Announcement: April Student of the Month

I’m very happy to announce 6th grader Brendan Allen of Haine Middle School as my April Student of the Month. Being born with Neurofibromatosis Type I, at just 12 years old Brendan has endured far more than most many times his age, and the poise with which he’s handled his situation is inspiring to say the least, and not just to me, but to all around him. Brendan has already been using his situation and experience in selfless ways to positively affect others, and I’m confident he will continue to affect and inspire many, many more. To do full justice to Brendan’s story, I have included at the bottom of this post the essay his teacher sent in. Please take a moment to read it, I think you will be touched.

I have sent Brendan the gift basket pictured right as a small thanks for the big inspiration that his life is.

Thanks so much to Ann Tanda for writing in about Brendan, as well as everyone that wrote in about their students last month.

Be watching out for the next opportunity to nominate your students in the near future.

God bless!


From Brendan’s Nominating Teacher:

Brendan Allen is a 12 year old, sixth grade student at Haine Middle School. He was born with Neurofibromatosis Type I, which causes tumors and/or bone malformation to occur. He had struggled with numerous surgeries as an infant to correct his left tibia. Throughout these surgeries, Brendan would continue to have a positive attitude and a constant smile on his face. He has been in casts constantly throughout his young life, with using walkers, and wheel chairs and often crutches to assist him. Never once has Brendan complained or felt sorry for himself. Instead he laughs and smiles at everyone he comes in contact with. His determination to make every day count is so evident in his life. Brendan is the second oldest of four children. His parents have taught Brendan to be independent and a self-advocate for himself. They keep the daily routines of his everyday life as normal as possible. He has the same responsibilities of everyone else in the home. Everyone pulls their own weight!!!

Brendan is one of the spokesperson for the Miracle League of Western PA. He thrives on coming to school and working hard to do his very best. He has a warm and bubbly personality that just lights up a room. He encourages others when they are down, and is always willing to help everyone. In the past, Brendan has had surgeries that involved putting pins into his tibia, and within two-three days later, Brendan would be back at school ready to take on the day. Brendan has never uses his ailments as a way to get out of anything.

Just recently, it was decided that the best option for Brendan was to amputate the lower part of his left leg. This would allow him to have a prosthetic, and give him the opportunity to walk and be more mobile. On April 3, 2013, Brendan underwent a four hour surgery at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. Seven hours after the surgery, he was walking the hospital unit on crutches. This young man was home from the hospital in two days, and actually came to school to have lunch with his classmates, five days later. He returns to school on Monday, April 15. This is an unbelieveable story of determination and passion!

The inspiration that Brendan shares with everyone is so overwhelming. He looks at this situation as a new chapter in his life that he is excited to get started. He has decided to come back to school next week (only twelve days after surgery), and is ready to get back to normal. Brendan is the type of student that you meet once in a life time. He has taught me so much about accepting things that life gives you and making the best of every opportunity. If I could use one word to describe this incredible young man, it would be AMAZING. He is a hero beyond heroes, and is someone that I am so grateful to have touched my life. 


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