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It's my birthday tomorrow.  I don't want to do this, but I have no choice.  It's all around me.  Literally coming at me from every direction imaginable.  It's ok.  I'm alright with being "that guy".  I've decided that I will write about my days in the life of an educational leader but when the time strikes, I will write about my personal life.  This is one of the times I am taking a little bit of time to write about what's going on in my life.

Tomorrow, my family and I will wake up early and head up to Paris, Texas.  We have some family in Paris but we aren't going there to see them, although we do plan on making a stop.  We are going to see a family we have grown close to throughout Avery's treatment for Hepatoblastoma.  They just lost their little one to Neuroblastoma.  Tomorrow is her funeral.

I have a student who fought and beat Leukemia several years ago.  I didn't know her when she was fighting and I didn't know her when she came back to school, with no hair and a little hesitant to the reality of a "normal" child.  I met her a little over a year ago when I was assigned to my current school as an Assistant Principal.  I learned about her battle right as we were learning about the one, our then 2 year old, girl was about to embark on.  I made it a point to visit this little girl on a daily basis.  She was a beacon of hope.  She is a beacon of hope.  She recently relapsed and is fighting the fight again.  I've taken some time to stop by her hospital room both when my daughter was there receiving treatment and when she was not.  She and my wife ran into each other the other day when they were both in clinic getting transfusions.  Small world, right?

Well, today she visited me.  For my birthday.  She brought me a dozen (red) roses.  A picture frame, which I can't wait to put a picture of her and me in, and an amazing little hand written card.  Best of all, she sang Happy Birthday to me.  This took some practice as she is fluent in Spanish and working on those English skills.

How friggin' awesome is that?  It took most of my strength not to cry.  Well, maybe I did a little.

Want to know what my wife got me for my birthday?

Anthony Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma when he was 18.  He beat it.  Now he's the stud cleanup hitter for the Chicago Cubs.  Boom!

Want to know what I want you to get me for my birthday?  Find a pediatric cancer foundation and throw a couple bucks their way.  Here's a few we support...

St. Baldricks

Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation 

Alex's Lemonade Stand

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  Especially when I talk about pediatric cancer.

Cheers to this next year of my life.  The big 33.


  1. LOVE this post. You're a true leader because you are genuine, through and through, Ben Braden!

  2. Best. post. ever. Happy birthday!

  3. Best. post. ever. Happy birthday!


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