In many ways, and despite its rapid growth, Dublin is a close-knit community. Thanks to traditional media like this paper, and even more so, frankly, because of instantaneous social media applications such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, very few noteworthy events happen without their becoming well known throughout the city often in mere minutes.
For example, Dublin has been rocked in recent months by a couple of extraordinarily surprising suicides. Word of the tragedies quickly circulated around town via social media sites, and a great deal of sadness was quickly felt in parts of the city.
At the same time, however, these tragedies seemed to have galvanized large segments of people in the community to more aggressively take action to help one another.
A case in point is Green Elementary School third-grader Sirous Sadaghiani. Just a few weeks ago, the personable young man was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer that is often fatal. The boy had rapidly lost motion in his right side, which led to doctors finding a tumor in his brain. He was quickly admitted to the UCSF Medical Center cancer ward, where he is undergoing an aggressive, nonsurgical treatment.
His parents spend nearly every waking moment by their child's side, which means they've had to stop working and have had to reach out to others to help care for their two other young children.
Within the first day or two of Sirous being admitted to the hospital, a few very dedicated friends and neighbors took to Facebook to raise awareness, ask for people's good thoughts and prayers, and to organize efforts to support and raise funds for the family. Not very long ago, this kind of effort would have required scores of phone calls, countless hours of work and would likely have taken weeks, let alone a few days or even hours.
Krystyn Lattore Calderero, is one of those social media mavens who have been very actively working to support the family.
"Most of the people who are (stepping up to help) don't even know Sirous but have been touched by this situation and are trying to help with fundraising. This community really cares for one another," she said.
There have been bake sales and other efforts to help provide some financial and spiritual support for the Sadaghiani family. This generosity has been a very pleasant surprise to the boy's very humble father, Reza.
"It's incredible. It's not five or 10 people; it's hundreds. It's amazing how much passion exists in the community to do the right thing," he said.
The good vibes, along with modern medicine, may collectively be helping. As of the writing of this column, word from the hospital was that treatment has been effective in at least temporarily shrinking the tumor. A miracle notwithstanding, it's unlikely that the tumor will disappear.
Reza told me that in talking with doctors and doing research, he has discovered that there are about 30 different types of brain tumors. About 25 of them are treatable. The type that Sirous has, unfortunately, is not.
"I did a lot of research the past month and found out that the second-highest cause of death for children is cancer. It's enormous. There's so much cancer taking kids' lives every single day. That's a situation that no parents should have to face," said Reza, who agreed to do the interview with me because he wants to ensure that parents are strict about taking their children in for annual checkups and to watch for unusual changes in their children's behavior.
"Sirous used to tilt his head a lot, but we never made anything out of it. Parents need to look for things the kid is doing that are out of the normal, or (look for) some changes in what they could do before, but can't do now, like hand-eye coordination."
Reza told me that he and his wife prefer to keep their personal emotions about their son's life-and-death struggle inside, but want Dublin residents to know how appreciative they are with all of the support.
"They have really touched our hearts, especially at one of the most difficult times in (our) lives."
You can learn more about Sirous and his fight by logging onto a Facebook page that's been created by the family: https://www.facebook.com/IAmSirous.
Contact Alan Elias at firstname.lastname@example.org.