Touching your life, your heart and inspiring you daily.

My Little Buddy Kevin
As may or may not know, I love to fly.
One way I've found to make a difference is by flying for Angel Flight.
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Learn More About Angel Flight:
http://www.angelflight.org

Here In Dallas:
http://www.angelflightsw.org

    
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2000
From: Inspiration List <Inspiration@bighit.com>
Subject: He Touched My Heart

He is 8 years old.
I am 38, an adult, a Christian and someone who loves to touch the life of others.
Everyday, I send out Inspirational messages to over 5000 people all over the world.
Didn't matter how strong I was, how strong my faith is, or how old I am, he still brought me to my knees (and tears).
Everyday he attends school, trying to learn.
I say trying because he has a hard time.
His name is Kevin Wilson and he is from Nacogdoches, TX. close to the Louisiana border.
Kevin, bless his little heart, has Cancer.
He has 6 tumors. 2 on his optical nerves and 4 on his brain.
Because of the tumors his brain can't learn like yours and mine.
So he struggles to learn, oblivious that he is different and having a hard time.

Let me have a minute of your time to tell you the story.
The story of how a 8 year old boy from Texas, changed a 38 year old man from Dallas.
As many of you know my favorite hobby (besides sending these messages to you) is flying. One way I've found to share that love of flying and touch other people's lifes is by donating my time to a program called Angel Flight.
I fly to different places and pickup people who can't afford airfare or where there is no airplane service. I pick these people up and fly them to the major metropolitan areas for medical treatment.

And so it was this trip. I packed the plane and left Dallas. I arrived in Nacogdoches around 6:00 PM to meet the Wilson's. Here is where I meet the boy who would teach me see a whole new way. He was so excited about getting to fly. This was his first time on an Angel Flight. He couldn't quit talking. His father Thomas, obliviously nervous, said very little.

The Wilson's had been driving Kevin to Dallas for treatments. The drive, Thomas Wilson later told me, takes them almost 3 and half hours one way. Our trip would take us just over an hour.

Kevin is so excited and talking non-stop. I listen. I attempt to answer his questions (he has more questions than Ken Starr) but I can't seem to answer them fast enough for him. His parents attempt to translate his slurred speech for me. At some point during this gab fest between the two us, they explain to me that Kevin can't see more than 2 inches in front of his eyes. They tell me however that if you can describe the things you are seeing for him, his face will light up as he seems to comprehend and draw a mental picture in his mind.
They must have seen my eyes welling up with tears at this point because they began to tell me about how Kevin has talked non-stop about this flight for days.

I collect myself, and I take Kevin over to the plane and in a way in which I've never tried before, I begin to try and draw a mental picture of the airplane for Kevin. You see, I have the gift of sight. I've never even tried to think about not being able to see. My mind works feverishly, I begin to see the things I've seen and taken for granted for years, very differently. How in the world do I translate all the beautiful things I see everyday, into mere words. The words that an 8 year old can "see" in his mind.
I make stupid attempts. Fall all over myself but some how manage to get a grin out of Kevin. It's about now that I notice Kevin's mom is video taping this whole event. I now conclude in my mind that all of this will appear on a future episode of America's Funniest Videos. Stay tuned.

I load the Wilson's luggage in the plane and tackle the issue of getting Kevin loaded in the plane. His lack of simple motor skills on inclines is replaced by his excitement of flying. I help him into the back seat and buckle him in. I place the headset on his head and tell him he looks like the Helicopter traffic man in Dallas. A huge smile comes across his face, like he sees his future telling others about the traffic below him. I get in, like I always do, and watch as his father nervously climbs into the Co-Pilot seat next to me. At this point I normally start the check list procedure and the motor. Something clicks in my brain I stop and I realize that Kevin's parents are having more trouble going through this than Kevin. He knows so little about the things happening around him, he just goes with the flow and thoughts of a new adventure. What a trooper. Where and when did I lose that, I feel old.

I start the check list procedure and the engine, we wave to mom (with the camera) and off we go.
The whole way out, taxing to the runway Kevin is once again asking more questions and talking. The excitement in his voice very apparent. I am attempting to answer his questions and do the Pilot thing. My brain now trying to focus on flying and translate all my movements and what I am seeing into words for Kevin's minds eye.

I do the run up check list, the whole time Kevin is asking if we're in the air yet, verbalizing the procedure for Kevin. Everything on the plane checks out as always and we begin our take off roll down the runway. I explain everything that is happening. Kevin's face is lit up like the tree in Rockefeller center at Christmas time. Kevin's father on the other hand is white as a ghost.

I pull back on the yoke and the plane jumps sky ward. Kevin screams in delight as the plane climbs. Kevin's father (full of fear, I am sure) is screaming inside to himself. Amazing how a child so innocent with no preconceptions, no prejudices is experiencing delight in a new adventure, while we as adults full of fear, and change are afraid of even the simplest of new things.

I glance around and I see the sunset through the clouds, I see it as only a pilot can experience it. Tonight I see and experience the sunset in a new way, my heart jumps into my throat as I realize that Kevin can't see the sunset, let alone experience what I am seeing. I see the sunset a way I've never seen it countless times before. The beauty, the appreciation of God and his beauty in a new way. The colors, the clouds and the moment catch me. I wonder what it would be like to never see it again. I wonder if by some miracle Kevin will ever see it. I make another stupid attempt to describe to him the beauty of what I am seeing. His father realizing my attempt does a much better job. Kevin seems oblivious to the beauty before us. I feel myself lost in the sky and focus my attention back to flying.

We cross a lake and I notice the sunset reflecting on the surface. This time I let Kevin's father describe it for him. Kevin is not interested in the sunset on the lake, but wants to know if there are any boats. So typical a little boy, captivated by boats. "Describe them, describe the boats dad!" he cries out. I turn to see his face once again lit up. We attempt to describe what we can not see. At 4500 feet, boats look like dots on the water. With a little improvisation, we describe sail boats, fishing boats and ski boats for him. His delight is very apparent and I once again find myself having a hard time focusing on my flying duties.

How something so simple as a boat on a lake over whelms his brain. I see the colors of the sunset and see God. Kevin sees a boat in his mind and Gods warms his heart.

A few minutes later the cockpit has grown silent, I turn to see Kevin sleeping so peacefully, secure and safe. The rest of the trip is spent talking with Kevin's dad. Talking about the many trips to Dallas they have made for Kevin's treatments. The long drive and how it wears on them. Talking about the numerous hardships they've endured. I say a silent prayer for them, asking God to help them and the Doctors, nurse's and technicians that will see Kevin and I thank him for my talents and health. I thank God for my many blessings and my abilities to touch the life's of others in need. How fortunate I feel to be alive, to be a Christian and to be a father.

We land in Dallas and Kevin sleeps all the way up to the terminal. I shut down the plane and unload the luggage. I awake Kevin and help him struggle out of the plane. His father thanks me profusely. I thank him. He'll never know how his son touched me and my life.

I climb back in the plane and totally lose it. "And Tim wept." I pray for strength. I start the plane and taxi back to the hanger put the plane away. I can't however put Kevin away out of my mind. He weighs heavily on my mind. The whole way home I can't stop thinking about how I see the world differently now. I've passed this way hundreds of times before. Tonight I see things that I've seen hundreds of times before in a way I've never seen them before, thanks in part to God and an 8 year old little angel.

Thank you for letting me share this with you.
Won't you say a Prayer for Kevin and his parents?
I know I will, every night.

God Bless,
Tim

You can email Kevin's Mom at: Renee Wilson

Kevin Updates

From: "Renee Wilson" <RWilson@inu.net>
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2001 21:22:00 -0600

Dear Friends,

I'd like to begin with a prayer request. Kevin is not acting himself and seems more emotional than usual even considering chemotherapy. We think it may have something to do with one of his medications. Please pray that God will grant us the wisdom to know which doctor to consult on this matter.
Too, he has asked that you will pray for his "bad" side. Lately, he has questioned why God gave him a "bad" side. The reason he has a bad side is that he has a mass of fibromas on his left side which bothers him at times. They look like a strand of spaghetti noodles extending down his side and curving toward his abdomen. Thank you for your prayers on this matter.

Blessings,
Renee Wilson

AN EXTRAORDINARY DAY

One of Kevin's greatest loves is basketball. When basketball season rolled around and it was time to sign up, I didn't know how I would be able to sign up Jace, Kevin's younger brother, without signing up Kevin. After talking to the director of the Upward Basketball program, a program designed to teach kids about basketball, good sportsmanship, and Scripture, we decided to sign Kevin up with the understanding that he would practice with his team, but on game days he would be cheerleader for his team. With Kevin's limited vision, it would be too dangerous for him to play man-to-man. At first, Kevin was reluctant to make a deal since he couldn't understand why he couldn't play just like everyone else. However, he finally came to terms with his limitation and became enthusiastic about cheering for his teammates, the Cougars.

This past Saturday started out like an ordinary game day. The team lined up and as each player's name was called over the PA system, that child would emerge from a tunnel with the confidence and pride of Michael Jordan. Kevin and Jace were no exception (they are on the same team). Both teams gathered in the center of the court for prayer which was led by one of the referees. Five boys from each team remained on the court awaiting the starting whistle. The others quickly went to the sidelines to watch and wait their turn.

Suddenly, Coach Paul rushed to Kevin's seat, led him to the spot where the ball would be thrown in and said, "Kevin, pass the ball in." Wow! Kevin was so excited! In fact he was given another opportunity to pass the ball in after half time.

Needless to say, what started out as an ordinary day, became extraordinary with the generosity of a special coach. (In fact the boys are blessed with three coaches who love the LORD, love basketball, enjoy teaching young children, and who have been very sweet in reaching out to a child with special needs.) And Jace had an exceptional day as well. He scored two goals! "Mom, my coaches are the best! They are teaching me to be a good basketball player," he wisely concluded.

Both boys experiencing an extraordinary day, what more can a mom want!

Copyright © 2001, Tim Levin