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Forever Nine Years Old
September 19, 2009

As a senior in high school, I've been busy writing my college essays. One of the prompts was to elaborate on a person who has influenced me, and to describe that influence. I had no difficulty in choosing my topic. I know it doesn't contain the full synopsis and many details, but I did have a length limit. While I did write this essay to hopefully get into my college of choice, I was writing it for Evan and his family as well. It is just a simple way for me to show that Evan lives on and continues to inspire me everyday.
Forever Nine Years Old
Evan Christian Cousineau, a small and lively little boy, will never know the impact he has on my daily thoughts and actions. How can a seemingly naïve, young child have such a strong hold over me?
While cheering his team on to victory, I laugh to myself at the sight of Evan’s coaches trying to contain his boundless energy and enthusiasm. Days later, this same bundle of energy was diagnosed with a metabolic disorder, ALD, which in the course of six months would rob him of his sight, his speech, and eventually his life. After being told Evan’s disease was terminal, his family refused to accept the idea of his suffering and death, and they found refuge and hope at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, which pioneered bone marrow transplants for boys like Evan. A double cord transplant from two unidentified donors was a success and it seemed Evan would recover. Unfortunately, post-transplant infection took his life on the eve of his and his twin sister’s tenth birthday.
Through Evan’s ordeal, I am reminded that life is fragile and fleeting, and that tragedy does not discriminate against young or old, rich or poor. We are all susceptible. The silver lining on this very dark cloud is the lesson I learned in giving. I can give blood, I can give bone marrow, and I can be a hero to someone in need. We all feel inclined to help our family and friends, but Evan has influenced me to look past my immediate relationships and recognize my potential to affect the lives of complete strangers.
Everyone has the potential to be a hero. Nine year old Evan showed me the way. How will you be a hero?
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