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Honoring Hengyi

“To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” We lost our dear friend, Hengyi, today. He was the bravest warrior I have met since our Julia. We came to know this sweet guy and his mom at Christmas when JuCan adopted him in 2021. He and his mom came from China to seek better treatment for his sarcoma at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital. He was away from his family and his home and only wanted to have friends and learn English. We came to his apartment to surprise him for Christmas and he surprised us! He sat us down and played a beautiful piece on the piano that he had prepared for us. Of all the families that JuCan has delivered Christmas to, we have never had someone give US a gift.

He had the brightest smile and the most gratitude of anyone I’ve met. You would have never guessed he was fighting an uphill battle. He never felt sorry for himself and he always believed that he would overcome. Whenever he faced bad news, he texted and would say, “I will be more powerful, more unstoppable 😎. Don’t worry, we got this!😁. Whatever results, I all will face it! It’s impossible to let me fear🤖. No way😸”.

Hengyi didn’t have much of a Christmas wish list for a 17 year old in 2021, but he had experiences he wanted to have: attend an NBA game and meet a player, go to the White House and visit Harvard. He wanted to experience the American Dream. He desired friends, relationships and wanted to study the human genome. While we couldn’t make all of his dreams come true, our family spent time with him. Jonathan took he and his mom to Waco and took him around the Baylor campus. He even got to go into Baylor’s Natural Science Building and see the labs. Then Hengyi got to go to the NCAA Final Four basketball game and see them win the championship! He got to visit the players in the locker room and even got to go celebrate on the court and get autographs and pictures. Hengyi was the “man of the hour.” He lived large and drank up life and exuded love.

He came to the beach in Galveston on 3 /17/22 to celebrate our Julia’s life and to help honor those children who lost their lives to cancer. We laughed and walked on the beach. For that day, Hengyi was a normal 18 year old guy having fun and walking in the sand. Our kids made a loyal friend and I’m so grateful for that. As Hengyi always said, “Family friendship forever!!!😆”.

Thank you for your gift of friendship and your love of life, Hengyi.

We will never forget you and we are all better for hanging known you. Say hi to our Julia and to Robbie Mudroch and so many of our friends. May “the LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.” Genesis 31:49

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