01/14/12 — For Jake: School, community show the power of joining hands

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For Jake: School, community show the power of joining hands

Not everyone who attended Saturday's prayer session for Eastern Wayne High School senior Jake May knew him personally.

They saw the call on Facebook for the gathering, and they felt compelled to share their faith and hearts with a boy who faces a long road as he battles leukemia.

The crush of support for the 17-year-old is astonishing -- and heart-warming -- and a lesson for anyone who thinks there are not people in this world who care.

The effort was started by May's teammates the previous evening -- teenagers on the cusp of adulthood themselves, who might not exactly have known the true measure of the concern that goes along with such a diagnosis, but wanted to be there for Jake.

They listened to their coaches, parents and teammates and asked the questions one would expect from young men who were tasked with understanding news no one should have to hear.

They learned their teammate was in for a battle -- and vowed to be there with him doing anything they could and dedicated their upcoming season to him. And when it was over, they gathered themselves together and got to work -- for Jake and his family.

Saturday, more than 100 people gathered for the prayer circle and clasped hands with Jake's grandparents, his cousin and his aunt. They hoped for a miracle and prayed for strength for the May family.

They wanted Jake to know that even if they could not be with him at Duke as he battles cancer, he will be with them in their hearts.

It can't be easy hearing that your son has cancer. It must be hard to have so many questions and so few answers. It must be even more of a challenge to have faith.

But the May family can take comfort in one fact as they continue their journey. They are not alone. In addition to their family and close friends, they have a community, some acquaintances and some strangers, who are thinking of them and their son -- and praying.

The modern world discounts faith -- and often pokes fun at those who express it out loud and in places where it is not usually a fixture.

But when the times get tough and there is a need, it is amazing how quickly people join hands and offer their prayers -- a sign that there are still many of us who believe in miracles.

There are other families facing challenges and battles of their own -- many of whom need support and prayers, as those who organized Jake's gathering reminded those in attendance Saturday.

Think of them, too, today, as you join the thousands who have taken Jake May into their thoughts and prayers. They need you, too.

Published in Editorials on January 14, 2012 11:50 PM