Dropping Our Pebble in the Pond of Humanity

After 60 hours in a plane over the last two weeks and the privilege of speaking at TEDxWeldQuay, TEDxTrastevere and TEDxTallaght, I just returned home to Austin, Texas and to a big hug from my beautiful wife, Maureen. On the way home from Dublin, I stopped in San Francisco for the Nike Women’s Marathon, where a good friend and key part of Kethan’s Story, was running 26.2 miles to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

1383761_10153349306390524_1027466525_nIt was a tough weekend, not just because of the jet lag from Dublin (8 hour time difference), but because it was quite clear who was missing at the event in San Francisco. Kethan. Although I felt Kethan’s presence throughout my TEDx World Tour and had him watching over me on every stage, the tears in his mom and dad’s eyes, as well as mine, were as warm and damp as the day this “human rainbow of one” left our world for the next. The harsh reality of cancer is quite simply, still too harsh.

However, as I looked around the Moscone Center, where the LLS Inspiration Dinner for over 2,900 participants was held, I realized that My Tribute to Kethan is part of a much larger tribute. In the case of Jennifer and her team, who were #runningforkethan, they were making this Their Tribute to Kethan. With over $9 million raised by these 2900 participants, it is also a Tribute that extends beyond Kethan to many other loved ones as well. I was quickly overwhelmed with the feelings I had as I left the stage in Tallaght. As I looked around on Saturday night at the dinner, I realized I was back in the Noosphere.

IMG_0937The journey came full circle yesterday, as a remembrance ceremony was hosted in the chapel at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. Since Kethan passed away during the summer, many of his classmates, who loved him so much, were not in town, either on vacations or at summer camps. The service yesterday was a beautiful tribute, with wonderful sharings by a few of his classmates, as well as the installation of a traveling art gallery in the sixth grade wing, and the commissioning of a mosaic bench that will be a permanent fixture on the lower school campus. Kethan’s art will move with the current sixth graders all the way through their graduation in 2020. It was clear from the sharings, as well as the 6th grade choir’s singing of his favorite song, Kethan will not just be on the walls but in their hearts, too.

IMG_0934Looking at the gallery in the sixth grade wing brought tears to my eyes, because three of the pieces were ones I had shared in my TEDx talk in Penang, Malaysia. The gallery also included one of Kethan’s poems, I Am Kind and Fun. It was read by his third grade teacher. It is the same poem with which I closed my talk at TEDxWeldQuay. It seems fitting to close this last post of My Tribute to Kethan, with something that is now Our Tribute to Kethan. I only hope that my “director” and my “honored hero” is happy with my trip around the world. I was privileged to be cast in a role in his story that has forever changed my life. I will never stop the work he inspired in me, and I will never, ever stop loving my hero.

By Kethan Kumar

I am artistic and thoughtful.
I am peaceful and wonderful.
I am joyful and creative.
I am sweet and nice.

I am superb and terrific.
I am funny and smart.
I am delightful and clever.
I am hardworking and excellent at maths.

I am forgetful and shy.
I am lovable and proud.
I am courageous and brave.
I am not agile and quick.
I am prim and proper.

In Loving Memory of Kethan Kumar
11th July 2013