19 December 1998
As I write this letter, one of my dearest friends sits in a hospital in Rhode Island with his family and his youngest daughter. My friendís name is Mark. He and his wife Nancy have 3 wonderful children: Patrick is 10, Kelsey is 5 and Megan will be 3 on 1/13/99. Earlier this year, Megan was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on her liver. Her form of cancer is extremely rare. Megan underwent months of grueling chemotherapy and various other medical treatments, tests and drugs. This required extended periods of hospitalization time for Megan while Mark and Nancy continued to raise their family, maintain their home, and work their jobs. Megan just recently underwent exploratory surgery to ascertain if the tumor could be removed. Unfortunately, the tumor encases one of the primary veins to the liver and it could not be removed.
The next steps are for the family to go to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore where a major portion of Meganís fatherís liver will be removed and transplanted to Megan. The risks are great for both Megan and her father. All major surgery is life-threatening, but in this instance, putting a father and daughter in this situation at the same time is frightening. The surgery and recovery will require that they be in Baltimore for at least 3 months. Although the medical risks are great, the logistics and financial burdens this family is facing are nearly impossible!
I have known Mark and Nancy for many years. They may not be financially wealthy, but they are wealthy in spirit, and they have shared this wealth with everyone they have ever met. Their home has been a haven for all the children in the neighborhood. During my frequent visits there, I would find Mark or Nancy making lunch or dinner for 10 or 12 of the children in the neighborhood. Their backyard is a virtual playground for the neighborhood. They have shared everything they possess with anyone who was willing to stop and experience the true concept of "family." I got to know Mark initially on a professional level, but soon found myself at his house on a weekend discussing business while making grilled cheese sandwiches for the posse of children running around the house, or helping Patrick write a school report on lighthouses, or watching Kelsey and Megan play games on the internet.
I have learned a great deal about "family" from this family. I wish you could meet them, I wish you could meet Megan, Kelsey and Patrick. If you did, you would fall in love with them in an instant, and would probably be making grilled cheese sandwiches for a line of neighborhood children!
A few weeks ago, just before Megan re-entered the hospital for the latest barrage of tests and surgery, Mark was out with friends buying Christmas trees for his home and others in the neighborhood. Although all of their time has been spent in the hospital with Megan, their home as well as others in the neighborhood are decorated with the full warmth of the Christmas season. There is one lone candle burning in the window of their home, waiting for the brief return of Megan for Christmas Day prior to the next long trip to Baltimore. Despite everything which has happened, they have been able to find solace in the true meaning and miracle of Christmas. If only for a day, the entire family will be home,... jingle bells and Santa Claus for the children,.... family and friends gathered around sharing good cheer and joy.
Certain things are for us to do, while other things only God can do. I know that only God has the final decision on the outcome on the lives of Megan and her father. But we can do something now to make sure that this family remains together through the months of long-distance medical treatments, surgery, etc. From what I understand, all or part of the family will have to spend almost 3 months away from home to undergo the surgery and recovery process. Just imagine a father, mother and daughter being separated from their other son and daughter for an extended period of time, or, the entire family being transposed to a far-away city for the duration of the surgery and recovery? The logistics are stunning! And the expenses are far beyond what most of us could ever afford.
I have never put anything personal on my corporate web site. This is the first time that I have ever indicated that there was something personal which I was requesting from the global population of the internet. If you know me, please read and respond to this message. If you donít know me, please read this message and realize that I am asking the world to help me to help a family and a little girl who has yet to experience the joys of life to their fullest. The most important thing that we need is your prayers. Please say a prayer for Megan. But, we also need to deal with the logistics, and that requires money. I donít want to sound trite, so, here is my promise to you:
Many of us who know Mark and his family have gotten together to help them. A special bank account has been opened at a Rhode Island bank to receive funds to support this familyís efforts to save the life of their daughter, and to cover many of the expenses involved. An initial deposit has already been received for $10,000. My request is that you contribute whatever you think you can afford. Although they have significant financial needs, prayers are equally important.If you find it in your heart to make a contribution, please review the following:
Donations:To facilitate the management of donations, we have created 2 separate types of accounts to receive donations.
Tax Free (501 c 3)
Make your check payable to:
Seekonk Lions Charitable Trust - The Megan Hayward Fund
Mail your donation to:
Normal (not-tax free)
Mail your donation to:
If you have ever looked into the eyes of a child, seen that youthful twinkle, and heard that giddy laugh, this is what I am asking you to help us to continue. I would give anything to see that twinkle in the eyes of Megan, or, hear that laugh,......wouldnít you?
If this all works out, (with Godís help), just maybe, someday, years from now, one of us might be found in Meganís kitchen making grilled cheese sandwiches for her children and the children of the neighborhood. Now, wouldnít that be a miracle?Please help make the miracle come true.
On behalf of Mark & Nancy and their family,..... Thank you!
Mark S. Deion
A Community Service of: