By: Gordon Sinclair Jr. | Winnipeg Free Press
The story comes in the form of an open letter written by a boy from Scarborough, Ont., that his mother, Suzanne Harwood-Jones, posted on Facebook.
It was meant primarily for family to read, and being part of the family, Tony read it. He was so moved by it -- choked up, in fact -- that he read it to a room full of friends who, after they finished weeping, suggested he share it with me. So I could share it with you.
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"Hello, my name is Brandon and I am 11 years old. I got hurt before Halloween, a branch went into my eye and all of a sudden my eye had no vision. I thought that I would be blind or they would have to take my eye out.
"I had a lot (of operations), actually, but I still could not see. I have not been allowed to go to school... and I miss it.
"I miss my friends and I miss playing.
"My Mom could not stop crying and I would listen to her all night and all day. My Nan cried too, and she thought it was her fault because I got injured when I was at her house.
"I just had my cornea transplant on Feb. 15 and when I went to my checkup a few days ago they took off my patch and I read the letters they showed me on the wall.
"I wish I knew the name of the person who gave me the cornea but the doctors can't tell us.
"I really want to say thank you. It is only because you gave me the operation that I can see and will be able to read.
"I learned that strangers do good things for other strangers and it can really change their life and it is important to always do a good thing because it can really mean a lot.
"I hope they give this letter to you and I hope they don't cross out my name because maybe you want to know it.
"I am Brandon and I can see because of you."
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I know I said the message from Brandon Singh is self-explanatory, but when Tony emailed the letter, he underscored it. The message is this: Please consider signing the blue donor card that comes with your driver's licence.
The story reminded me of something quoted from the Bible that Tony still uses for his work, and the text can be interpreted in many different ways. And, moreover, how different a meaning one thankful child can bring to "an eye for an eye."
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THE AFTERGLOW... I sometimes hear back from the subjects of columns who have experienced what I call the "afterglow." On Monday, I received an email from Laurie Carey, the owner of Great Finds women's apparel in Southdale who, after being hit by shoplifters, was visited by group of kids from the nearby daycare who made a card and collected money. (Rainbow daycare kids 'amazing', all right, March 1).
As a result, Laurie said her store was "bombarded" with phone calls from the public and visits by concerned clients. Some of her clients told her they would be making donations to the daycare because the children were so caring.
Two weeks later, the calls and comments are still coming, she said. "The comments are always, 'It is wonderful to read such a great good-news story and to know our children are in good hands and being allowed to grow in mind and soul.' This one article has had a huge ripple effect..."
Now you know why I call it the afterglow.