In his book, “A Thousand Small Sparrows,” published by Multnomah Publishing Group, Jeff Leeland, a teacher and activities director at Kamiakin Junior High near Seattle, Washington, tells about a family health and financial crisis that seemed hopeless until help arrived from unexpected places.
On the very day Leeland was offered the job at Kamiakin, his fourth child, Michael, was born. A new job and a new son: who could expect more?
Then, six months later, unexpected news arrived.
Michael was diagnosed as having a rare form of leukemia. Doctors said he would need a bone marrow transplant to save his life and, fortunately, Amy, his six-year-old sister, was a rare perfect donor match.
Hope blossomed now until unexpected news from Leland’s health insurance company informed them that Michael’s required surgery wasn’t covered because in their move to the new job they had changed carriers and the new insurance policy called for a 12 month waiting period for transplant benefits. In Michael’s case, the cost of the lifesaving procedure was two hundred thousand dollars.
Jeff Leland’s question was understandable: “How does a teacher come up with two hundred thousand dollars? He would never have expected the answer to his desperate cry rested in the compassionate heart of Dameon Sharkey, a student in one of his classes.
Walking into his teacher’s office one day with his mother close behind, Dameon said, “Mr. Leeland, if your baby’s in trouble, I’m going to help you out” and placed twelve five dollar bills into Leland’s hand, not knowing this gift of sixty dollars would start an avalanche of love that would save Michael’s life.
When the principal learned of Dameon’s gift, he opened a bank account with it called “The Michael Leeland Fund” and gifts began pouring in from young and old, rich and poor until the lifesaving surgery could take place.
In Leeland’s words:
“In the eye of the generosity hurricane that grace had unleashed, we watched in stillness from Michael’s bedside as the awesome power of love struck full fury against all odds. Miraculously, our immense financial barriers were blown away like dust. In less than four weeks after Dameon’s donation, the Michael Leeland Fund contained more than enough to schedule the transplant.
“A few weeks later, Amy donated her bone marrow to save her little brother’s life. Michael’s cancer went into remission—and today our son is a happy and healthy , football playing , amazing teen. He’s more than a survivor; he’s living proof that good can overcome despair.”
Following the Michael miracle, the Leelands and others formed a non-profit ministry to youth called “Sparrow Clubs USA.” The name reminds us that nothing escapes our Lord’s view, so His unlimited resources may arrive at any time.
And since our loving Lord sees every falling sparrow (Matthew 10:29), we can be sure He’s always watching out for you and me.