This is Kobe and Mom, Annie Barajas (Coco).
My name is Jason Michael Macht Sr and I’d like to share with you just how, with God’s help, Kobe’s Light – The Keep Mom at Home Project was born.
I am 36 years old and have been married to a wonderful woman (Jessica) for six years. We have been blessed with a son, Jason Jr. who is five years old.
Recently I considered completing an online application to volunteer at Shriners Children’s Hospital here in Sacramento. As I often do, I went to church to pray for God’s guidance that I might be used as a servant to help those around me, especially children.
On this day I finished my prayers around 9am then left to meet a friend. We planned to go to Wal-Mart for some quick shopping. We were at the checkout stand when I noticed a young boy standing in line with his mother. The boy appeared to be completely bald and it was apparent, by his lack of expression, that he was not feeling well. I wondered to myself if this was what I was praying for. Should I approach them or would that seem to forward? As I stood considering the mother and son completed their business and walked past us and appeared to be heading to the in-store fast food outlet. My friend, also noticing the couple turned to me, and said “isn’t that so sad?”
I felt compelled to reach out to this mother and her child. I asked my friend if she would get us something to drink while I spoke with the Mom. Fearing she might be taken aback I ask simply if there was anything that my wife and I could do to help. She hesitated and, with a confused look, replied “I’m sorry but I’m a little overwhelmed right now”. Attempting to be delicate I apologized and let her know that I didn’t want to meddle in her business which, in reality, I was.
I was surprised by her response. “It’s not that you’re being rude, it’s just that you offered to help while most people look away or give me a sad look” she said.
The “ice was broken” and she at least felt comfortable enough to introduce herself. “My name is Coco and this is my son Kobe”. I reached over and shook Kobe’s hand and said “I like you bald look, it makes you look tough!” He gave me a strained smile. Coco asked if we could exchange numbers and if she could think about the offer of help. “Absolutely”, I said, “But call if you need anything” and she said she would.
Later I sent her a text message with another apology for intruding and just wanted to help. She replied assuring me that it was okay but that she was having difficulty and felt conflicted between work and being home with her son at this critical time while he is receiving treatments.
Coco provides details, regarding Kobe’s illness, in another post.
I asked Coco (Annie Barajas) if she would agree to meet with my wife and I to discuss how we could best help with her situation. She agreed and chose her workplace as it would be more comfortable. We met her just outside Wal-Mart where the employees take their breaks.
As we talked I tried my best to assure her that I wasn’t some “crazy” person, eluding to the church story mentioned before, rather just a someone seeking guidance to offer help. This was an area of understanding since, as a child, her father had been a minister and she was not put off by “that kind of crazy”.
Coco then began to share her story of conflict, fear and uncertainty. While all this unfolded it became clear how we could impact their lives in a positive way.
We met at our home, with friends and family, learning more about Kobe’s type of brain cancer, surgeries, on-going treatments and prognosis. Also more about the financial challenges and her desire to spend every moment possible with Kobe. With this information we could now chart a course toward the primary goal…Keep Mom Home!