One of the hardest things for an adult to hear is that a friend of yours has cancer. You've probably already had this happen to a friend of yours, perhaps even a relative. I can pretty much guarantee that as you age it will happen more and more.

Perhaps the only thing that’s worse – hearing a child has cancer.

A couple of months ago my son James got a call from one of his best friends. Mike had been sick for a while, and they just diagnosed leukemia.

In our household we all love Mike. He's a fun, smart and kind kid. It was pretty shocking for all of us – and especially for James. Mike is his first friend who got sick with anything serious.

But as often happens in tragedy, much goodness and hope has come out of it.

People in the boys’ school community and friends of Mike's family organized a great community event.

James and all his friends got sponsorships and raised money, and 88 kids – and a few parents – shaved their heads. Local barbers did the deed. Many businesses donated prizes for a draw. The community raised thousands of dollars to help support Mike and his single mom, and many thousands more for the children's hospital where he would get great care.

I'm happy to report that Mike is doing reasonably well, and the prospects look good. I'm certain the love so many people expressed for him and his mom made a difference to him around the time that it happened. And it will continue to on into the future.

I know all of us who were involved in the event were delighted to help. And it was inspiring to see so many people coming together to support a great kid.

I learned a lot from all of this. Given my son looks like me, I got to see what I might look like if I was bald. Pretty frightening.

I also got to see how much this meant to Mike and his mom, Susan. Susan, who's never speechless, was almost speechless.

Lastly, I was once again reminded of how incredibly precious our children are, how frightening life can be, and how important friendship and love are for those of us who face challenges.

Author's Bio: 

Harvey McKinnon is co-author of the bestseller, The Power of Giving ( He is also a fund-raising expert, inspirational speaker, and trainer, who has helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for non-profits from Amnesty International to UNICEF.

His consulting company, Harvey McKinnon Associates, works for a wide variety of causes in Canada and the United States. He has produced several award-winning documentaries and has served on many business and non-profit boards. McKinnon lives with his family in Vancouver, Canada.