With everything that’s going on in this country right now politically, it’s all too easy to overlook the human aspects of what goes on in America. Sooner or later though, something comes along to remind us of the love, life and pain of the “human condition.”
A few articles back, I blogged about an American hero; Emma Sullivan. Since writing the article, I’ve been in occasional email contact with her mom, and have also kept a weather eye on her twitter page, to see how she’s been faring with all that’s been going on. Earlier this evening, I noted that Emma had tweeted her respects for the family of an #ATB. Now, I’m not part of the “Twitterverse,” electing instead to remain mostly on Facebook and here at The Cybersattva weblog. So, I had little idea what this hashtag was all about. Since it was evidently important to Emma however, I decided to do some of my usual datamining…
For the past few years, Ashton Todd Brunmeier of Overland Park, Kansas had been battling a rare form of cancer. A student at Shawnee Mission West High School, Ashton had the unwavering support of his classmates, his school and his community. In 2010, when Ashton began chemotherapy sessions, several people shaved their own heads in a show of support. One week ago today, Ashton Brunmeier’s fight with cancer came to an end. He was seventeen.(1)
Since then, someone has started a “trending topic” on Twitter, with the hashtag #ATB in remembrance of Ashton. For the past week, it has been spreading like wildfire through retweets in the “Twitterverse” and beyond, even showing up here and there on Facebook. (Yes, I encourage those of my fine, young readers with Facebook accounts to drop a simple “#ATB” in your statuses, if you feel so inclined.) (2)
When we stop in our daily “sturm und drang” to tweet or text a simple #ATB, we remember the life of Ashton Brunmeier, taken from amongst us all too soon by a disease that is all too prevalent and indiscriminate. We partake of a portion of the grief, the anger and the sense of emptiness that Ashton’s loss has brought. We express our condolences and our sympathies for the family he leaves behind…and we once again affirm that we are human.