A few weekends ago, we were at Elizabeth's celebrating Blake's birthday with the family, and on Sunday I went out to get some milk and the Sunday paper. I picked the Times, and in the magazine was an article about a Dorset family who had lost their teenage son (David, who went by "DD") to brain cancer. I recognized the name of the mother (Sacha Langton-Gilks) as someone who our friend Mel had shared some Facebook posts about, in her efforts to increase the awareness of early signs of brain tumors through the HeadSmart campaign. The boy's father teaches music at a prison, and when his prisoner students found out that the reason he'd been away was that he was spending time with his son during DD's last days, they decided they wanted to record a song in his memory. The story reduced me to a bubbling tear factory, and it also made me want to help spread the word and help their campaign in memory of DD.
The song is really lovely and since I've bought it (here, at amazon.co.uk or here for iTunes - go on, it's not a lot of money and will go a long way toward getting the message out, hopefully saving lives in the future if people can identify the cancer early), I've listened to it every now and again and it hasn't failed to move me. It causes me to think about all the ways that mothers and fathers love their children, and about how fragile life is and how we must hug our loves one tightly and be thankful for every day and every moment. It's also inspired me to think about the way social networking has changed the way messages are shared across the world, across groups of people who have never met but have common links and purposes, and across communities. It's pretty amazing. As are people who campaign tirelessly, overcoming grief and sadness to try to turn tragedy into something positive. I admire the Langton-Gilks family and hope that "Song for DD" gets the coverage that it deserves. Feel free to help spread the message by liking the "Song for DD" and Sacha Langton-Gilks pages on Facebook.