Guys, this is my pal Bronco. He's 7 and in desperate need of a new heart.
As you might know, I have some social anxiety and don't flourish at gatherings that involve small talk with strangers. Children's birthday parties are, therefore, my version of hell.
So I was amused when this kid with long hair and a sleeveless jean jacket sat down next to me at one such party. All the other kids were crawling on the rented bounce house and screaming like sugared-up banshees, but this kid just sat down, totally chill, and said, "What's up?" So we had a legit conversation, the best one I had at that party. And he was hilarious and charming and sweet. Back then, I thought he was just another antisocial weirdo like me. Turns out he couldn't run around and bounce because his heart wasn't strong enough. But he had no self-pity, no woe-is-me. Dude's just cool.
And now things are starting to get bad. The last time I went to read to my daughter's class, he hugged me four times and asked questions about the chapter book I was writing. He wanted to know the ending, even though I hadn't written it yet. We had to walk him back to class in a wheelchair. And now he's in the children's hospital until he gets a heart.
That means either he gets a new heart... or he never leaves the hospital.
If you're the sharing type who wants to make the world better, I hope you'll read Bronco's story, sign his petition, donate to his care, or spread the word about his story and the importance of pediatric organ donation. No one wants to think about what happens when tragedy strikes a child, and kids are too young to check the Organ Donor box on the back of an ID card, but there are kids like Bronco all over the nation, hooked up to machines and praying for a phone call.
I'm a mean, horrible person with no heart, but I can't stop crying when I think about a world without Bronco in it.