We Fasted So He Could Eat

    “We Fasted So He Could Eat,” Ensign, Jan. 1984, 56

    We Fasted So He Could Eat

    Five-year-old Cody Hanson loves to eat! That’s not unusual for most five-year-olds. But the fact that Cody can eat anything at all is, in the words of his doctors, “nothing less than a miracle.” Until he was almost two, he had never been able to eat any food by mouth.

    Cody was born with multiple physical problems and has spent most of his life in hospitals. He was born with some of the symptoms of cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, scoliosis of the spine, muscle weakness, a severely receded chin, a partial cleft palate, and facial and throat paralysis. His throat condition prevented him from swallowing; any food that he tried to eat went into his lungs, causing pneumonia. Consequently, he had to be fed a special formula through a tube leading directly into his stomach.

    The older Cody became, the more difficult this method was. He had to be fed eight times a day. The formula, imported from Japan, cost $300 a month. Worst of all, it wasn’t providing a complete diet for him, and his growth and progress were being hindered. The psychological problems Cody was experiencing from not eating normally could only increase as he grew older.

    Doctors have determined that there is only one other person alive who has Cody’s problems—his twenty-three-year-old sister Tonya. Cody and Tonya are alive and progressing today largely because of their mother, Janice—a woman of unsurpassed faith, commitment, love, and endurance.

    The doctors might have given up on these children several times, if it had not been for Janice’s determination. When the physicians have been baffled by problems, not knowing what procedure to perform next, Janice has come forth prayerfully with solutions. Others might have given up in despair or utter fatigue from giving the constant attention Tonya and Cody require—in addition to handling the normal routines of being a wife, having three other children, and caring for an eighty-year-old grandfather who lived with them for a time. But Janice Hanson is cheerful, loving, and concerned about her friends and neighbors.

    The Hansons requested a ward fast for Cody. When Janice called, my bishop/husband was not home and so she talked to me about Cody and their request. Janice said she felt that if the ward fasted and prayed for Cody, he would be able to eat. Such faith!

    So we fasted as a ward. After our Sunday meetings were over, ward members, family, and friends of the Hansons filled the chapel for the prayer for Cody. As my husband offered the opening prayer, a wave of warmth descended upon the entire congregation. That spirit intensified as Cody’s father administered to him. We all went home to break our fast and eat, believing that Cody, too, would be able to eat.

    And Cody is eating! The faith of his family, the ward members, and most particularly, his mother was blessed: he began to eat the day after that fast. Cody’s doctors, baffled by the miracle, canceled the operations they had scheduled for him. Meanwhile, Cody is enthusiastically discovering the delicious world of food.

    • Janet Peterson, mother of six children and a freelance writer, serves as Relief Society varied interests leader in her Salt Lake City ward.