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Sunday, May 8, 2011

A MOTHER'S LOVE: The Nathan Lev Story

by Cyrus Webb

It was really by accident that I even came across the story of little Nathan Lev of California. That is, if you believe in such things as accidents. I was reading tweets from people I follow on Twitter one day and saw where a recording artist named Sterling8 had posted a website of a boy who while battling cancer was producing artwork for those contributing to his treatment. That was all it took to get my attention.

After going to the website, I was introduced to the story of seven year old Nathan Lev and his family's war with the cancer attacking his young body. Just months before I discovered him, Nathan had been diagnosed with leukemia. Through the website visitors were able to find out more information about Nathan and his family, view some of his amazing artwork (and that of his mother) and contribute towards his treatment and other expenses.

Seeing an opportunity to use the platform I have on the radio as a way to bring more attention to the Lev's story and share their journey with my audience, I reached out to the family. Little did I realize it at the time, but Nathan Lev was about to take me on a journey that would show what it really meant to live and appreciate life.

It was Ziva Lev, Nathan's mother, that answered my email, and since day one we became friends. She expressed appreciation for my reaching out to her family and for the chance to tell our radio listeners about her son. I think one of the things that first struck me about her was the ability she had to be empathetic towards others, even in the face of the challenges in her own family. Once she realized my grandmother was under my care, Ziva began to inquire about her health. As we were finalizing the interview, one of the last things Ziva said to me was to give my Granny a hug and kiss for her.

I knew at that point that the Levs were a family that would be a part of my life for quite some time.

May 29, 2010. That was the day Ziva Lev discovered that her loving son Nathan had leukemia. It was that day when the family's life changed.

"It was traumatizing when we got the news," Ziva told me. She then went about the task of educating herself and her son about the disease.

From the beginning Nathan's attitude was the same as it remains today: he was going to beat cancer. It was not going to beat him. Even with his positive attitude, though, it was not going to be a journey without its share of difficulty and challenges. In fact, Nathan has almost died three times since the fight began.

One of the side effects of the treatment was Nathan losing his hair. Ziva told me that at some places he would go into individuals would give him free things. This wasn't something Nathan always enjoyed. When she asked why, he told her something I find profound: "They weren't seeing me," Nathan told her, "they are seeing cancer."

For the Levs, life has new meaning, and for Nathan in particular every day is a precious gift. "He has an appreciation for life that most adults don't have," Ziva says. "He wants everyone to know that cancer is not him, and he isn't cancer. This disease hasn't taken his power."

What an amazing way to look at life! Instead of focusing on the hard times, we should look at the possibilities still available to us.

"He's a blessing, " Ziva said to me. "I feel blessed." May we all appreciate such blessings in our own lives.

Visit to see some of Nathan Lev's artwork.


  1. Nathan Lev, you are an amazing person. God Bless you and your wonderful outlook of life and your positive fight with the cancer. Praying and trusting God and the Universe that you succceed in your determined fight against cancer. Love and Blessings to your family. Cyrus thank you for sharing Nathan's courage with us.

  2. Ziva Lev - Nathan's momMay 8, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    Cyrus, you are a beautiful person, thank you for your article, friendship and love. Nathan's determination to return to school came true in April, and may his determination press forward to being cured of cancer. I do feel blessed everyday that my son is alive and smiling, I do feel blessed to be alive and and aware of the wonders of life, friends, and family. And yes, I think of your Granny often and wish her well, she did a great job as you are a part of her, big hugs to her and to you Cyrus.

  3. Cyrus,
    Thank you for sharing Nathan's story. Truly we take the little things in life for granted; which turn out to be the biggest things when they are threatened. Children are our way of seeing the world in raw form because their eyes are purer than ours and their minds are fresh and inviting.This story has been a day's lesson for me and my thoughts and prayers are with the Lev family.

  4. Several months ago, I discovered Nathan's art on through another member's list of "favorites". I immediately felt a pull toward Nathan's story and Ziva's effort. Nathan resembles my son Alex, when he was young, and who just turned 24 yesterday. I saw Nathan's smiling face for the first time and thought, "that could have been Alex". I know I am blessed to have my son and that he's healthy. I give thanks every day.

    I told Alex shortly after reading about Nathan that he has to live a worthy life, with a humble heart and one that honors boys like Nathan. I told him to live for Nathan, too.