The Hearts of Children Give Hope to Friends With Disabilities

How one kid with a ball, and a class with a dream, give a columnist a boost

Cazandra Campos-MacDonald avatar

by Cazandra Campos-MacDonald |

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One of my favorite programs is CBS “Sunday Morning,” which my husband and I record and watch on Sunday afternoons. One of its recent stories brought me to tears.

At Glen Lake Elementary in Hopkins, Minnesota, several students have physical disabilities. The children in Betsy Julien’s fifth grade class were bothered that their playground lacked adaptive equipment, so they began a campaign to raise money for equipment that all students could enjoy at recess.

The students began collecting spare change, went door to door for donations, and even called local businesses for donations. They needed to raise $300,000. Not only did the students raise the amount required, but they also changed their goal to raise an additional $400,000 to buy equipment for other schools in the district.

Tears streamed down my face as I watched this segment. I flashed back to my son Caeleb’s second grade year, which was filled with missed weeks of school and hospitalizations because of his hemophilia. Using a wheelchair was the only way he could get from place to place.

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One day I ate lunch with him at school. At the cafeteria table, I sat with Caeleb and his friends and heard great conversations about the kind of peanut butter in their sandwiches, video games, and recess. The students were excited about recess, which happened after lunch.

I took Caeleb out to the playground before the students were dismissed. As I wheeled him down the concrete path, the bell rang to signal the beginning of recess. I thought the bulls in Pamplona were running. With shrieks of excitement, students began racing to the playground. They couldn’t get there fast enough.

After the last child passed Caeleb and me, my heart broke. My son should be running with them.

I took Caeleb to the center of the playground, where we sat and talked. Then, before I knew it, one of his friends brought a ball to play with him. This sweet friend stood before Caeleb, tossing the ball back and forth, all while laughing. Then a few other kids came to join them.

Slowly, my broken heart began to come together piece by piece. I saw what my son couldn’t do, but his friends, these precious 7- and 8-year-old children, saw Caeleb as an equal.

All these years later, I remember that blustery day on the playground. It was the day my heart changed, and I started to see what my son could do despite hemophilia complications. Caeleb’s friends gave me hope. The children in Ms. Julien’s class did the same for their friends.

There is so much good in the world.  Sometimes, it takes children to show the world that loving others is most important.

Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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