Printed from ChabadVI.org

An inspiring Birthday Party

An inspiring Birthday Party

Friday, 2 July, 2010 - 1:19 pm

 Email

As a parent of five young children I have the wonderful opportunity to participate in many birthday parties of youngsters; the kids always enjoy themselves and as a parent it is a pleasure to see them having a good time.

shira.jpgThis week Chani and I and all of our children participated in a birthday party which was different. Very different.  For one thing, Shira Fisher, celebrating her 5th birthday was wearing a beautiful Indian dress.  I'm sure you are wondering what was so special about this party and why the birthday girl was wearing such interesting clothes?!...

Five years ago, shortly after the Baby Naming and Kiddush of the newborn Shira, her parents were notified by a doctor that she has SMA type 1 (spinal muscular atrophy), a genetic neuromuscular disease that causes severe degeneration of the muscles. This meant that the child would have almost no ability to move most of her limbs, and doctors predicted she would live for two to three years.

Sitting with the Fishers that night was very painful; Brad and Maxine were absolutely devastated. What do you tell the parents of such a beautiful baby who have just heard this kind of news?

Shira's health was very unstable and we started visiting her regularly at the hospital, saying Tehilim by her bed and praying for her health and strength.

Brad dropped his work and career and invested one hundred percent of his time in Shira. He studied the disease and the dangers as well as the ways he could give Shira the most comfort and well-being. Together with Maxine he found the best experts in the world in this field and they have used numerous methods and every kind of equipment they can get to help Shira be happier and stronger.  They made a special play zone in their backyard with a special structure that Shira can enjoy. Brad has invested every part of himself in ensuring that Shira is as happy and comfortable as possible.

Over time, I have learned an amazing lesson from Brad. I was able to watch clearly how he changed from focusing on his pain and distress to focusing on ways he can improve her life. It was clear that one day Brad said to himself "I have no idea why this happened to me, to our family, but I clearly understand my mission - I need to make sure that Shira has the best life she can".

What a tremendous lesson. Instead of thinking of the suffering , think of the calling.  Never ask why something has happened, ask how you can help the situation; define your life mission based on what you encounter.

Now you probably wonder how all of this connects with Shira wearing an Indian dress on her fifth birthday. Brad did not only think of Shira and his family. Since he has learned so much over the last five years about what can be done for this disease, he has become a source of information for dozens of families across the globe. Other families on the edge of despair have benefited tremendously from his advice and guidance. One of these families is from India, and as a gift to Brad and Shira they sent a beautiful dress for her fifth birthday...

May the Al-mighty give us the wisdom and strength in challenging times to see our mission and our calling and to do it full time, since this may be the reason why we are here.

Comments on: An inspiring Birthday Party
7/2/2010

Brad Fisher wrote...

Thank you for the kind words, prayers and support over the years Rabbi Kaplan! We have spent almost 100 days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit over the past 41/2 years and many of those days you and Chani spent many of those days with us, feeding us, praying with us, comforting us, caring for our son Sammy at your house! Caring for a child with a life threatening illness takes a team and I'm so happy you are on our team! Have a blessed, peaceful, Gut Shabbos. Brad
7/2/2010

Shoshana Litman wrote...

Thank you, Brad and Rabbi Kaplan, for sharing Shirah's story and reminding us of what matters most. Having only had the honor of seeing Shirah a few times, I appreciate each rare glimpse of her extraordinary soul.
With blessings for continued nachas from all our sweet children.
Shoshana
7/2/2010

Shoshana Litman wrote...

Thank you, Brad and Rabbi Kaplan, for sharing Shirah's story and reminding us of what matters most. Having only had the honor of seeing Shirah a few times, I appreciate each rare glimpse of her extraordinary soul.
With blessings for continued nachas from all our sweet children.
Shoshana
7/2/2010

Marvin Sharpe wrote...

Let me tell you about this wonderful child Shira Fisher. She has a beautiful face with gorgeous light brown hair. Her eyes, oh her eyes they light up the area around her.We sing many songs. She remembers all the words. We play balloon ball and she laughs with such glee. When I come through the door even though she can't see me, she knows its me and calls out my name. I have come to realize that she does much more for me than I could ever do for her. Shira and I are friends and will be forever.
7/4/2010

Lesley and Bryan Friedmann wrote...

Shira, Happy Birthday. It was wonderful to see you in your beautiful Indian outfit, but it was even more amazing to see you celebrate your 5th birthday!! Your face was radiating such excitement, love and happiness. What a lovely ray of light you are to those around you. Mazal Tov sweetie and we look forward to many more birthday celebrations with you.