulling our hair and asking how this could possibly happen. I don’t know Amanda’s circumstances – I don’t know what her family life was like, what her school supports might have been, or what access she might have had to mental health professionals. I do know she moved and changed schools a number of times in an effort to escape her tormentors, so that tells me her parents tried to protect and shelter her, and school administration must have advocated for these “new starts” to happen. I know she was treated for anxiety, so her mental health needs, however seriously considered, must have at least been considered or raised. Certainly she must have suffered with severe depression and debilitating anxiety due to her life circumstances, and being so unwell she may not have been able to see the resources that were there, the options that she had. I am sure her family must be devastated by this turn of events, and her teachers and friends’ grief stricken and shaken in the aftermath of this terrible solitary act. But with all that, I also know that this little girl made the most public cry for help there is, posting a video of herself on YouTube, in grainy black and white, silently flipping through flash cards, telling her sad tragic tale, telling us in her own words that “I have no one. I need someone.” Whoever saw it, whoever acted upon it…whatever was offered, it was not enough. We need to stop acting like bullying is some school yard problem or prank, some rite of passage as we move through those difficult adolescent years. Bullying needs to be taken seriously and treated like the criminal act it is, with consequences and repercussions to match the crime. Whoever this man was who distributed the naked picture that was the catalyst for the sad fate of this young girl needs to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for distributing what was, in essence, child pornography. The “friends” who now dare to send their sad condolences on the very Facebook page they used as their platform to torment and, in fact, bully this girl to death need to be held accountable, if not possible by law then by their community, by their families, by their schools, and by themselves. We need to stop being passive bystanders and instead become active participants. Be the eye rolling, incredibly irritating parent you swore you’d never be. Be the over protective big brother, the meddling big sister. Constantly check in with the little people in your lives. Watch for any change in behaviour and act upon it swiftly and accordingly, by probing and questioning, and trust your instincts when something appears wrong. Monitor kids online, restrict their access, patrol the sites they surf, and keep their passwords close and safe. Be vigilant, and when they are in need, don’t rush to judgement, simply listen….and then help them to find some solution, some light at the end of the tunnel, some way out. Don’t treat it as some teenage drama; treat it as the life and death situation it might become, that it IS in that moment to them. And conversely, when you see a child acting out in hatred, know that it likely comes from a dark place, and strive to find inside yourself some compassion. We must strive to understand those misguided ones and help them find the support and guidance they need to find a better way of being. Because there IS a better way of being, and they CAN find that way. Remember everyone has a story, and be sure that your story is an example of how best to treat your fellow man, with kindness, compassion, a sense of moral duty, and a strong guiding hand. Bullying feeds on a person’s weakness and insecurity, and from there it fosters and grows. We must stem the tide. Bullying doesn’t just hurt…it kills.

There is NO more precious resource in this world then our children. Remember those little people in your life are always listening, always learning, always watching. Be the role model they need…be THAT person. Show them the way. This was a sad failure of a community, of a school system, of our mental health profession, and of our society as a whole. We need to do better. We need to do so much more.

Please. Take action today. Don’t let another bright light in this world go out far too soon.