Lesson from Lacy A glimpse of real troubles makes us see how petty most of ours are.

November 03, 1995

EVERY SO OFTEN, each of us claims the right to indulge in a bit of grousing about our sorry lot. Often the right is exercised after the so-called "terrible week," featuring such disasters as children struck with the stomach virus, conked-out cars, a crummy day at the office or leaks under the sink. "I don't mean to complain," we say, but we do, because complaining sometimes feels good. We've all got troubles, including those more serious than the temporary irritants that make up the aforementioned terrible week: layoffs, too little money, too many bills, illness, child-care problems, what to do with troubled teens and aging parents. We deserve to feel overwhelmed once in a while.

But troubles, like distances, are relative. Some people's plights are far more serious and upsetting than ours. For instance, whatever is bothering you this week may no seem like a big deal after hearing about Crownsville's Lacy Chenoweth, his father, Gary, and his brother, Gary Jr.

Gary Jr. had a brain tumor removed at age 10, an operation that left him mentally impaired and confined to a wheelchair. The family's greatest and most immediate crisis centers around Gary's younger brother, however.

By age 16, Lacy, who has a hole between the pumping chambers of the heart, had undergone six open-heart surgeries. He nearly died after the most recent one in August. At 6 feet tall, he weighs 95 pounds. Doctors say he will not survive another operation, yet his heart remains blocked and irreparably damaged. He needs a transplant and is waiting for a new heart.

Tomorrow, Studio Salon of Annapolis on Ridgely Avenue is sponsoring a "cut-a-thon" from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. to raise money for that operation. If you're leery about donating to organized charities because you are not sure where the money goes, here's a chance to help raise funds guaranteed to help one very needy young man. Lacy's past operations have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and, though Gary Chenoweth chooses not to exercise his right to complain about money, you know he doesn't have it easy.

We all have troubles. Sometimes, though, a glimpse of a family shouldering burdens like this provides some necessary context.

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