By Sandra Schachter
Boomie (his nickname—I’ve never called him Allan) is my cousin. He is 71, and recently retired from dentistry after more than 40 years.
His patients had a special affection for their Dr. Small—not only because of his excellent professional care, but also because of the way he welcomed them—always warmly and always with a smile: “How’s the family?” It was that personal touch.
Active and incessantly inquisitive, Boomie loves caring for bonsai, hiking for mushrooms, sculpting, gardening, cooking, playing tennis. And routing for—with passion—his favourite hockey team, the Canadiens.
One night a few weeks ago, he had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital. The diagnosis was not good. There was a tumour on his brain; surgery was scheduled.
Remarkably, and to the amazement of us all, the day following the diagnosis Boomie was out playing tennis with his buddies. And in his hospital room, the evening before surgery, there was something he was determined not to miss—watching on TV his beloved Habs and favourite player P.K. Subban play Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“He’s my hero,” Boomie says. “He has the heart of a lion.”
It was during those days waiting for the surgery that I saw his extraordinary demeanour, his resolve, his resilience, his quiet defiance.
As I write, the surgery is over. There will be challenges ahead, and he will meet them. Having someone in your life who is a source of inspiration is uplifting and priceless. That special someone in my life is Boomie.