Virtue of the Week: Sacrifice

Origin of the IterodOrigin of the Iterod

Every year in Alaska, a 1000-mile dogsled race, run for prize money and prestige, commemorates an original “race” run to save lives. Back in January of 1926, six-year-old Richard Stanley showed symptoms of diphtheria, signaling the possibility of an outbreak in the small town of Nome. When the boy passed away a day later, Dr. Curtis Welch began immunizing children and adults with an experimental but effective anti-diphtheria serum. But it wasn’t long before Dr. Welch’s supply ran out, and the nearest serum was in Nenana, Alaska–1000 miles of frozen wilderness away. Amazingly, a group of trappers and prospectors volunteered to cover the distance with their dog teams! Operating in relays from trading post to trapping station and beyond, one sled started out from Nome while another, carrying the serum, started from Nenana. Oblivious to frostbite, fatigue, and exhaustion, the teamsters mushed relentlessly until, after 144 hours in minus 50-degree winds, the serum was delivered to Nome. As a result, only one other life was lost to the potential epidemic. Their sacrifice had given an entire town the gift of life.


Sacrifice – Motivational Video

Cancer-stricken mom chooses baby's life over hersCancer-stricken mom chooses baby’s life over hers

By Linda Carroll

Stacie Crimm didn’t get to share much time with her infant daughter, Dottie Mae — she’d made the ultimate sacrifice to give the little girl life. Crimm, a 41-year-old single mother, received the grim diagnosis of terminal head and neck cancer just months after her little girl was conceived. She opted to skip chemotherapy to protect her growing fetus. Crimm survived long enough for the baby to be delivered. But shortly after holding her daughter for the first time, the Oklahoma woman slipped into a coma and died. Crimm’s brother remembers the bittersweet moment when his sister held her child. “I felt like it was probably the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen in my life,” Ray Phillips told Matt Lauer on TODAY Thursday. “I don’t think I’ll ever see anything that beautiful again.” Crimm never thought she’d have a child. Doctors had told her she wouldn’t be able to conceive. So it was a glorious shock when she discovered she was pregnant. She immediately called her brother to share the happy news. “It took her by total surprise,” Phillips said, “She was petrified and happy and just … beside herself.” But the jubilation was short-lived. Crimm began to experience terrifying symptoms: crippling headaches, tunnel vision and tremors that shook her entire body. She went to the doctor and got the devastating diagnosis: head and neck cancer. “She called me crying,” Phillips remembers. “She would say, ‘I’m not going to live long enough to have this baby.’ ” Crimm had a chance at survival — if she chose to undergo chemotherapy. But that might have put her growing fetus in danger. She called her brother to let him know that she’d decided that the risk to her daughter was too great. “She said, ‘If I have to make a decision, you know what that’s going to be,’ ” Phillips said. “Don’t even ask. I’ve lived my life.’ ” Phillips told Lauer he didn’t even try to dissuade his sister: “Her mind was made up. It was pretty cut and dried.” Crimm did her best to hang on so her little girl would have life. But the cancer was aggressive, and in August, Crimm collapsed in her home. She was rushed to the hospital, where doctors performed a C-section to deliver her little girl — 10 weeks premature and weighing just 2 pounds. The baby was sent to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, in a different building from where Crimm was being treated for cancer. NICU nurses couldn’t imagine that a mother who had given so much would never have a chance to see and hold her baby. They put little Dottie Mae in an incubator and wheeled her over to the unit where her mother lay dying. “It was just one of those things you know you have to do,” one nurse later recalled. They placed the little girl on her mother’s chest. Crimm watched her daughter for a few seconds and then she “lifted up her hands and just held her and just looked at her and smiled,” Phillips said. Crimm died three days later.

The Troubles TreeThe Troubles Tree

The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start. While I drove him home, he sat in stoney silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. After opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss. Afterward, he walked me to my car. We passed the tree, and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier. “Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied. “I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing for sure, troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning, I pick them up again.” “Funny thing is,” he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”