From the first minutes of listening to this week’s podcast, you will feel an overwhelming sense of caring and compassion. While in middle school, Marisol’s son, Daniel, went on a church trip to Niagra Falls and fell in love. Now, you might think that he fell in love with the beautiful waterfall, but it was the people who impacted Daniel. He saw that beyond tourism, there were people who were truly in need. Daniel felt a strong desire to help.

While in high school, Daniel knew he wanted to leave his home state of Maryland and move to western New York to become a doctor. He found a program at Canisius College that offered a program for college and early acceptance to medical school. He was thriving in school until tragedy hit. Daniel was found to have a large cancerous mass in his chest. As soon as Marisol and her husband got off the plane and arrived at that hospital in Buffalo, they were welcomed. They were offered food as well as places to stay. They even had someone offer his apartment for a shower. The caring people of Buffalo simply blew them away.

After his diagnosis, Daniel decided to stay and undergo treatment in his new western New York community. He told his family that he wanted to stay there because someday these same doctors would be his teachers in medical school. The care from these people was unlike anything Marisol ever experienced. They never left their side. After Daniel died, Canisius College planned a mass for Daniel. Marisol was asked by the priest, “How many people do you think will come?” Marisol quickly answered, “No more than twenty.” Marisol again underestimated this loving community. The church was packed with hundreds of people.

I was so struck by the tremendous love and compassion in Marisol’s voice as I spoke with her. She said that she wanted to do this episode to honor not only Daniel, but also the people of Canisius College, Roswell Cancer Center, and all of the people of Buffalo, New York. I am sure that if you asked each one of those people about what they did, however, they would be quick to point back to the amazing loving spirit of young Daniel himself.