Janelle's Blog

Outcry of Compassion from a Two-Year Old

The evening sparkled with excitement as I was escorted across the grand ballroom at Union Station in Chicago to meet Roger Ebert. Known as the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize and credited by Forbes as “the most powerful pundit in America,” Ebert had encouraged Oprah to take her show into syndication and had given me hours of entertainment from the movies he recommended.

Towering banners with hues of pink were lit from the vaulted ceiling, illuminating the words, Hope & Healing, the name of the 55th Annual Benefit Gala held by the Swedish Covenant Hospital Foundation. Color-filled bouquets of flowers, long-gowned stately women, and distinguished gentlemen filled the room to almost 1,000 attendees.

Swedish Covenant Hospital Foundation was honoring both National Breast Cancer Foundation and Roger and Chaz Ebert with Spirit of Compassion Awards.

Chaz, whose vast awards and accomplishments included being a trial lawyer and vice president of the Ebert Company, paled in the light of her warmth as she gave me a memorable hug, the kind that makes you not want to let go of someone who obviously embraces life with passion.

She introduced me to Roger, whose smile exuded genuine excitement. He looked dapper, draped with a long, white silk scarf over his black tuxedo. I sat down in the empty chair beside him and started talking with him, even knowing that he was unable to speak from a bout with thyroid cancer. He reached for a pen and quickly wrote on a hand-sized, spiral pad that the man next to him was William Nack, author of Secretariat, the latest book made into a movie.

“Roger, tell me what you think of Secretariat,” I said with a grin. He quickly gave his famous “thumbs up” signal.

Everything about the evening was inspirational. NBCF has supported Swedish Covenant for several years at their Foundation, and reminiscing made me proud of them for the continued work they have done with our funds to help underserved women fight breast cancer.

Compassion Begins at Home

While I was in Chicago receiving a Spirit of Compassion Award, something was happening back home that deeply moved me.

Compassion seems to be a virtue that is developed over years of experiences. Never did I think that my two-year old grandson, Colin, would exhibit a memorable act of compassion toward his sister.

My son, Kevin,  told the story of how his two children were getting ready for bed. Seven-year old Ellie slipped and crashed hard against the bathtub, cutting a gash in her chin and bruising her chest. The pain was so great that she started crying hysterically. Within seconds Colin was so overcome with his sister’s suffering, that he cried inconsolably.

Their dad relates the story, “As Ellie realized why he was crying, I will never forget the look of love on her face when Colin held out his arms to her. They desperately collapsed in each other’s arms and cried together. It was one of the most beautiful things my eyes have ever beheld,” he said. After a trip to the Emergency Room, life was patched back up.

A Hurting World

I ask myself how attuned I am to the hurts and needs of others? How I long to look at people with the same compassion as my two-year old grandson. I hope I never lose sight of the needs of others and never take an award like Spirit of Compassion for granted. Compassion begins at home.

Thought for Today:

“Man may dismiss compassion from his heart, but God never will.”—William Cowper

Live Life,


Let’s Talk: What was a time when you were overcome by compassion for others?

Reader's Comments

5 Responses to Outcry of Compassion from a Two-Year Old
  1. Melissa Jackson
    December 3, 2010 | 10:12 am

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 07-17-09 at Baylor in Downtown Dallas, Tx. The young doctor I was seeing in the outpatient clinic would not take “no” for an answer. I had rebelled against having a mammogram since my last one in 2001. It was so painful (even more so than normal because I have very inflamed fibrous tissue in both breasts). After my husband reminded me that I made a promise to my mother before she died of colon cancer that I would make sure I didn’t have cancer anywhere, I consented to have the mammogram. It was only 3mm and all of it was taken out through the needle biopsy. I had a lumpectomy just to make sure there was no more and there wasn’t. One year later I went through the same process because they found abnormal cells in the other breast. But no cancer was found in the surgical biopsy. I am wondering if I will have to go through this type of testing every year from now on. I know I am very blessed to be one of those women whose breast cancer was detected early and spared all the pain and agony of dealing with treatments, meds, and major surgery. God is good. And I have much work to do for Him. I am thankful for the people who have done all the research and testing for all women everywhere to be able to detect this cancer early and save our lives. Thank you for your part in all this.

  2. Deb
    January 9, 2011 | 11:02 pm

    So powerful. I have only worked on behalf of breast cancer for six months and this story is so familiar. Thank you for sharing. If you have a chance to watch this wonderful video done by a group of young men, one of whom’s mother is fighting breast cancer right now, it is powerful. A reminder of all who are out there supporting the women and their families. http://www.jukekartel.com watch the Brightest Star video. You will shed a tear but also feel hope.

  3. Hollie Hoffmann
    March 22, 2011 | 11:11 pm

    I love reading your blog! It’s so informative and moving! I, myself, am two weeks from a double mastectomy. Being 33, that’s even more overwhelming.

    Anyway, I would love for you to check out my blog and let me know what you think!

    Your feedback would be invaluable! 🙂


  4. Venita Dorsey
    April 27, 2011 | 9:50 am

    What a heartfelt story–thank you for sharing. In the summer of 2010, I experience an instant moment of compassion when a young lady who was homeless, came to class. We were in the midst of going through a 12 week pre apprenceship construction training to sharpen our job readiness and develop tools and techniques for learning about the construction industry. This particular morning, my classmate arrived to class, dirty; her hair was a mess and she was wearing sun glasses. The expression on her face told me something deseparately was wrong. When we broke for am break, I pulled her to the side and she shared that she had been “maced” in the eyes. That a physical fight had broken out in the apartment complex where she was temporarily staying. In short, she had know where to lay her lay–she was homeless, joblessl and I felt the heart of God reaching out to her in an instance.

  5. Vous publiez toujours des posts fascinants

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