"I want to be who I wish I want to be. I mean. Not wish I want to be; what I am."
Dee-Vyne "Dee" Valentine, 12, is a male to female transgender. She left her former name, Dante, behind last school year and started the sixth grade in August 2014 with the name she feels represents who she is. Sensing the challenges that lie ahead, her mom, Christina Mays worried about the transition at first. But after educating herself on the high rate of suicides involving transgender people, she decided to do what she could to facilitate her daughter's wishes.
On her 12th birthday, as her family reminded her to make a wish before blowing out her candles she repeated, "every day, my wises come true."
Below are the pdfs of what the story looked like in print. A special thank you to the ever talented
for writing this story.
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black//and the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow//we shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow
and watch where the chalk-white arrows go//to the place where the sidewalk ends.
From, Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.
Ethan was 10 when he was diagnosed with Anaplastic Astrocytoma grade III, brain cancer. Doctors could extend his life with treatment, but they didn't have a cure.
I met him less than a month after he turned 11. He had posters of strong Marine Corps men up in his room and slept with a teddy bear at night.
He wished that everyone with cancer would just keep fighting because that's what he was doing.
He imagined himself as a superhero. Just like them, his body was full of radiation.
He prayed every night because he believed that God was who gave him the disease and who would also take it away.
Even after doctors said there was nothing they could do, Ethan continued to live.
With the help of his mom Maria, he got to do so much.
He was just getting to some of the things he wanted to do.
It all went so fast after Christmas, about two years after diagnosis.
Maria and Ethan were dealing with the departure of one of them.
It was the beautiful things that made me feel the most. Like when Ethan was too weak to play video games, but he'd still muster the energy to wrap his arm around someone for a hug.
His mom would do anything she could. But nothing could be done.
In July of this year the hurting took over.
Cancer stole the rest of his life.
's story, there's a quote from Maria that I think about. "Mourn the loss of your child; don't mourn the loss of your child's life."
Life is valuable. There is so much beauty to be found. But it is a precious and fleeting gift.
I hope that one day soon we can prevent cancer, or at least cure people of it. Until then we can do a better job at directing funds to pediatric patients and we can give more to the organizations that help pay household bills for parents of kids with cancer.
*If anyone is interested in the full story, you can find part one, two and three