Krishelle Layton, 30, reached out to me. She sent me a Facebook message asking if I would be willing to write about her son Dorian. She loved the way I wrote about others and thought I would do a good job describing her son's life.
Her son is 5-years-old. She describes him as fun and playful. He is full of life and he loves to make people happy. He lights up her life... just like her two other kids.
But on July 17th 2009, Dorian was diagnosed with an inoperable, untreatable malignant brain-stem tumor. Hearing her son has cancer was one of the hardest things for Krishelle.
Dorian has his good and his bad days. His mom told me Dorian is strong each day and she sees so much hope and power in him. That is why she wanted me to write about him.
Instead of writing about Dorian, I wanted to do something else. I wanted a 5-year-old living with cancer to tell his story. I wanted his mom to hear it first hand and I wanted her to truly see the beauty in his own words.
As a writer, I would tell Dorian's story my way. That is not fair to a 5-year-old. That is not fair to his mom.
So I wrote down some questions. I told Krishelle to interview her son. I told her not to edit the words or sentence structure. I told her if she did, the true beauty of the story would not be there.
Dorian being interviewed by his mom:
Mom: What is your name?
Dorian: Ha! Dorian.
Mom: What is your favorite color?
Dorian: Because I just like it. Ninjas wear red. Cars are red. And red is on the flag.
Mom: Why do you want to make people happy?
Dorian: I feel in my heart that everybody should be happy.
Mom: How do you feel when someone is sad?
Dorian: Awful. I want them to be happy.
Mom: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Dorian: A ninja and a cop and a chef. I want to be a ninja the most.
Mom: If you could tell people one thing, what would it be?
Dorian: I think other people should know about heaven. I think they should not be afraid to go. People have to go heaven alone. I think the brothers and sisters should be happy when people go.
Mom: What is God to you?
Dorian: A shield that keeps me from bad spirits.
Mom: Do you know what cancer is?
Dorian: A bad cell that makes my taste buds change. I don't know where it comes from.
Mom: Do you think you will defeat cancer?
Dorian: Do you remember that video we saw on the Internet? It was on Google, actually. It was about killing the cancer with nanotubes. The nanotube is gonna sink in and heat up and it blows up the cancer.
Mom: Do you love your brother and sister?
Mom: Do you love your mom?
Dorian: Yeah. A lot. Bigger than anything.
After I got the interview I asked Krishelle how she felt afterwards:
"When I interviewed Dorian, his answers made me so proud of what an empathetic, "old soul" he is, and his enthusiasm for ninjas always makes me smile. When he talked about the nanotubes, I was a little shocked that he understood the concept, but he surprises me all the time with exactly how aware and well-spoken he is. Whenever Dorian talks about God and heaven, I always get a little choked up but I hold back the tears until I'm alone; it hurts that any child would have a need for understanding something so much bigger than himself. Still, that's why Dorian is such a blessing and why his message should reach as many people as possible. He embodies hope and courage and love."
As a writer I enjoy telling stories and writing about people. But there is one thing I learned a long time ago.
A brave 5-year-old will tell his story better than any writer ever will.
Especially to his mom.