Matthew - Manchester, New Hampshire
Entered on April 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, illness

When I first watched the movie Miracle and saw a bunch of college kids from the U.S.A. overcome remarkable odds to defeat the Soviet Union men’s hockey team in the semifinals of the 1980 Winter Olympics, I wasn’t sure what a miracle really was. I believed that the game was an upset, but I needed something more to help prove to myself what a miracle actually was. I needed something that affected me on a more personal level. I realized that I didn’t have to look far for further inspiration.

My father acts as a living miracle to me. I believe surviving tongue cancer twice when being told by doctors that he had a 50/50 chance to live is a miracle. Although he is a two-time survivor at the age of 44, I believe the way he handled the whole situation was more of a miracle. He never complained, asked why it happened to him or why the doctors never found the cause of the cancer. He was always optimistic on those long rides down into Boston to see his doctors at Massachusetts General for treatment. He never felt bad for himself or thought I should either. When he was diagnosed the first time, I was in fifth grade. I didn’t really know much about cancer besides the fact that cancer kills people. When the cancer came back during my freshman year, I was more mature and educated on the facts about cancer. I knew how hard the fight would be because I knew the survival rate was significantly lower in cases of reoccurrence. I knew every minute I spent with my father could be his last. I cherished the rounds of golf we played together or the baseball games we watched. I was prepared for the side effects that I would see from chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. I believed in those doctors at Mass. General and the miraculous surgery they would perform on my father. I believed in the medicines that the doctors prescribed him would take away some of the pain.

My beliefs became true when the doctors told us they had gotten rid of the entire tumor. Do I believe that the cancer will come back? After learning the cancer had come back after the doctors had gotten the entire tumor the first time, I believe anything is possible. I know my father has changed physically since his operations. His eating, drinking, and talking habits have all changed and are very noticeable. I also know, however, that what didn’t kill him only made him stronger. My father showed me how to have courage, have heart, and most of all, how to believe. Consequently, I believe that miracles can shape a person’s life for the better.

My father showed me that miracles really do happen. Now, whenever I hear that famous question by Al Michaels at the end of the U.S.A.-U.S.S.R. game, “Do you believe in miracles?,” my answer is always and will always be yes.