A few weeks before Christmas, I covered a story about Danny Host, a six-year-old Tinley Park boy battling an aggressive form of brain cancer. His parents have health insurance, but much of Danny’s coverage falls outside of their HMO network. The family was hoping to raise some money to help pay for Danny’s treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. I am proud to say that after the article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, well-wishers donated $43,000 to a trust fund in Danny’s name. One man particularly moved by the Host’s story — Orland Park resident Jim Reindl — knocked on the family’s door on Christmas Eve and handed the family a check for $1,000. The 77-year-old lost his son to hemophilia almost twenty years ago and his first wife to cancer years later.
I found Reindl’s words humbling. “When I see somebody on the street or somebody having a tough time…I try to do what I can to make life a little easier for them,” he said. “I’ve been in those situations a few times, and I haven’t received a whole lot of help, but by the same token, I’m in a position in life now, I’m in my 70s, and I’ve got a dollar and dime more than I need. So I don’t have any problem stepping up and saying, ‘Hey, let me help you out a bit. And if I can help you out some more, I’ll keep my ears open and I’ll be watching to see if you need any more help. And if you do, I’ll try to be one of the first in line’…I just think it’s what we have to do today. Too many of us are having a tough time and we don’t know how to help anybody anymore. We’d rather push people out of line and step on them…If I can see somehow to make life a little more comfortable for somebody, I like to quietly do what I can.”
Danny’s mother — Annette Host — said Danny is responding well to radiation and chemotherapy treatment. Doctors now think they can operate on his brain to remove most of the tumor, which they didn’t think was possible before. Danny will most likely undergo chemotherapy treatment for a year after the surgery.