“FIGLIO DELLA COSTA” MARVIN DEL CHIARO and I go back a long way. In fact we met in the First Grade at Laurel School (1943). Also, he was my room mate at San Jose College (LNC: pgs. 326-329) and more recently he (along with Al Wilson), has been my official-unofficial “La Nostra Costa” photographer. Late last year, his four year old grandson, Cameron, slipped and fell, severally injuring one of his eyes. Marv, who along with is wife Elaine, are long time Scotts Valley residents, has given me permission to publish his very personal and heartrending letter below.
Hello to all my dear friends and relatives, Sorry for the generic nature of this message, but as most of you know, I correspond with several hundred of you fairly regularly, and I just couldn't send individual messages to all who have been praying for and asking for an update on dear little Cameron. I spoke to daughter Debbie and got this update, but first I'll recap what led up to all this for those who I may have missed in earlier emails. My apologies to anyone who's hearing about this for the first time. I recently found out even some close relatives weren't aware of Cameron's injuries.
In late December, 2006, Cameron, our four year old grandson (Debbie and Corky's oldest son) slipped and fell at home and severely injured his eye; he was carrying a small plastic toy in his hand, and in trying to break his fall and protect his face, the toy inadvertently was pushed into his eye. After rushing him to a local Urgent Care facility, he was transported by ambulance to a waiting Cal Star chopper and flown to Valley Medical's trauma unit in San Jose, where luckily a team of surgeons from Stanford were able to perform a four hour surgery and save his eye. After several days of hospitalization, he came home. At that point, he had no sight in that eye.
Elaine then began a lengthy vigil at his home, caring for him while his parents worked. After about three or four months, he finally was able to return to his pre-school, which was a landmark achievement in itself, given that the original asssessments has indicated the eye would have to be removed. Since then, he's had additional surgeries and procedures, the retina was reattached, and after weeks of waiting, we've been told that surgery is guardedly considered successful. Fast forwarding through many doctors visits, application of antibiotics to prevent infection, weeks of laying on his side or stomach practically 24/7 to allow for healing, repairs that involved entering the eye with a camera and laser to perform delicate procedures, he is now awaiting the removal of stitches and removal of a protective silicone oil that has been placed in the eye to normalize pressure. He returns to the hospital for those procedures somewhere between May and July.
NOW FOR THE BEST NEWS OF ALL, which I attribute to all the prayers; he's been meeting all the benchmarks his surgeons have set; first, he began to distinguish between darkness and light; now, he can actually see what is called "hand movement" (basically, he can detect shadow type movement); of course it doesn't mean his sight will be restored, but it's a great hurdle, given the first prognosis. We are so grateful, and it gives us all a great deal of hope. We are also so grateful to all the wonderful young eye specialists/surgeons who have embraced Cameron and his parents, like they were family; they've even given Debbie their cel phone numbers in case she has any questions or some emergency arises. Rarely do you see such dedication. He will eventually need a corneal transplant, which involves finding a donor of the same age; that give me chills just thinking about it. But I believe all the prayers and wonderful support from the community has helped his parents (and us) cope with whatever comes along.
Speaking about the community support, Debbie and Corky have been blessed with messages of support, food, gifts, and assistance of every kind. If I can indulge you for just a moment more, let me recount a recent occurrence. We took him to 5 o'clock Mass after his initial recovery, and everyone in the community showed such love and compassion; it's was so heartwarming. We've been in this parish since it's inception, in fact, even before there was a church; our first Mass was under a big oak tree, almost 40 years ago. Most of our children were baptised there, took their First Communion, Confirmation, and were even wed there.
Anyway, our new pastor, Father Derek Hughes, mentioned little Cameron by name twice during the Mass, and we was really touched. As we were filing up forCommunion, people were reaching out in the aisle to gently touch and caress my daughter Debbie's arm or back in such a loving way; boy, I could hardly choke back the tears. And there was poor little Cameron, in Debbie's arms, with a big patch over his eye, smiling at everyone; it was so touching; he got a blessing since he's too young to receive communion, but I know God's hands touched him and God's arms were around him that night, and every day, for that matter. You never realize how much you need others until you really, really need them. And then it's such great comfort to know they're there, and they really care..
Again, my apologies for the length of this message. I do want to say one more time how much we all appreciate your thoughts and prayers for Cameron; I have to really say it's what has helped us through the tough times; when I think back to seeing his tiny little body being wheeled into surgery that first day, something I will never forget as long as I live, to now seeing him romping around, there's not a doubt in my mind that all the prayers are what has made such a great difference. Once more, our love and thanks to you all. > Ciao for now. Marv