Girl With Terminal Cancer Displays Generosity

I don’t usually post about this kind of thing, but I saw a story this morning about a teenage girl in Utah with terminal cancer who has donated her Make-A-Wish money to her local high school. She’s been receiving treatments in Salt Lake City for months, but her parents have finally brought her home, since there’s little more that can be done for her. Her whole town turned out to welcome her home. The news segment is worth watching:

This is a prime example of the “problem of suffering/evil” that we often talk about, and we naturally wish we could help people in these circumstances. Like most people who read my blog, I don’t believe prayer is effective, so there’s nothing I can do on that score. But her family is saddled with some high medical bills, so for anyone who would like to help out, a fundraising site has been set up for her here.

24 thoughts on “Girl With Terminal Cancer Displays Generosity”

  1. Thanks for making us aware Nate ! I did make a donation as this could have been one of my children or grandchildren. I can’t argue with your stance on prayer except that if it offers peace to someone during their last moments , I find this case acceptable.


  2. My sister’s youngest had leukemia, and pulled through.
    It is sometimes a cruel world.
    My sister is a specialist nurse currently doing a 12 month voluntary stint down here in Africa in Malawi.
    She’e been there less than a week and the first day on the wards she was assigned pediatrics.

    She saved the life of one baby but they lost two others.

    This is how ‘the other half lives’ , Nate, ( Roaches and all) as they say.



  3. Sad story,,, I have a friend who is dying of cancer, waiting in her home with her husband. Praying does not do much, I admit. Spending time with them does a lot more. Thanks for sharing.


  4. @Noel,

    I am so sad to hear about your friend. I remember when my paternal grandmother was dying from complications due to her mastectomy. She had breast cancer and it was found too late. Honestly, we weren’t that close. I just remember how hopeless and helpless we all felt as she laid up horribly sick on a regular basis. It’s painful to watch an innocent human being struggle with severe pain. Knowing that my grandmother was going to die sooner than later ached me to no end because I couldn’t do one damn thing to make her better. I wish no friend or relative the agony of waiting around for a loved one to die. It’s one of the strangest and cruelest experiences I’ve ever gone through.

    Noel. please keep us posted. I am sorry for your pain.


  5. You always do such a good job of protecting yourself when Christians try to trip you up; but you tripped YOURSELF up this time!!

    Truth is, I couldn’t be more grateful that you posted this! Up to now, you’ve protected yourself from all that God baloney but (I can’t see how you didn’t see this one coming) you ended up falling right in line here.

    You must realize by now that there’s only one thing worth caring about visa vis faith and that’s finding the opportunity to, as they say, “recognize your brother” — or in this case ‘sister’. By linking to Jayce’s site you only served to give an example of what faith REALLY means. Proof of God arguments make me want to jump off the roof. Situations like this make my heart fly.

    Well, I contributed $100 and you were the cause. I also told them I’d give more if they couldn’t make their goal but I don’t see THAT happening.

    All those years in Church and you fell for the oldest trick in the book!

    Well, nobody’s perfect. Overall, you’re a pretty good atheist. But you need to be more careful!!!!



  6. @Noel

    If, by ‘prayer’, you mean petitionary prayer I couldn’t agree with you more. Actually, I go further than you. It’s not simply that praying for a sick person to be cured “does no good”. I think it does a great deal of harm. I mean, there were literally hundreds of people praying for my wife to be ‘cured’ and it just wasn’t going to happen. How can these people not be suffering major cognitive dissonance now that she’s dead?

    What is it with petitionary prayer anyway? Supposedly it was Jesus himself who taught us to pray, “Thy Will Be Done”. Every Christian prays the prayer, but I think in their hearts most of them are praying “Gimmee, gimmee, gimmee”

    I can’t think of any better (or harder!) spiritual lesson than the fact there is a great deal that’s 100% outside human control. It’s beyond our capacity to control in a practical sense and it’s certainly beyond our control to magically manipulate with prayer.

    Pam learned that. She didn’t pray for a ‘cure’. She prayed to bring joy into every moment. That kind of prayer actually works!



  7. CC, I made a donation too and it had absolutely nothing to do with faith. When Jayce passes, her parents will be saddled with lots of expense. Jayce showed she was not afraid of death and showed selflessness when she gave her Make-A-Wish money back.

    Make-A-Wish grants wishes to kids who don’t always have terminal illnesses. My grand-nephew was recently a recipient of a trip to Disney World compliments of Make-A-Wish. He had just endured his 3rd heart operation.

    I’m sure Jayce is aware of this too and wanted someone else who might be healthier to enjoy their wish.

    I don’t see where Nate’s desire to recognize Jayce’s situation had anything to do with faith. Where am I going wrong here ? What am I missing ?


  8. I’ve got to echo Ken’s comment, Cap’n. I’m not sure how posting this shows anything about faith. BUT I’m glad that it helped you connect to Jayci’s family, and if nothing else, it shows that even though we choose sides in these discussions sometimes, we’re all human when you get down to it. The things that unite us are greater than the things that divide us.

    Thanks πŸ™‚


  9. I think that’s an awesome sentiment Nate!

    @Captain Enigma: while my abstract-thinking-challenged brain isn’t always quite sure what you are saying I can sense your kindness in your comments. I also like reading your comments because they are so different than the run of the mill “you don’t believe the bible is true so you will burn” kind, and they also make me think. πŸ™‚


  10. @kcchief1 (and, by the way, so sorry about your team)

    “CC, I made a donation too and it had absolutely nothing to do with faith. When Jayce passes, her parents will be saddled with lots of expense. Jayce showed she was not afraid of death and showed selflessness when she gave her Make-A-Wish money back.”

    My point, and it’s the point I’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to make again and again, is that those superstitious dingbats you “atheists” call “Christians” are the ones whose actions and beliefs have “absolutely nothing to do with faith.”

    First, let me say what faith is NOT. Faith is not an irrational conviction that some cosmic superman is going to make miraculous and unscientific interventions in the world on your behalf. It’s certainly not some sort of guarantee that if you read the scriptures, or go to church, or say your prayers right you’ll get on Mr. Superman’s good side and he’ll run errands for you.

    But this is exactly what these folks believe! You guys reject God and faith and religion because you’ve got it in your head that a bunch of knuckleheads swinging Bibles in the air know what they’re talking about, and that they’re qualified to explain what Christianity is about. They’re not!!!!

    What faith is, is what happened between Nate and Jayce and me. Let me explain. I live in Massachusetts, Jayce lives in Utah, I don’t know where Nate lives but I bet it’s far away from either of us. Now, you’ve all heard Paul’s famous line, “not by sight but by faith”. What’s up with that? What’s up is that by “sight” Nate and Jayce and I have no connection. By faith, however, we all see that we’re connected. We all see that our common humanity (which, if you’ll indulge me, might also be called ‘the family of God’) links us together in a real, though invisible way — and that we’re responsible to each other, and that we matter to each other, and that our concern for others assures us that even when we die, life — meaningful life — will go on and that we’re somehow “connected” even to the people who live on after we’re gone.

    In other words, life has meaning and purpose and that meaning derives from our capacity to “see by faith” our connections to one another.

    The reason you say it has “absolutely nothing to do with faith” is because you let incompetents define “faith’ for you. Don’t listen to them. Listen to me. I actually know what I’m talking about! Our donations, and our care, and our well-wishes, and our interest, and our empathetic response to somebody we’ve never met has EVERYTHING to do with faith.

    Are you missing something? Well, I say you are; but only because a bunch of ding-dongs have misrepresented what that “something” is.

    Latest Post: http://whatisthisthingcalledgod.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/dangerous-lies/#more-33


  11. CC, while I somewhat understand what you are saying about faith, it also sounds like you are equating faith to religion / god.

    I have faith in a lot of things and people which have nothing to do with religion / god

    I have 2 great sons-in-law who run my company. I have faith they will make business decisions much the same way I do.

    I have faith if I plant the seeds in my garden this Spring, water and fertilize them properly , they will grow to maturity.

    Again I don’t think faith is an exclusive property of religion / god.


  12. Cap’n,

    James 5:

    13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

    14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

    15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

    I think it’s passages like these that make “christians” think god will help them through prayer. and then who can forget OT examples like King Hezekiah?

    You continue to bewilder me. You seem to see the flaws within christianity, but instead of leaving it, like we did, you just seem to pretend that it’s something other than what the bible (the book that defines christianity) says it is.

    having said that, hearing about your wife saddens me greatly, as does hearing about this little girl we’re donating money to, along with all the others who suffer greatly and perish before their due time. I am truly sorry for your loss and truly grateful for you generosity and support to this family now.

    Every time someone points out how terrible life can be, or how evil mankind can be, there are numerous more examples of the goodness of mankind. For every mass murder rampage, there are more examples of heroism and selflessness. For every horrible disease and untimely death, there are those who show great compassion and selflessness. Admittedly, for those enduring the loss, it may be harder to see these brighter spots, but they are there none the less. I have some faith still in humanity, even if my faith in god and the bible has dried up.


  13. Hey Captain: oh no, now you’re the one that tripped himself up. πŸ™‚ What you describe I agree is beautiful. It is empathy and human interactions and some of us here see that as natural, important to us and awesome. But like you we don’t believe there is a personal supernatural being because of that. So I think we actually agree and you just don’t realize it. You are a Spinoza-ish naturalist – you like to put the word God on things that are natural. You may have just forced me to take away the “Enigma” from your name now, and I know you’ll be very sad about that. πŸ˜‰ (although after your next response you’ll likely gain it back).


  14. @CC, “As you may know, I work as a mental health clinician. My clients aren’t folks with garden variety neuroses β€” they all suffer from severe and persistent mental illness. You get into discussions (on line, anyway) with people who believe in Jesus. I get to talk things over with people who believe they ARE Jesus.” “I’ve learned, though, that it would be nothing short of cruel to insist that they use my vocabulary. My job is to learn how to use theirs.”

    I might have discovered why bloggers here think Captain is “all over the place” in his comments. I think he forgets which group he is addressing. In other words, he might still be wearing his “mental health clinician hat” when he enters Nate’s Blog.

    As unkleE would say, “I think the best evidence points to this conclusion” πŸ™‚

    But it’s just my humble opinion………


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