Will and Charlie
While icons have a way of falling from our collective grace, recently there are two incredible heroes worthy of idol worship: my great nephew, Will and Charlie Villanueva.
Will, 10, is a popular fifth grader with all the usual interests of a boy his age. He loves computer games, remote control anything and playing hockey. http://www.eteamz.com/showdown/Will is amazingly (and suddenly) tall considering his photo companion is 6'11". He also works hard on his academics, is a great reader and does well in school.
Charlie is a 25-year-old basketball forward for the Milwaukee Bucks team wearing jersey number 31. What do they have in common? Both these wonderful people received the diagnosis of childhood onset alopecia, or hair loss. It has served to place them in each other’s company recently.
Left photo: Will; his sister, Annabella; his "long time" friend Caitlyn; and Charlie during pre-game meeting.
Alopecia is a condition where the auto immune system attacks the bodies of hair follicles and causes premature hair loss. Princess Caroline of Monaco and former General Hospital soap star, Amy Gibson have it as well. So, I suspect Will and Charlie are in very good company.
Since his October 2008 diagnosis, Will has demonstrated an astonishing sense of resilience, as only people his age seem to generate. He has met this condition, and its accompanying challenges, with strength, bravery and a big flashy smile as evidenced in his picture with Charlie.
Left photo: Alopecia Support Group meeting with Charlie during pre-game activities.)
On Monday, January 12, the Milwaukee Bucks played with Washington Wizards. As Charlie has done in most cities where the Bucks play, he met with children dealing with this situation better known as “Charlie’s Angels.” Charlie and the Wizards organization offered floor seats during pre-game warm up as a fun courtesy. Following that, we all “hung out” with Charlie talking about the usual pleasantries you do with an athlete who is willingly reaching out to kids, taking photos and gaining autographs.
(Right Photo: Exactly what does your resume have to say to get THIS caped crusader's job and all its obvious benefits?)
Charlie is helping kids like Will do what they do best: succeed. As for Will, he is setting the pace for his family and friends to follow. He is letting them see what a strong, vibrant, and feisty kid he is.
There is an old saying that “no man stands as tall as he who stoops to raise a child.” Will is redefining that as he faces dealing with this situation:
No child stands as brave and strong as one who lifts the spirits of adults.
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Meanwhile, get out the black and gold as the Stillers face the Ravens this Sunday. The Catholic church requires proof of three miracles to qualify for sainthood. With all the long shots they've been pulling off, get ready for heaven, folks. Pittsburgh's prepubescent mayor and boy king, Luke Ravenstahl, actually had his name legally changed to STEELERStahl. What a move for the 2006 Youngest Mayor in America. (That record has been broken since.) He stands to gain a landslide victory on that platform alone.
If you don't live close enough to get a freshly sliced Isaly's chipped ham sandwich with barbeque sauce, then hunker down with a kielbasa sandwich, throw some fries and cole slaw on it AND PICK UP YOUR TERRIBLE TOWEL, HON.
Cheer so Myron can hear!