Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sad news and what you can do to help

I just wanted to post this news about a respected and well loved gaming community individual, Tom Vasel, and the crisis his family is going through right now. Their newborn son, Jack, is in the NICU in Miami, Florida. He was born two months premature in November and has been fighting ever since.

Jack Vasel

The details are on an update thread posted by Tom but here's the short story: the fight has been up and down with some good news, then some setbacks. The worst news yet came on Monday (yesterday now at the time of this posting)....he has fought off bacteria in the brain (E. Coli Meningitis) which had already been eating holes in it and now has hit a second time and he is ravaged so severely he has not much of a life left if he does survive.

The family is facing some difficult choices.

I know how difficult that can be. My wife was pregnant with twins in 2001-2002. At first it was a shock, and then it was a blessing. Then we learned that one twin had a bladder outlet problem and wasn't developing properly. We headed to San Francisco to find out if anything could be done. Apparently there was a procedure that can be performed that might fix the problem, but it would likely endanger the health of the other twin. It was not an easy decision to make - to choose life for one and not for the other - and we opted for not doing the procedure to give the other a chance. Unfortunately, about a month before coming to term, the one we were hoping would survive passed in utero. We of course second guessed our decision for a while afterwards. We had a special ceremony to honor them, I wrote a poem that I read at the ceremony (see end of post) and we remember them every year in June.

We had the support of our family and friends and that helped tremendously in the healing process.

The medical and other expenses were manageable for us. But for the Vasel family, I'm betting it is overwhelming. There has already been one board game auction to help Tom's family pay for medical expenses for Jack and now there is another auction that is going on to benefit them.

If you have an account on (or wish to create one) you can then click on the update link from further above to offer some kind words. (Side note: If you create an account, remember you CANNOT change it in the future, so choose a username carefully)

Or, if you are so inclined, you can also contribute a game to the auction or bid on a game to help their cause as well. I know I'll be bidding on at least a couple of items to offer support. I have supported other similar auctions in the past and it is very fulfilling to know you are helping someone out with your bid.

I should also state that being a member of BGG is one of the greatest communities I could hope to be a part of. Yes, it is largely virtual, but it often spills into the real world with real people getting together and spending fun and games together.

But, it's a community founded not just on a hobby and having fun, but also on trust, honesty, compassion and dignity for one another. I am proud to be part of that community and hope to remain so for many years to come.

For Daniel and Aaron
June 12, 2002 - June 12, 2002

Our dear sweet boys
we miss you so much,
we long for your heartbeats
your faces to touch.

Each night before we
fall asleep
we think of you dearly 
and hold thoughts that we keep,
of your beautiful faces
resting in peace.

(We felt you kick
and saw you move,
we heard the swoosh-swoosh;
memories we cannot, will not, remove
from our minds or our hearts)

Our dear little boys
you are two rays of light,
twin stars in a sky
that isn't quite right.

We expected bright days,
tender nights, golden suns,
but it seems as though grays
pervade all we see, dear little ones,
sad clouds obscuring
your joy and laughter from our lives.

(We held your new bodies
so quiet and still.
We kissed your soft cheeks
and rocked with you 'til
it was time)

Our dear baby boys
we miss you so much
we long for your heartbeats,
your little fingers and toes to touch.

We know you are in heaven
with family and friends,
you appeared with great-grandma
and said good-bye at the end.
We will always miss you and love you
and will never forget our dear sweet little baby boys.

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