By: Ted Peterson
Mikey’s preschool had a bake sale and a trike-a-thon to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As part of the week leading up to that, during one circle time, Mikey’s teachers taught them about sickness and health, and asked the kids what they would do to help another child who was seriously ill.
The adorable suggestions were documented on the school white board under each child’s name. Many of the kids advocated “Kisses” and “Hugs,” together or separately. One tot came up with the fabulously surreal idea of “Giving them a monkey.”
Mikey evidently raised his hand and said, “Why don’t we give them … treatment?”
The teacher figured Mikey had picked up the word from some adult conversation, and asked what treatment meant.
“It means medicine,” he explained.
Have I mentioned that he’s a Virgo?
Of course, Mikey also has plenty of belief in the magical powers of kisses and putting bandaids on invisible wounds for ten seconds until they feel better. A friend of ours mentioned that she used a brand of anti-cold nasal suppositories called Nozin and Mikey tucked that info away until tonight, and used it as a delaying tactic before bed, saying he needed one of them because even though he wasn’t sick, he might get sick in the future. He said he would wait while we went to the store.
The events at the preschool were great successes and, thanks I think to the red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and Spiderman and the Green Goblin topping each, more money was raised for St. Jude Children’s Hospital than any time in the six years the preschool had been involved. If you don’t know St. Jude, it was founded by “Make Room For Daddy” star Danny Thomas. Since 1962, it has become the preeminent pediatric cancer hospital in the country.
This weekend, pediatric causes continued to be a major part of conversation as we were invited to participate in two children’s charities. Sunday morning, we went on a 5K Walk for a Cure for Neurofibromatosis, and in the afternoon, we went to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Picnic.
The latter has become an L.A. institution over the last twenty-two years, since Elizabeth Glaser used her celebrity status as the wife of actor Paul Michael Glaser, Starsky of “Starsky and Hutch,” to shine a light on how AIDS affects children here and in Africa. Ian and I first went to the picnic five years ago, before we had Mikey, and we commented at the time that we really needed to bring a kid to it next time. This year, guests on the grounds of the VA hospital included Sharon Stone, Carmen Electra, Gwen Stefani, and a bunch of young actors from the Disney channel I’m too old and Mikey’s too young to know. He certainly recognized Mickey Mouse when he turned up.
The Walk to Cure Neurofibromatosis was notably less glamorous, but for us, more personal. My niece, Mikey’s beloved two-year-old cousin Natalie, suffers from the genetic condition which can cause tumors to erupt along any nerve ending in her body. Like AIDS, there is no cure for neurofibromatosis, also called NF, but the hope is that events like this can lead to education and research into a disease which can be devastating and is tragically all too common. Our team alone raised almost $50,000, so the walk around the CBS Studios lot in the San Fernando Valley felt like a victory lap of sorts, because we know that in itself will pay for a new trial and study in the hopes of finding a cure.
Of course, at both events, there was food and games and music, which like the bake sale and trike-a-thon keeps the sad reality of what these charities are fighting more bearable. From Mikey’s point of view, they are all parties, and we are so lucky that he is healthy enough to enjoy them as that for now.