Like all sensational media stories, the tragic tale of baby Charlie Gard is past the horizon in the cultural rear view mirror and images of paid off concubines and shadowy foreign agents have temporarily taken its place.

It was tragic story on multiple levels. You had a poor little baby with a deadly medical condition and parents desperately trying to save his life. That would be sad enough, but when you added the governmental influence and control over these people’s lives, things get downright scary. 

Even though his medical condition was terminal, his parents wanted to try another therapy in another country, and it wasn’t going to cost the British health care system a dime. The government refused to give Charlie and his parents “permission” to leave. 

I still can’t wrap my head around that sentence. The land of the Magna Carta and John Locke is now a place where its subjects are truly subjects and not free agents.

There were beautiful offers of help from Italy and from Pope Francis himself, but to no avail. Powers greater than Charlie’s parents could contradict had determined he was to die on the British Health Care system’s time table…case closed.

And now Charlie is gone, and our insatiable news cycles press on to other “content.” All parents want to keep their babies from harm and the thought of how helpless Charlie’s parents must have felt gives us all good reasons to fall on our knees and thank God we were not placed in such a crucible.

But if the cross means anything, it is to find triumph amid defeat and life when everything seems to mean death. 

And a recent article about another little boy named Oliver Cameron is the life associated with Charlie Gard’s death. You see, little Oliver Cameron was sick in the British healthcare system at the same time as Charlie Gard. Little Oliver was not even one year old when it was discovered he had a benign tumor growing on his heart. Now the word “benign” is an unartful description as it relates primarily to the tumor not being cancerous. But a large tumor on a baby’s heart was a life-threatening condition. It was also a very rare condition, so rare that the British health care system did not contain a solitary surgeon qualified to operate on Oliver.

Like Charlie Gard’s parents, Oliver’s mom and dad looked elsewhere and found a hospital in Boston that did contain a surgeon who not only believed Oliver was a good candidate for his expertise in surgery but was willing to do the work for free. 

Still there were costs that had to be covered and like Charlie Gard’s parents, the parents of Oliver Cameron started a social media funding campaign and soon had the resources necessary to take their son to the United States for life-saving surgery.

All of this was happening with the Charlie Gard media frenzy in full swing. Oliver Cameron’s parents were told by the same governmental agency that they too were not free to take their critically ill child out of their own country and seek medical attention in America. Unlike Charlie Gard, whose medical condition was much graver and a medical procedure had little or no chance of success, the doctors in Boston were ready, willing and able to treat Oliver’s tumor and his prognosis was much more positive. Still, the machinery of the British government health care system said no.

But then a miracle happened. It doesn’t look like a miracle, it looked more like the act of government bureaucrats weary of additional bad publicity with another ill baby, but we all know God uses all manner of human mechanisms to make His presence known in creation. 

Regardless of its motivation, the British government finally relented and “allowed” its own citizens to travel freely to another country. Oliver Cameron came to Boston, he had his surgery and it was a success. He just celebrated his first birthday.

Charlie Gard’s parents didn’t know the impact their son’s suffering was having on another, and Charlie, in his innocence, certainly wasn’t aware he was applying pressure on the government to set Oliver Cameron and his parents free. But it was Charlie Gard’s own Via Dolorosa that made it possible for Oliver Cameron to live. 

What a birthday gift.


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