A Neat Story of Beauty from Ashes

I read with great  interest in last Friday’s (June 4, 2010) Des Moines Register of the parallel lives of a 15 year old girl named Lisa Darling from Humboldt (Iowa) and a 39 year old woman from Woodward by the name of April Gross.

Little did either of them know that though they would never meet their lives would intersect at a critical juncture where the death of one would mean life for the other…a sort of vicarious atonement if you will.

Little did they know then that the older would be literally given more years because of something (lungs)  the younger would give, albeit at a tremendous cost.

Register Reporter Tony Leys wrote of 15 year old Lisa “She never showed signs of serious illness until March 18, 2009,when malformed blood vessels burst in her brain while she was on her way home from school.  Friends helped her to the ground as she collapsed but she couldn’t be saved.”  Sounds like it was a massive brain hemmorhage.

And here is where their parallel lives (unbeknownst to them) becomes intriguing.  April Gross had suffered from Cystic fibrosis from birth.  She was not expected to live beyond the age of 12.  And here she was at the age of 39 still hanging on to life…but just barely.  That is, until an athletic and upbeat teenager would suddenly die from something she couldn’t have seen coming.

The Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) in my brain the size of a peach was pretty much the same thing as Lisa had in hers… only last year on the day she died I was about ready to be released from my own 46 day stay in Rochester and Mayo Clinic after massive complications following a surgical resection.

On the day of my seizure (October 23rd 2008) the neurosurgeon Dr. Carlstrom  entered the room of the hospital in Des Moines to give me the bad news.

His exact words were that I “was a walking time bomb”, this is the scenario he must have had in mind.  He then said that given the sheer size of my AVM he would not even consider operating on it.

Lisa died. And beyond all conventional wisdom I lived, and obviously I continue to live..that is until I die.

We didn’t know Lisa Darling or her story until last Friday’s Register was dumped on our doorstep.  Lisa’s story affected me deeply.  Lisa  died on March 18, 2009.  Little did we know then that even as we were pretty much safely on the other side of a great trial that the Darling family would be entering into their own trial of what must have been and possibly still is of epic gut-wrenching proportions.

Here is the article that my wife Karla posted on the blog the same day that Lisa died.  It was titled “How we Have Endured This Trial.”  Perhaps it will find its way to the Gross family somehow and provide some encouragement.


To see this powerful Register article in its entirety please click here.

twelve miles on a new set of lungs

A sobering reminder of what could have been.

Mike Evans


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