I'm back from a wonderful trip to Chicago, to celebrate Elton's recovery from surgery with many of the people who helped make it happen. On Wednesday night we all met at Maggiano's in Chicago. I had not seen Elton since December 2007, when I was in his home, and saw the enormous knee that was causing his leg to go numb. To see him sitting in a fancy restaurant in Chicago! Amazing!
Also present was the entire Castaldo clan, who are hosting Elton's visit: Angela and Chris Castaldo; Luke, who has hemophilia; Philip; and Simeon. I have met Luke and Philip before but not Simeon, who is as every bit as handsome and well behaved as his brothers. Dr. Len Valentino not only came but hosted the entire evening. Audrey Taylor, nurse at RUSH University joined us, and Kimberly, the admin for the HTC. Also the lovely Nancy, his physical therapist, who I think has the hardest job in the world. And best of all, Neil Herson, Elton's sponsor through our nonprofit Save One Life. Neil had provided Elton's airfare and this evening, showered him with presents: a new soccer ball, sports clothes, new sports sneakers, a laptop! (You should have seen Elton's eyes) Elton was already looking pretty hip with his new iPod (a gift from Dr. V) but now he was really GQ quality! Accompanying Neil was Stephanie Miller, director of marketing at ASD Healthcare, where Neil is president.
Elton has a dazzling smile and gentle demeanor that charms everyone he meets. He was so grateful for all the attention and gifts. He is now walking on crutches, feeling better and working hard at his PT.
Thanks to everyone who supported Elton, who sent money, who sent gifts. Thanks to Wyeth for the great donation of factor IX. We've been able to extend Elton's visit two more weeks, to give him more time to do PT and heal. Please continue to read all about Elton at http://www.chris-tocentric.com and leave Elton a message there! He will get it, I promise!
Elton--18 years old, traveling half way across the world, never having been on a plane before, or even out of your town, trusting total strangers-- you are an inspiration and a courageous young man!
Great Book I Just Re-Read
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This is the beginning of all people skills, self improvement books, first published in 1937, and still relevant and vital. It's a basic "how to" manage people and develop the self to be better at motivating others, getting along with others and making a difference. Very easy to read, and chock full of real life examples, from history and also just every day people, Carnegie is entertaining, motivating and stresses kindness over efficiency. His principles are truths and you can really see a difference in your relationships if you start to use them, Incidentally, I applied these in raising my children, and they work beautifully to raise respectful and polite children. You can read this in one night probably, but its impact will last a lifetime. Four stars; a classic.