Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fellow endurance warrior got her angel wings today...

On January 2, 2011, I posted an open letter from Lisa Smith-Batchen. In it, Lisa talked about her friend, Balei Chinski. Balei had been in the hospital since early December. She suffered a burst brain aneurysm and was in a coma for five days. When she finally came out of the coma, she was so weak that it was difficult for her to even talk. She would scream out in pain because her head hurt so much.

Those who loved her could do nothing to ease her suffering. Balei's mother, Cheryl, watched her little girl go through operation after operation, hoping things would change for the better. She watched her baby endure so much pain. "I am tired of fighting, but you know I will," Balei assured her mom.

Things weren't any easier outside the hospital. Cheryl lost her job. As a single mother, this was a devastating blow. She spent all her time by her child's hospital bedside. Soon, her and her three other daughters became in danger of being kicked out of their apartment complex. Now, they have hardly a dollar to their name.

Friends, sometimes in life it is impossible to understand how or why certain things happen the way they do. We ask ourselves all sorts of questions. Why me? What did I do to deserve this? We feel alone. Abandoned. Helpless in the struggle against insurmountable odds. But, we endure. We continue, strong in our faith that God will see us through the darkness.

Today, January 18, 2011, after 47 days in ICU and 5 brain operations, little Balei passed away. She was just sixteen years-old. This is a devastating time for all whose lives she touched.

I did not know Balei personally. But, Lisa often told me about her friend. She was and is such a powerful and vibrant life force. I call Balei our fellow endurance warrior. That she was. To run 100 miles is nothing compared to what Balei accomplished with her life: she has set for us an example of true faith and courage, an example that we should spend the rest of our lives trying to uphold. You know I will fight, Balei told her mom. This is real endurance.

Now, her family needs your help. Balei deserves to have a memorial service of dignity and grace. We are asking for donations. If you would like to to donate money to pay for Balei's funeral service, please mail a check or money order to the following address:

The Balei Chinski Relief Fund
Peoples Bank of Kankakee
315 Main St. NW
Bourbonnais Illinois 60914
Phone 815.936.7600
Fax 815.932.5559
I also ask that you pass this letter on to all of your friends and family. Let's support each other in these hard times and remember how precious life is and especially the people we love.

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