What Mr. Rogers Did For A Sick Fan Will Make You Miss Him More Than Ever

Sometimes in life, we need a pick me up and that’s okay. It’s impossible to feel your best every second of every day. Sometimes life goes your way and other times you’ll fail but that’s just a part of the process of growing. When I have bad days I like to think of my old buddy Mr. Rogers because he is the closest thing to a saint or a prophet I think I’ve ever seen. He was so genuinely kind and wise and taught generations of people the true values of life. It’s very well known that Mr. Rogers kindness didn’t end when the cameras stopped rolling. There are a ton of stories of amazing things that he did to help fans and people in need. This story was shared with us by Beth Usher on her Facebook. Mr. Rogers was truly an amazing person and the world could really use his kind nature right now but yeah, good luck reading this and not crying all over your keyboard, just a heads up.

When I was five years old, I suffered up to one hundred seizures a day. During my seizures, I would often fall and bang my head on the floor or whatever hard object presented in my descent, and the only way for my mom to shower and dress for work without worrying was to prop me up with soft pillows and place me in front of the TV. One time she turned on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and I didn’t have a single seizure for the entire duration of the show. Something in his voice calmed the electrical circuits in my injured brain and allowed my body to rest.

My mother and I performed this ritual every work day for two years with great success. I quickly began to consider Mister Rogers a real friend, and would talk back to the TV screen, saying things like, “Yes, I will be your good neighbor!” So it came as no surprise that my sweet mother called Mister Rogers’ TV studio in Pittsburgh in preparation for my upcoming brain surgery. My neurologists had determined that I had somehow contracted a very rare brain disease called Rasmussen’s Encephalitis. They theorized that a slow-growing virus was killing brain cells in the left side of my brain, causing life-altering epileptic seizures. The only cure was an operation called a hemispherectomy, or the removal of one half of my brain. My mother told Mister Rogers’ assistant that the show was a sanctuary for me and that I believed Mister Rogers was speaking directly to me when he sang his song, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” She explained about my seizures and upcoming surgery and the fact that that the seizures would subside during his entire show. My mother hoped that Mister Rogers’ assistant would send an autographed photo of my TV friend, or even a note from him assuring me that I was going to be OK.

One week before my surgery, the telephone rang. My mother spoke for a few minutes and told me that a friend wanted to talk to me. I remember feeling excited that someone calling themselves a friend was calling me (friendships were difficult for me at the time). I said hello, heard a familiar voice, and immediately felt at ease. Mister Rogers, my friend, asked me about my brain surgery. I told him that I was scared but wanted the seizures to go away; I told him that I wanted the kids in my class to like me and play with me; I asked him about the members of his neighborhood who I had come to love — King Friday, Lady Elaine Fairchild, and Daniel Striped Tiger. We talked for nearly an hour. Before I hung up the phone, I said, “I love you, Mister Rogers.”