There’s something you simply must hear.
I’ve known Mike Dunn, city hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio for more than 20 years, and I’ve long admired his ability to report deeply and tell stories so crisply and clearly on the radio.
It was about 2005 when I learned that Mike was experiencing every parent’s nightmare. His two year-old son Aaron was experiencing developmental problems, gradually losing abilities he’d already mastered. He began to have trouble walking, and eventually eating.
He was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a disorder of the part of body cells that generate energy. It can have a wide array of symptoms, and Aaron’s illness soon took over the lives of Mike and his wife, Clarice.
There were seemingly endless crises, medical tests, specialists, and special care needs. Mike coped with it all without complaint. His devotion to Aaron, Clarice and their daughter Olivia was unswerving. We would talk occasionally when I’d find myself at city hall, and I’d sometimes hear through others how things were going. It was hard, but Aaron had a life, school, and loving caregivers.
On May 14th, Aaron died unexpectedly at home. He was seven.
What I want you to hear is Mike’s eulogy at Aaron’s memorial service. The church recorded it, and Mike posted it for those who could not attend. You’re probably thinking you don’t want to confront something so impossibly sad. But trust, me, you do. I’m not someone who uses words like this, but hearing him speak was a moment of grace. Go to this link, and click on “Michael’s eulogy.”
After Mike, listen to Clarice complete the picture of this loving young man’s life.
If you’re moved, you can contribute in Aaron’s memory to the two institutions his parents have designated:
The Overbrook School for the Blind, 6333 Malvern Avenue, Phila, PA 19151 obs.org
The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, 8085 Saltsburg Rd., Suite 201, Pittsburgh, PA 15239, umdf.org