About a year ago, I wrote this post after a reflection from my visit with a student at the school I was a Principal at, Cordelia Hills Elementary, in Fairfield, CA. This is an update from my previous post:
This past Thursday, June 1st, Jacob Valdez lost his battle with Leukemia. Although he was at home and in the hospital this school year, he was still a part of the Cordelia Coyotes, and a part of who I am.

Wait, who is Jacob Valdez you ask?

Let me tell you who he is. He is EVERY CHILD you have ever taught or encountered at school: strong, sweet, kind, gentle, gifted, special, unique, intelligent, funny, quirky, curious, and most of all? REAL. Yes, we have all had a Jacob in our lives, but last year, and now, he became more real to me than ever.

You see, many of our friends, family, loved ones, and strangers are afflicted with all types of blood cancers, but did you know that you can help? Being a bone marrow donor can not only save a life, but can help you live a legacy of knowing, that you made a huge, life long difference for someone. Matches are based on ancestry and DNA. Please consider joining a registry and encourage your friends, family, and colleagues to do the same. You could be the cure for one of the 14,000 people who are searching for a marrow donor. Donors (18-44) never pay to donate marrow. You can give someone hope for a better tomorrow, today: CLICK HERE FOR INFO

Last year, when I made a visit to Oakland Kaiser Hospital to visit Jacob, he seemed like any other 4th Grade student, he was interested in MineCraft, Lego, Chromebooks, iPhones, Star Wars and much more. I walked into his hospital room and was amazed at the Star Wars Lego creations he had built; Millenium Falcon, X-Wing Fighter and others that I couldn’t name. He was playing MineCraft, adding to his most amazing and intricate castle that he built.

After giving me a 3-D tour of the castle, we connected on Google Hangouts with his class of 4th Graders in Mr. Suarez’ class. Smiles, laughter, giggles, jokes, conversation and fun ensued for the Me and My Warriors Man, Jacob Valdez next 30 or so minutes. The students in class and Jacob were connected, engaged, enlightened and Ohana; (the Hawaiian term for Family, one and bound together) a term that Mr. Suarez uses and lives by with and for his students.

Yes, they were connected. We were connected and better yet, I have been connected with Be The Match, which has already helped me increase my knowledge, understanding, and education of Leukemia, matches, and marrow transplants.

As I drove back to school from Oakland, I could not stop thinking about Jacob. How lucky was I to have a Jacob in my life? That short visit brought so much heartfelt joy to me that I can’t wait to return. His innocence, faith, smile, patience, and kindness are un-replicable.
I urge you to do this today; Look into being a donor for marrow, cord blood, blood, plasma or money and help someone you know (OR DON’T) today!

Thank you Jacob, you made us all better.

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