My Friend Mick on Day 0 – a special midweek RFL


This is a special mid-week RFL inspired by Mick McKellar. Actually, it’s all Mick. He had a complete bone marrow transplant on Monday at the Mayo Clinic, and the next day wrote the spectacular intro and poem he’s let me paste below. At the time he wrote it, he could hardly hold liquids down, yet somehow found the strength and inspiration to pen this. Amazing.

I added a post script (p.s.) about Mick to Monday’s RFL, which said that I’ll give all proceeds from the sale of Be Real this week to Mick, to help defray some of the enormous costs of his treatment and (nine different) medications.  About 50 people did so.  Thanks!   When you read what he’s written you’ll see something of why I so admire him.

Keep leading with your best self,


An epic battle is underway in my body, and I am rooting for my home team to lose! When the process is complete, my blood DNA will be my brother’s, yet my tissue will be my own or some admixture of the two. Crazy huh? It boggles the imagination that my brother, Kevin’s gift is the only way left for me to survive beyond a few months. I grew up in a time when leukemia was a death sentence from which there was no parole, no pardon.

Well, yesterday was Day 0, the day my brother’s stem cells and T-cells took up residence in my blood stream. As with most visits from relatives, the initial meeting was cordial and friendly. However, after the discovery that the visit is a permanent one, struggles over storage space, sleeping quarters, and who gets the remote were bound to begin. There will be conflicts with the neighbors, but mediators are being sent in to help keep conflict to appropriate levels. Eventually, it is hoped that all will become friends and learn to live together.

And as a nice side-effect, I get to live longer. Today is Day +1, what a grand thought and what a wonder to be grateful to one’s own brother for!

Mick Day 0

Imagine you hold a great gift of life,
Imagine that it is a part of you.
Though granting that gift cause you pain and strife,
Imagine that you do what you must do .
What love has a brother for another.
But simply to put his whole life on hold?
What love has another for a brother,
Who gives him his one chance at growing old?
Though ties of birth often weaken with years,
And distance creates a weakening span,
The family ties will bridge fears and tears,
And the younger man saves the elder man.
His sacrifice left us, most certainly,
Joined closely as brothers could ever be.

Mick McKellar
February 2011

  • This was lovely.A lovely act of love and a lovely response to love. Had a dear friend from my closest friendship circle pass away on xmas morning this year with his friends and his wife and children wrapped around him. I have known him since we were 12 years old. I don’t want to mention just how many years that is. I miss him each day.But he is with us each day as well. I have another dear friend who is struggling with chemotherapy now and another with Parkinsons. We are holding each other up in the light what ever way we can, holding their hand while they pass, holding them in our arms while they are sick, just holding them and giving love and light . What a gift your brother gave you. And a lovely response to that gift. Love heals

  • Dan

    I just had the 12th anniversary of my heart transplant a few weeks ago. An epic battle is waged internally but my immune system is held in check and cannot destroy my heart as long as I faithfully take my meds. I met you several years ago at a conference and gave you a green ribbon pin (for organ & tissue donor awareness). If you still have it, wear it for Mick. My prayers are with him and his family.

  • Dear Dan,
    Thank you for this piece and the many others that have touched my life, both personally and professionally. I am ashamed of never having commented or thanked you previously, but I am rectifying that now.

    I just purchased a copy of Be Real, and want to thank you for supporting Mr. McKellar and his family in this very tangible manner. They will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    Best wishes to you and your family.

  • Mick and his brother are in my prayers. I, too, remember when leukemia was a death sentnce with no chance of reprieve. What a gift for both of them to share in this adventure.

    Thank you, Dan for sharing this with your audience. Your book is going to my older daughter. The first book I bought is staying with me to read over many times.

  • Mick’s words are potent and powerful – and definitely MOVING!
    Thank you for sharing this powerful testimonial of filial love.

  • Dan,
    Thank you for sharing this story with us. Your articles always inspire me, but this one really touched my heart. What a precious gift Mick received…..and what a lovely way for him to say Thank You to his brother. Please let Mick know that a lot of people are praying for him, and looking forward to sharing his progress.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. It has special meaning for me because 12 years ago my husband was the bone marrow donor for his own brother. Although the “sibling rivalry” continues inside of my brother-in-law’s body, he has had these additional 12 years to watch his four children grow to adulthood, and, hopefully many more to see them get married and begin their own families.

    As for my husband, he was a little bit sore from the procedure and never more happy to be so. I wish I could describe to you the look on the faces of the brothers, when they first saw each other during the infusion. If you ask my husband, he will tell you that he would do it again in a heartbeat. Not only for his brother, but for whomever could be helped.

    I wish Mick the same success that Steve has had with his transplant and many more years of good health. My prayers are with him.

  • Dan, Mick and Kevin, Thanks for sharing your story, your poem and your journey. You have my best wishes – and my thanks for giving me warm thoughts about my own brother. He’s not going through this struggle, nor am I, but it connected me to him in a lovely way.

  • Amazing!

    What a gift from one brother to another!

    I have a friend Mark who is so remarkable that he has offered his kidney to the husband of one of his employees. God is truly remarkable in helping us find a way out of no way. The poem was so insightful. The TIP Lady

  • Here’s a toast to you, Mick and Dan, from a friend in Kalamazoo you’ve never met, but to whom you continue to be an inspiration.

  • After reading this and looking at for af ew days, I would like to read more by Mick on his medical expereinces. I have spent long hours on medical situations for relatives, and I think the issue of medicine and medical treatment, finances and everything surrounding it is a major issue, and ripe for good writers to help us with, whether in fictional writing, or non-fiction. This is something most of us can connect with.

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