Eric's Heroes: One girl's outlook on the world can give us all 'renewed faith'
In this world, there are little lights. And if we allow them, they will show us the way.
Faith Murray is one such light.
Maybe you wouldn't know it by watching her in a classroom, but she is extraordinary.
At Alderwood Middle School, it was going to be a special day. Only Faith didn't know it yet...
She loves the water. Always has.
"There's this fish story, Finding Nemo, and in this fish story and she says, 'just keep swimming, just keep swimming,'" Faith said.
Her mom, Libby, watches her swim. Like all mothers, she is proud.
"She's a really special kid. Faith is really special," Libby said.
But you realize, it's more than motherly pride when she says this:
"She's always been able to see the blessings of a trial. She's always been able to see that," Libby said.
"The blessings of a trial." What child understands a concept like that? Well, that's why Faith is a light.
"On those days that I can do stuff, like today, I can come to the pool...I am extremely grateful. This disease has truly made me more grateful for the little things in life," she said.
This disease is called chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyilitis.
It is incredibly rare. It causes inflammation of the bones.
Faith was diagnosed when she was seven years old.
Even when her bones, the things that hold her together, scream out, Faith says these amazing things.
"Besides the pain, I'm doing great. That's why I have to tell myself is when people ask me, 'how are you feeling?' I'm starting to say, 'I feel great.'"
She always hurts, always. But for a time, three months ago, it was so bad that she couldn't move. Couldn't sit up. Couldn't function.
She calls it a "hammering" pain. No medicine works. There is no place to hide.
But being in pain, hurting, isn't what makes Faith Murray profound.
It's the way she has responded to it. The way it has molded her sense of purpose.
"I guess what I've found out going through this trial the last few months, is that really, I'm just here to serve others. And I love spreading kindness. And that's what I want people to know the most, is that kindness is...the best way to go. It's truly what I think is going to help the world, make it a better place," Faith said.
Faith is all of 14 years old.
She started a group called "Hope."
And every month, a different girl makes a presentation.
Then afterward, they all pool together whatever money they could come up with and donate it toward a cause.
"Because, that's what my dream is...to just...make people happy," Faith said.
Sometimes it's a hundred bucks, sometimes less. It makes them feel good to give it away.
"You know when I'm not feeling good and I can't help myself, that's when I turn and I say, 'Okay, what can I do for others?'"
Which is why this day was special at Alderwood Middle School.
An organization called, Project You Can, was awarding Faith with their first annual "Game Changer Rising Star" award.
Back in the water, on one of the days she is so thankful for, she explains how her hope floats.
"It's really just to keep going and when tough trials come along, it's going to be difficult," Faith said. "But it's just that hope and faith you have to have that's really going to save you."
Take a good look. That's Faith Murray, through searing pain and soothing waters, through the giving and the feeling and the understanding of it all...this old soul, this profound girl. This little light in the world...shines on.
Editor's Note: "Eric's Heroes" is a weekly series airing every Wednesday on KOMO News in the 6 p.m. newscast. If you have a good story about a good person doing good things for the right reasons, share it with Eric by sending an email to email@example.com.