Monday, August 08, 2005

Not really a football story

This story tells of the illness and recovery of the young daughter of former U.Va. assistant coach Mike London, now with the Houston Texans. It ends with this:

The doctors warned Mike and Regina that for one year Ticynn could reject the transplant.

The Londons changed their lifestyle. Ticynn couldn't be around large crowds. She couldn't go to school. And even in quick trips to the grocery store, Ticynn had to wear a mask.

She stunned doctors with her recovery. Instead of being forced to take a year off of school, doctors let her return in January.

She still had restrictions. If a classmate started coughing excessively, Ticynn would place a mask over her face. She had to skip school assemblies and field trips.

On the first anniversary of the transplant, Ticynn threw the masks in the garbage, and the entire family celebrated what they called her "New Life Birthday." They made a pact to celebrate it every year.

Ticynn wasn't the only one whose life changed during the past five years. In the dim light of Mike London's office, the tears return as he thinks back. But these are tears of disbelief and wonder, hope and love.

"When you look at her, you look at life," London said. "You look at a gift that was given to her through me. She's literally a part of me.

"I've always been full of energy, but I wear my emotions on my sleeve, and that's just the way it is. I was worried about that, being a college guy and coming here. But I'm not going to change because there's too much for me to celebrate. I celebrate life every day now."

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