compassion in action – Steve and Josh Gardner

This letter hereunder was sent to me by Steve Gardner my friend in Kansas City. He is asking for help. In my way i will help him, i hope you will too.

Here’s a little story from the Talmud about asking and giving help. The great Rabbi Yehuda ha’Nasi was crossing the Galilean town of Tzipori one afternoon with his entourage of student scholars; they were heaving over him; collecting his words as if they were rare gems. Climbing the western hill towards the synagogue, oblivious to the bustle of daily street life they paid no attention to a peasant that was dragging a relentless calf when suddenly that calf broke free and charged straight at the Rabbi, grabbing him by the corner of his coat and pulling it as if to say: ‘Rabbi, don’t you see, they are leading me to the slaughter, help me’. The Rabbi looked down at the calf and without hesitance replied: ‘go, for this is the way of the world.’ Much suffering befell the entire city from that day on until the Rabbi understood his lesson and repented. The place of compassion is higher than that of wisdom. Indeed a calf led to the slaughter is the way of the world, but not so if that calf grabbed you personally by your coat and asked for help. Here’s Steve’s letter:

We need your help.

I am sending this email out to raise awareness of a tragic, chronic, and lifelong disease we are facing with our 3 year old son, Joshua. A little over one year ago, Josh was diagnosed with Eosinophilic GastroIntestinal Disease (EGID), a very rare immune system disease. The short explanation is that we all have eosinophils in our body whose job is to attack parasites. In Josh’s body, they attack all food as if it’s a parasite. As you might imagine, there are a number of complications that come from having your esophagus, stomach and intestines in a perpetual war zone, of sorts. Josh was placed on a naso-gastric feeding tube July 28th. We have removed all food from his diet since then and he has been sustained by a formula that essentially breaks food down to the amino acid level so the body doesn’t recognize it as food.

Due to the complexities of this disease, we have transferred his care to a specialist in Denver who is one of only a handful of experts on EGID nationwide. We are returning there November 6th for the next surgery and to evaluate whether our 18 month old son, Timothy, who is exhibiting all the same symptoms, also has the disease. (Many of you have asked how we are doing and we do have a blog at www.caringbridge.org/visit/myjosh.)