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Oliver's Buddy

Sunday, August 14, 2011

:::EDIT:  If you'd like to read more about Dana's and her husband's journey, you can find their blog at http://hurstfamilyupdate.blogspot.com.  The family just recently made the blog public due to an overwhelming response of people wanting to keep them in their prayers.  The family's greatest need right now is for prayer, specifically that David will get insurance approval for Thursday's scheduled surgery at MD Anderson.  At this point, it has been denied despite MD Anderson's recommendation that the awake craniotomy take place immediately.  To read more, click here..:::

A few weeks ago, I put out a request among those in my church to find a sweet college student who would be willing to be Oliver's "buddy."  Having identified how much time Bennett's care takes during the week and realizing through Play Therapy that Oliver needed more one-on-one attention from a loving adult, I sought to find someone to love on Oliver.

I needed someone who would put Oliver first - just like Brian and I do - but only Oliver first.  Bennett is the one who gets all of the attention, it seems.  He's the youngest, the baby, "the sick one" and a darn cute kid at that.  It's easy to fall in love with him.  The nurses at his clinics love him.  He has numerous therapists who we meet with weekly to work with him who love him.

But little Oliver, I realized, several months ago, does not get this type of attention.  He's just a normal kid...a normal kid with a sick brother who catches everybody's eye.

So, I decided I needed to be more intentional with him.  We have been in Play Therapy since January, which has been AMAZING!!  And we put him in a Mom's Day Out program this summer, which was fantastic.  Then, we enrolled him a physical activity to give him an opportunity to burn off activity.  But what still lacked was someone who could love on him as much as Mom and Dad...someone whom he wouldn't compete against Bennett with for attention.



I feel so blessed to have received the name of a sweet college student in our church, named Amanda, who enthusiastically stepped up to be Oliver's buddy.  She's an education student at Baylor who happily picks up Oliver at our house every week and takes Oliver fun places, just him and her.  They've been to the movies, to visit a Firehouse and to the Waterpark, just to name a few.  She is so phenomenal.  She loves him and he loves her.


I am touched by Amanda's thoughtfulness and willingness to care for my child for nothing in return.  Not only does she spend time with him, but she thinks about his needs first.  (For example, during our recent trip to Missouri, she gave him a box of wrapped fruit snacks and toy cars for him to open on his trip.  He LOVED it!)  She also gives me a break.  I always know he is having the time of his life with her, all while I have a chance to spend a little special non-treatment, non-therapy time with Bennett (or even time to myself)!



One of the highlights after Oliver's time with "Miss Amanda" is to pick up McDonalds and bring it back to his room where they sit on the floor and have a picnic. Oliver doesn't really know why Amanda comes to play with him, but he does know that she really cares for him.  Her love teaches him that he is safe and loved.



Amanda teaches me about sacrifice.  Weekly, she sacrifices her time to be with my little guy, in order that I can shield him from the disease that sucks up so much of our family's energy and resources.  Thank you, Amanda, for what you do for Oliver and for our entire family!!  You mean so much to us!!

4 Responses to “Oliver's Buddy”

  1. Those education majors at Baylor are the best, huh?? HA! She looks so sweet and I'm really glad that YOU are getting some breaks my sweet friend!!! Let me have this baby, get settled, and we'll start thinking of a way for us to get together again!

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  2. Wonderful!!! I am so glad Oliver is getting to have such fun adventures!

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  3. that is FANTASTIC!!! i love that he has miss amanda! that's awesome!

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  4. that was really me, julie mck....i didn't mean for that to be anonymous!

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