I recently broke from food blogging to point you to that wonderful video. Now I've got a much sadder pause to ask you to take.
Over the course of the last six months my cousin-in-law, Paul Hawthorne, one of those rare guys you find who are beyond belief kind, funny, good and creative--he was a photographer, a funny guy, a good husband and a wonderful new father to Max, age 4 and Lucas, age 6 months...he was diagnosed with amyloidosis, a rare disease in which the body makes extra protein that the body cannot handle.
He went straight into aggressive treatment. My cousin Amy started blogging to help us--friends, family, coworkers--get our minds around what treatment meant for Paul, how he was doing, how the fight was going. A more positive outlook would have been hard to find.
Amy is a great creative soul herself, and her writing about this awful fight was funny, touching, poignant and personal. She kept us all hopeful, pulling for Paul, and the comments back to her posts were often funny--funny enough that I guess I checked into her blog, Getting Paul Healthy, nearly every day. We were all upbeat.
Photographer friends have organized a fundraising photography effort, The Photographer Project (I encourage any NYC area photographers to check it out and get involved), which will raise funds for the family--originally to offset costs of medical treatments and having Paul out of work, but now the funds will be for the family without Paul.
This morning, Paul's heart gave out. I don't know any details. Only this. His organs were really affected by the proteins, and a lot of damage had already been done when he was finally diagnosed.
I can do so little to make a difference from so far away. But if I can make some people aware of the disease, if maybe the next time you see a chance to donate to an amyloidosis cause you pull out a dollar or if you'd like to take part in The Photographer Project, you'll show up at Brian's studio, or maybe if you one day get to meet Amy or Max or Lucas Hawthorne and you can say, "I heard what a great person your dad was...," maybe that's just a little bit of what I can do.
In the meantime, please keep Amy, Max and Lucas in your hearts. They'll need that. And it's a lot.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Overview of Amyloidosis
Paul Hawthorne's Cheering Group
Getting Paul Healthy: Read here about Amy and Paul's experience, and check out the wonderful photos. The post about a Paul-i-day Party, a post that left me so hopeful (he was cooking again! What a great sign!) finishes with a photo of him jumping on the red carpet before he was diagnosed--I hope he's jumping like that now, wherever he is.