Today while I was in the kitchen, my son Asad requested pancakes loud and clear. I think he was reminiscing about the fun morning he had yesterday at IHOP’s National Pancake Day, being celebrated as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Honored Hero.
Months of planning and emailing lead up to National Pancake Day. Initially, we were worried that the day might be a bust because of the snow. However, the weather proved to be a gift. Many kids, including my own, had a snow day. This allowed droves of families and out-of-school teenagers an opportunity to cram into IHOP reception areas and wait for their stack of free pancakes. Overall, I think the day turned out to be a roaring success.
Autism and Leukemia
Our morning started early and was a fun-filled few hours of Asad being in the spotlight. The funny thing about it all was that he was the least bit phased. Most, if not all of the employees at the Rockville IHOP, where we celebrated National Pancake Day, were oblivious to the fact that Asad also deals with autism, in addition to the leukemia. In the end, I guess none of that really mattered.
Once Asad settled down from the initial onslaught of the crowd, noise, and attention, an overwhelming experience for a child with autism, he was able to find his groove. The stack of warm buttery pancakes dripping with syrup – a diet detour for my gluten free kids – was the vehicle that got him to his happy place.
National Pancake Day is not only a fundraising event for organizations like LLS but also a celebration of children like Asad, a celebration of life and survival with a disease that claims so many lives.
Breakfast at IHOP was one big party – a birthday party for my little Lion, filled with hundreds of guests, birthday cake, smiling faces, cameras, dozens of presents, and best of all, pancakes.
Asad and his brother loved the day – a second birthday, a second chance to smile, to forget about drugs, forget about hospitals, forget about needles, and just be a kid.
It’s so much easier to be a giver. I’ve learned that Humility requires strength and is an honorable trait. It allows you to graciously be on the receiving end of social good.
We, his parents, are humbled once again by the kindness of strangers. We are forever grateful for his “second day”, the celebration of life and survival. And most of all, we are grateful for the gifts of love, compassion, and pancakes.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, LLS, is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.