There is a special place in my heart reserved for a little boy I have never met.
Daniel Kerner is fighting late infantile Batten disease; tomorrow, he will turn 10 years old. His family and closest friends will celebrate this miracle over cake and ice cream more than three thousand miles away from my hometown.
Daniel is an adventurer. He loves to be outdoors – to feel the sun on his face and the wind in his hair. He loves to take walks and visit the ocean. For the past four years, he has celebrated his birthday by tucking into an adaptive bi-ski and skiing with his family. Always the warmest person on the mountain in his warming packs, goose down and assorted equipment and clothing, Daniel loves to fly down the slopes.
Tomorrow, Daniel will not make the trip to nearby Mammoth Mountain; instead, he and his family and friends will celebrate at home. His mom, Joanna, says “there is a run that is very special for Daniel. It starts below the Cornice and drops down into the bowls and crests at the top of Saint Anton.”
Tomorrow, you can make a run for Daniel. If you happen to find yourself at the top of Saint Anton, take in the crisp air and the sky and the snowy landscape around you, and remember that Daniel once skied there on his birthday. Most of you will not be near Mammoth tomorrow, though, so I’d like to ask you instead to make time for something that is special to you. It could be skiing down your own favorite run, jogging beneath the clear blue sky, reading a book, playing music or watching a movie with someone you love. No matter what is closest to your heart, make a place for it on January 13, and do it in honor of Daniel. Remember that each day is a gift.