Thirteen-year-old Barry Simon died Saturday.
The Missoula boy had caught the attention and admiration of hundreds across the state during his fight with a rare genetic disease called Fanconi anemia.
During his past two years of medical treatment in Seattle, hundreds, most of who had never met Barry, wrote letters and sent email—one couple even doled out a weekly $5 allowance.
Early last month, Barry happily quit the transfusions that had been keeping him alive, stopped taking all but a few of his 30-plus medications and returned home, where he could be surrounded by friends and family, to die.
Occasionally there are stories that make you stop. Stop worrying about your own problems. Stop wasting time. Stop and appreciate your health. Barry’s story is a stopper.
If you haven’t read Vince Devlin’s stories about Barry (Last goodbye: After two years in Seattle, Barry Simon comes home to die; and Barry Simon dies in mother’s arms), read them. I can’t tell you what you’ll gain from Barry’s story; I imagine it’s a different lesson for each person. But, I can tell you you’ll gain something. I can’t imagine how you couldn’t learn from a 13-year-old who’s able to face something most of us are terribly afraid of with such candor.
Barry’s story also serves as an important reminder to journalists: Sometimes the best stories don’t come from the borders of war-torn countries, political scandal, or crime. Sometimes they come in the form of a sick 13-year-old boy who’s wiling to share his story.
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