"There is a saying at Jesuit that goes like this, 'Pain shared is pain divided. Joy shared is joy multiplied.' To me, that captures everything the CCA is about," asserted JHS senior Kate Haarmann at last Sunday's Mass for Joy at Sellwood Riverfront Park.
Kate was not talking about the five miles she had just walked in the rain, alongside 500 other teens from Portland's six Catholic high schools. Instead, Kate was reflecting on her family's journey with the Children's Cancer Association.
Those hundreds of young people who woke up early on a Sunday morning to raise funds and fun for CCA brought plenty of joy to the equation. But Kate had a different memory in mind as she shared her story:
When I first heard my brother Tim had acute myeloid leukemia, I had never felt that small in my entire life. Things were so much bigger than myself. Things like cancer. Things like death. I had no control over anything. And that's where CCA came in. At my family's lowest. But they didn't try to fix everything; they didn't try to fix anything, really. Because that's the thing about cancer. You can't fix it. You can't "hope" it away.
But you can share the pain. You can take that burden of powerlessness from someone and carry just the littlest bit, so they're not carrying it alone. But the key to this equation, the part that the Children's Cancer Association knows better than anyone, is joy.
Joy: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Not something we'd usually, or ever, associate with cancer. However, the CCA happens to have a whole lotta joy. And boy do they know how to share it. I personally experienced this life-changing joy in the person of Kevin, my brother Tim's CCA Chemo Pal...
We don't have a cure for cancer; we can't stop the pain that cancer causes, but we have each other and that's why it's so important to put our rivalries aside for one day to walk for other kids who can't. We are a force of joy, and until cancer is cured, we're going to keep walking.
Last Sunday, 500 young people gathered at St. Mary's Academy and Central Catholic to walk and celebrate, in honor of the thousands of seriously-ill young people who would have given anything to get out of their hospital beds to walk in the rain.
This Friday, in the football game between Jesuit and Central Catholic, we will both celebrate our fierce and joyous football rivalry, and unite for a much bigger cause: Believing, with all of our faith and all of our hope, that Christ the Healer wants all His children to live long, wonderful lives, filled with joy. So, when you see all those young people in both student sections dressed in purple, the color of JoyRx, what you are really witnessing is pain divided, and joy multiplied.
To see Kate Haarmann sharing more about the Walk for Joy on KOIN TV, see here: https://www.koin.com/local/multnomah-county/students-walk-en-masse-to-raise-for-kids-with-cancer/
To see photos of the Walk for Joy, see here: https://joyrx.smugmug.com/Walk-For-Joy-2019/
Paul J. Hogan