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During Catie’s five years of treatment, people reached out to her – and us – in powerful, practical, and profound ways.  

Catie loved the Dallas Mavericks. While in isolation during her bone marrow transplant, she briefed her doctors many mornings with point and rebound statistics from the previous night’s game. The Mavericks were abundantly gracious to us. They sent her autographed basketballs and promotional swag. Several times they provided front row seats for home games.  

While in remission, we took a family road trip to watch the Mavericks play a Friday night game in Houston and a Saturday night game in San Antonio. We stayed in the same hotels as the team. On Saturday, some of the players spent their afternoon talking with Catie and Haley in the hotel lobby. Such a small act of kindness, but such a huge gift to her – and us. 

The Winter Olympics of 1988 enthralled Catie. Eddie the Eagle’s ski jumping and the Jamaican bobsled team were fun, but the women’s ice skating captured her heart. One of the ice skaters became her favorite. In her stocking feet on our kitchen floor, Catie would replicate the jumps, spins, and acrobatics. Catie wrote her a letter and a few weeks later, an autographed picture came in the mail.

While in isolation in the old Cook’s Children’s Hospital during her bone marrow transplant, an accomplished musician friend showed up and provided Catie with a trumpet serenade below her second story window.  

The list could go on and on. We were blessed with gifts large and small, from famous and obscure, cards and letters, acts of kindness from long-time friends and complete strangers. We continue to be thankful for all! 

When God called Moses to free a million slaves and lead them for 40 years, He did not ask Moses to get certified in anything. He didn’t ask him to get another degree. He didn’t ask him to read a book or attend a seminar. He first assured Moses that He would be with him, gave him instructions, and when Moses balked, God simply asked him, “What is in your hand?” (Exodus 4:2b) 

You are probably not a professional athlete. Most likely, you have not won an Olympic medal. You may not be a polished musician. But there is something in your hand that God can use. Our natural tendency is to pull back, step away, avoid contact, self-protect. We don’t know what to say or do, so we don’t say or do anything.  

But God calls us to bear one another’s burdens. Paul tells the Galatians, “Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.“ (Galatians 6:2) The law of Christ is to love one another. We demonstrate love when we reach out and help those carrying heavy burdens. That means we use whatever is in our hands to help others. 

  • Can you hit a golf ball? A friend drove two-hours to hit a bucket of balls with me when I needed encouragement. He didn’t say much, but the bucket of balls said a lot.  

  • Can you bake cookies? A plate of cookies and a heart-felt note can provide physical and emotional nourishment.

  • Can you drink coffee? Can you mow a yard? Can you make a phone call? Can you make eye contact? Can you say a prayer?  

Don't avoid those in pain. You do not need special training to be a friend. Some of the people who reached out to us during the dark days of Catie’s downward spiral are our best friends today.    

Dan Bolin


Refueling in Flight Ministries, Inc


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