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‘Boot offering’ at Southwestern aids 4-year-old with leukemia

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Doctors told Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary student Chris Williams in mid-October that his 4-year-old son, Christian, has leukemia.

Christian has begun a 28-day round of chemotherapy, and doctors believe it may be as many as three years before he will be free of leukemia. If the leukemia doesn’t yield to the medication he is currently taking, he will face the possibility of radiation treatments.

The Williams family has insurance, but they also are expecting a second child in February. The challenges of caring for a newborn and the need to rearrange work schedules around Christian’s chemotherapy will certainly cause the family’s financial burdens to grow in the months to come.

The financial burden will not be as heavy as it could have been, however, thanks to the generosity of Williams’ fellow seminary students.

When Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson found out that one of his students was facing one of the most painful situations in life, he responded by encouraging students to give.

“If that were your child, if that were my child, our world would be pressing in on us,” Patterson said in chapel Oct. 30, before calling for people who know the Williams family to come forward and pray for Christian. Patterson also said that he wanted to do something to “put some feet to our prayers.”

No one in chapel expected him to speak as precisely as he did.

After an opening prayer, Patterson asked how many men were “properly attired,” that is, “wearing cowboy boots.” He called those wearing boots to come forward, asking them to remove a boot and use it to take up an offering for the Williams family.

“What we give here today, as poor as all of you are, is not going to make much of a difference, except that it’s going to encourage their hearts tremendously,” Patterson said.

Patterson, all too familiar with the seminary lifestyle, addressed the students’ concerns — not having extra money to give and the scriptural precedent for giving whatever one has and letting God do the rest.

“The little boy only had five loaves and two fishes, but the Lord used it to feed the multitudes,” Patterson said. “If you want to have God bless you in every way, give.”

After taking up the offering, the men came forward and dumped the contents of their boots onto the stage. Students collected $2,300 for the Williams family.

Doctors recently discovered that Christian possessed the Philadelphia Chromosome, a genetic mutation in which two chromosomes break and the parts from each switch places. The condition makes chemotherapy more difficult. Christian will require a bone marrow transplant, which may occur from the cord blood of his newborn sibling in February.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: KICKING IN TO HELP and ADDING HIS SHARE.

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  • Samuel Smith