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  • Writer's pictureSharon Bina

Seth Darnell - Inspired People When Living - Still Inspiring People Today

This was written to Seth’s Mother from a staff member at Scottish Rite hospital which shows the lasting impact Seth continues to have on people today.

I met Seth and his Dad on their first visit to the hospital. They were looking for the prosthetics department and I walked them down to that department. Seth was in Jr. High but I was struck by his calm demeanor and angelic presence. He was wise beyond his years. I’ll never forget his energy.

Later when a trustee reached out about wanting to donate a bicycle to a patient, we arranged for Seth to be the recipient. I remember the photo of him standing in the hallway with the bike and his fancy prosthesis. And he was genuinely excited to try something new. He was clearly an athlete at heart.

A couple years later, I was sitting in a conference room with Mr. Jones and we were talking about what kids we could use for a special project. I mentioned Seth…. And Mr. Jones looked at me puzzled and said “But Ms. Smith, Seth died.” It was heart wrenching and I left the room in tears. The words died felt so final. How could someone so innocent be taken from the earth? I couldn’t get my head around it. Tears flow down my face now as I think about him and what his family must have gone through.

Over the years I have thought of Seth from time to time. He pops in my head as a calming energy or inspiring figure. It’s hard to explain but he is an angle in my life. I don’t have words - just a knowing that he is there.

Most recently, I was diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy. At one point I choked up at the gravity and reality of what my journey will be. I will deal with progressive weakness and limitations as the condition progresses over the course of my life, but I’m grateful it’s not terminal.

When the devastating news was delivered about my illness, the therapist looked at me and said she was sorry to ask so many questions and then offered these supportive words…. “When I have something hard in my life, I think of inspiring stories or people.” For her it’s a woman who had a rare form of cancer but still run marathons. As she touched a small silver cross around her neck, she let me know her faith is very important to her and how much she leans on it. Then she asked me if I have an inspiring person to think about.

I smiled and said “yes, I have people who inspire me,” and I thought of Seth. His angelic face and determination. I can’t explain it but I feel a connection to his story and his spirit.

Working at Scottish Rite, I met many children and families with incredible stories. I think of them and smile when I remember funny stories from arthritis camp or their ski trip. I feel a sense of pride for them when I see they’ve gone off to college or accomplished a life goal. I share in their joy and admire them from afar.

But Seth was different. All I can say is; I feel he is my angel. Your son touched the lives of so many people. I had very few encounters with him, but I know this, he inspires me to push on, smile and approach each day with calm and gratitude.

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