George the dragon slayer

Saturday, August 22, 2020

George the dragon slayer

It was a cold wintery October morning when George entered the world.  His labour had been particularly long so his mother was relieved when George made his entrance, all 9 pounds and 6 ounces of him.  He was her 4th child and her first son.

He grew up in a happy household, often pampered by his parents and fussed over by his 3 big sisters.  Quiet but charming, he excelled at school and eventually got a scholarship to university, a prestigious school of medicine.  His parents were so proud as their humble backgrounds could not have afforded him the education he received.  His mother was a homemaker and his father a bricklayer.  George was the first in his family to complete University education.

As a surgeon George's fame grew. He excelled in Neo natal surgery and was known for his innovative methods in saving countless of lives.  He pioneered a unique heart by pass procedure involving creating a forked artery earning him the nickname 'dragon slayer'.  Perhaps what was so remarkable about him was his desire to give back.  George performed thousands of surgeries for free for families who could not afford the cost of healthcare.  He spent some of his time in developing countries performing surgeries for many children saving countless of lives.  He was well known for his philanthropy which included scholarships for children from less fortunate backgrounds.  

George's wife and children were equally remarkable.  They were well known in their hometown and were regarded with high esteem.  Although George was known for being a perfectionist and sometimes difficult to work with, his clinic staff and colleagues respected and admired him.  To say he was leaving a legacy with his life was an understatement.

But you know none of that happened.  Most of what you just read above was imagined.  George did not get good grades, get married or become a brilliant surgeon.  Because he died when he was just 2 years old.  

Today we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada.  As I reflect on what I am thankful for I realize I'm mostly thankful for people, for those who have made an impact on me and their unique contributions to life.  But I also think of what life would be like without them...  had they not survived childhood.  Thousands of children die every year in Sierra Leone from preventable causes.  Leaving behind not just grieving parents but a life full of potential, completely unfulfilled one that we can only imagine.  As William Wallace said "Every man dies, but not every man really lives".

So today I am thankful for you, and your support of Freedom Tree as we ensure that the George's of this world live to become all they can be.

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