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A Time For Giving

Freddie Bevins would like to have a special Christmas present.

It’s not the sort of thing that can be bought from a showroom or a gift catalog—not a car, a boat, nor a skateboard.

Freddie wants a bone marrow transplant.

He’s a teenager with a lifelong medical condition called hypergammaglobinaemia and severe chronic neutropenia, which means his immune system doesn’t work the way it should. He could scratch his finger and it could be life-threatening.

“I’m hoping someone out there will know of someone who can find it in their heart to help us,” says Freddie’s mother, Shirley.

When sufficient funds are raised, the bone transplant will probably be done at Duke University, which means Shirley will have to move to Durham, North Carolina, for the approximately two years required for the completion of the procedure, which could save Freddie’s life.

“God has seen that he lives way past the time that the doctors gave him as a baby. He’s a good teenager but has been through 18 years of hospitals and surgeries,” says Shirley.

Contributions may be made to The Bevins Transplant Fund, c/o The Citizens Deposit Bank and Trust Company, 400 2nd Street, Vanceburg, KY 41179.

The money will be held in trust until the time of the transplant.

Freddie has been living a life similar to “David the Bubble Boy,” one of the last stories I covered as a CBS news correspondent. My heart went out to David, and I felt his pain all the more because our given names were the same. At that time I was not allowed to make a direct appeal for help. It’s called objective reporting. I was in Houston when David died because his bone marrow transplant was unsuccessful.

But now there’s Freddie.

He and I are headed down a bumpy road.

My prostate cancer is real but it’s nothing compared to Freddie’s immune system deficiency, and this time around I can speak out from this back page of Kentucky Living in this traditional month of giving and getting, and I can say to Freddie’s mother, help will be on the way.

May not be perfect, may not be all she and her family need to cope with the huge medical bills, but little by little, piece by piece, a resolution will occur. Each coin in the bone-transplant jars on the shelves of the Commonwealth of giving is important and appreciated.

Out of respect for Freddie’s precarious situation, I decided not to drive over to Lewis County to visit with him face to face, because even a sniffle from me could be his undoing. And I could never live with that. But we’ll communicate.

Here’s a young man who never asked to be one of the only 23 people worldwide who are believed to have this rare condition. He didn’t ask to be barred from the basketball floor or the football field. He would have liked to have spent irreplaceable years with his peers. Schooled at home, he just knuckled down and made the most of the hand he was dealt.

Freddie Bevins is a fighter. His mother, Shirley, and his father, Fred, are a family who have looked for answers beyond all the IVs and morphine injections, as many of the rest of us have looked beyond radiation and hormonal therapy to counter unfriendly cells that have invaded our bodies.

Our families, sharing in common cause, are reminded that what we all should do is pray for health, pray for recovery when we’re not well, and dedicate our lives to reducing human suffering whenever and wherever we can.

It just means living one day at a time, enjoying and being grateful for the essence of one more holiday season and the passing of another year on Mother Earth, where there’s always room for optimism.

The best is yet to come!

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