A few years back, I had the good fortune to meet Camino, a music therapist working at a cancer ward for children in Madrid. The ward is an extraordinary place, filled with light and love mixed with the pathos of innocent children stricken by this disease. It is run by my friend Sofia’s sister, Blanca, and I’ve visited several times and spent a few hours sitting with kids at the piano improvising blues and other styles together.
Camino wrote recently to tell me of a 19-year old named Vero (short for Veronica) who has a difficult and complex form of cancer. Vero happens to love postcards and Camino asked whether I’d be willing to send some on my travels. Unfortunately, I had just returned from my trips with nothing immediately coming up, but remembered a stack of postcards in a desk drawer from other trips. So I began sending them to Vero one day at a time with little comments about the photo on the card or a little story about my travels to that place. One month later, I still haven’t heard anything directly from Vero nor seen her photo, but Camino tells me she is receiving the cards and loving them and will write soon. Of course, I’m curious to see her photo and will enjoy hearing from her, but meanwhile, it just feels wonderful to have a pen pal and think about what to send next.
Pay attention here, because this is an Action Item Blog! In a couple of days, I’ll be in a retreat setting with my Orff course and probably out of range of daily postcard writing. Here’s where you come in. What would it be like if everyone reading this blog sent one postcard from their town? You don’t need to say much. Simply write in English (or Spanish) something like “Hello Vero. My name is ________, I’m a friend of Doug’s and I live in __________.” Then say a few words about the place on the postcard and Voila! you’re done. Short effort with a big effect—especially if everyone does it. Science and common sense tells us that hope and love and any expression of caring boosts the immune system and helps us battle any disease. I’m imagining 25 or 50 or 100 postcards coming in from all parts of the world would really lift Vero’s spirits.
Of course, some of you younger folks may not know where the post office is and have to learn how to put on a stamp (don’t forget to ask the price to send to Spain) and pick up something called a pen and write with your own hand! But it’s worth it. Send it to:
Unidad de Oncología Pediátrica
Hospital Universitario Madrid Montepríncipe
Avda. Montepríncipe N. 25
Boadilla del Monte 28660
Thanks in advance for your help. And have fun picking the postcard!