When Maria Sirois did her psychology internship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's pediatric oncology ward valuable life lessons abounded from the children she counseled, lessons that can guide anyone through a difficult time into a more meaningful life. Astounded by the children's ability to adapt, to be giving, forgiving, and creative even while in pain, she learned that they seemed to know intuitively what adults struggle to remember - that playing builds resiliency; kindness always helps, love is not a cure but is a powerful antidote to pain; meaning in life comes not from what happens to us but who we are in response to what happens; and every day counts, even if it's a bad day, it still counts.
Every Day Counts gently leads us through the emotional minefield of life-threatening illness' and reveals how having an open heart allows hope and joyfulness to coexist with pain and crisis. The lessons of these children touch not only their families but their therapists, doctors, and nurses, who strive to cope with the ongoing strain of caring for the seriously ill, of being touched by grief yet not consumed by it. Maria revels in the big triumphs - some kids cured or in remission - and in the momentary victories, such as that of a seven-year-old, scheduled to have her leg amputated, who challenges Maria to a hopping race and gleefully celebrates, "I'm winning, I'm winning." The children's innocence, joy, vulnerability, humor, and courage are gifts that can help us all live more fully awakened, more resilient to the difficult moments, and more prepared to fall in love with our own lives again and again.
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