It will come as no surprise to the people that know me that my favorite part of my job is talking to interesting people.
I’m a people person. And a talker. And a pretty good listener even.
In May 2012, I met one of those people who is just a bright light, the kind of individual who makes the world a little happier, better or more fun just by being who he is.
I couldn’t forget 3-year-old Brock Hart, an Edmond youngster fighting leukemia, once I saw him joyfully scooping dirt with a little golden shovel at the groundbreaking of the Toby Keith Foundation’s OK Kids Korral. The boy nearly upstaged Toby Keith. Even Toby called him a “rock star.”
When it came time to cover last week’s grand opening of the OK Kids Korral, a home-away-from-home for Oklahoma families coping with pediatric cancer, I wanted to make the story about more than just a wealthy celebrity marking a philanthropic milestone. I wanted to make it about the people who will benefit from a place like the OK Kids Korral. And I immediately thought of Brock.
Brock’s parents, Jay and Vanessa, along with his sisters – Jaycie, 7, and Reese, 2, – were kind enough to let The Oklahoman photographer/videographer Sarah Phipps and me into their home one afternoon to talk about their experience with cancer – if someone in your immediate family has cancer, you all have no choice but to fight it together – and their support of the OK Kids Korral. Brock finished his cancer treatment in February, and Toby Keith, whom Brock has nicknamed “the marshmallow man” because of their habit of sharing sweet treat, was there for the bell-ringing ceremony.
So, meet the Hart family. I think you’ll be glad you did. You can watch Sarah’s video embedded here, and to read my story, click here.