“Honey, Are You Crying?”

That’s what Matt asked me last night as I was reading this weeks chapters from The Girls From Ames.

“No,” I replied as a wiped the tears and snot on the sleeve of my oversized night shirt.

“Yes you are. Why are you crying?”

“It’s just so sad!”

This weeks reading made me think a lot about my beautiful Wish Kid Gabi. And it made me think about her gorgeous mom…and her dad and all three of her adorable sisters. I’ve only met them all a handful of times, but they all have an amazing, unmistakable presence about them. They all seem so positive, even with that evil cancer invading their lives. They all seem so grateful…grateful for Gabi’s good days, grateful for their good health, grateful for their blessings, but especially grateful for their families’, their friends’, and perfect strangers’ prayers for Gabi.

While I have had the opportunity to be a part of Gabi’s wish experience, I have thought  lot about what it would be like in her mother’s shoes. Then, reading the chapters Their First Child and Tears in the Ladies’ Room, I thought even more about being a mother. Maybe it’s because of my age, maybe it’s because many of my friends are having babies soon, or maybe I just have a bad case of baby fever, but I worry more now about something happening to my future children than something happening to me. I guess that’s just a mother’s instinct. If only I had a nickel for every time my mom said, “Just wait…when you have your own kids someday you’ll understand why I worry,” I’d be a rich girl right now.

So when I hear these stories of daughters being diagnosed with cancer, yes my prayers and thoughts go out to these girls, but my heart just breaks for these mothers. I’m sure the only thing they want to do is just take all the pain out of their child. Gosh, I want to take the pain out of their daughters so that they won’t have to feel that burden!

My heart goes out so much to Karla and to Gabi’s mother. I truly can only imagine their pain…and I’m sure that doesn’t even come close to the reality.

As for these two amazing girls, Gabi and Christie, their courage is outstanding and beyond admirable.

As Zaslow writes about Christie’s positive outlook, I can’t help but read in disbelief. How could she be going through so much, yet always find the silver lining. I was touched when I read one of her quotes from her Caring Bridge site, “Life is good, and you just need to take it day by day. Be thankful to see the sun rise and set each day.”

Honestly, there is probably not a better piece of advice in the world.

And then I think back to a quote from Gabi on her Caring Bridge site. Let me back up a bit and give you a small history on Gabi. She is a ten year old girl who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her leg earlier this year. After much consideration, Gabi and her family chose to have rotationplasty, a rare surgery to cut out the tumor and to give her the best chance to continue to do the things she loves (she’s a little dancer). This is not a small decision for a ten year old girl, and her mother was worried about her self esteem, how other children might take it, and how Gabi would feel about it in the future. Gabi’s reasoning (as quoted from her Caring Bridge site),

“That looks really weird, and it will probably take me a year to get used to it.  But at least I will be able to dance again.”

Courage.Out.Of.This.World.

So during times of my own trials and when I feel like I’m being tested, I will try to remind myself that life is good, and at least I can dance.

ang

Rest in peace Christie Rae Blackwood, and to all those who read this, please keep precious Gabi in your prayers during her recovery!

 

More Than Just A Race Recap

Thank you for all the support and prayers regarding the tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, and now also in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas. It looks like today is going to be another difficult day…as I am writing there are warnings all around Kansas City…even closer to home.

But as I had mentioned, something really great happened to for me this past Saturday, and I’d like to share it now…

A few weeks ago I was searching the internet for races. I found a 5K race that was in my town, and I thought it’d be a great race to sign up for since I’ve recently become a new resident here.

I decided to register for it.

Also a few weeks ago I got my weekly e-mail from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Kansas City with a list of all the local children who needed Wish Granters. I typically never even open these e-mails because I am too afraid that I won’t be able to devote enough time to do everything I could to make a child’s wish come true. I was trained in wish granting and volunteering almost two years ago, and although I have volunteered at some events for Make-A-Wish, I had yet to sign up to actually grant a wish.

Something told me to go ahead and open this e-mail.

I first skimmed down the column that said where the children were from. Then I noticed that there was a someone from my new town. Then I skimmed over and saw her name and condition.

Gabrielle S., 9 years old, Osteosarcoma.

I had this meant-to-be feeling about her, so I decided to sign up to be one of her Wish Granters.

Little did I know that these two decision I made would relate to one another! A few days later I realized that my 5K race was created to benefit little Miss Gabi!

The Race T-shirt

I was able to meet Gabi on Friday to talk to her about her wish. She is seriously an amazing little girl…and she is beyond precious. Since I now knew I was running for her, I made sure I got her autograph on the t-shirt that I was going to where for the race!Saturday morning my hubby drove me to the race. This is the first race that he has been to, and since the race was pretty small and had no timing chips, I had him time me because of our bet. I didn’t think I’d run the 5K in 24 minutes or less, but I wanted him to witness it, just in case I actually did.

We got to the race a little bit early, so I drank some water and stretched a little bit in the hub’s rusty ol’ truck. There were a few people warming up for the race, and one looked to be a seventy-year old man. The hubby looked over at me and said, “You better not let that guy beat you!”

Gabi’s oldest sister was going to sing the National Anthem before the race, and I didn’t want to miss it, so the hubby and I left the truck and headed over to the crowd. We got to the start area with perfect timing as Gabi’s dad gave a speech thanking everyone for their support and saying that today was a good day because Gabi was full of smiles. A good day indeed. Then their priest said a prayer. We prayed for Gabi and her journey ahead, for Gabi’s family, and we even prayed for the rain to hold of until the race was over! Then we all said the Lord’s Prayer together. This was very touching moment. Then Gabi’s sister sang beautifully, and it was time for the runners to head to the start line. As I made my way to the start line, I stopped by Gabi’s wheelchair and stole a hug from her! 🙂

Before I knew it, I was off and running! I ran fast, passing and passing and passing people until I fell into my pace. Pretty soon I was huffing and puffing, but I tried not to slow down. This was my first 5K in a long time (almost a year) so I wasn’t used to running the shorter distance. I told myself it was okay that I was breathing so hard because the race would be over before I knew it. I was keeping up with some men, so I just told myself to stay with them. A little ways in I came to the realization that I was following a bunch of men…not women. I didn’t see any girls up ahead of me.

After about two miles I ended up passing one of the men I was keeping up with. I rounded a corner and just went on by him and it felt great (sorry guy). But soon after, I was passed by another woman.

Nnnnnooooooooo!

I told myself, it’s okay Angela…you are doing your best. Just don’t let her get too far ahead!

Then I was passed again…by a man…by that old man who was warming up in the parking lot! That seventy-year old man!

Nnnnnoooooooooo!

But I just kept going and running the fastest that I could. Once I knew I was at the home stretch I felt a little inspiration. I picked it up a little bit, and guess what? I passed that woman back up! I didn’t know if there were more girls ahead of me, maybe just beyond where I could see, but when I came to the home stretch, one of the volunteers informed me that I was the girl in the lead! I was so excited that I ran a little bit faster!

I was the first female to finish, and with a time of 25:09. It wasn’t under 24, but I was still ecstatic to have won!And even though the bet was initially that I had to run a sub-24 minute 5K for my hubby to run a race with me, I must’ve sparked a little somethin’ something’ in him, because afterwards he said, “What do I get if I run a 5K under 24 minutes?” After a bit of talking (and some playful trash talking), our conversation turned into, “You can’t be sad when I beat you at the next 5K!” So, he’s going to sign up for a race anyway, and we have a small wager on who’s going to win! 🙂

Since my hubby was only spectating (and timing), he told me that Gabi had been pushed in her wheelchair with the start of the walker’s for awhile, and when the winning male runner rounded the corner for the final stretch to the finish line (after only about 14 minutes!) Gabi was pushed back through the finish alongside him, and that he slowed down so that she could win! What a special moment for her!

All in all, this was an amazing day, an amazing race, an amazing run, for an amazing cause. Beyond my happiness for having a great run and winning, it was more amazing to see the support for this precious jewel of a little girl. I am positively sure that her autograph and hug were good luck for me and probably the reason I won. 🙂

ang

Make-A-Wish Walk For Wishes

Now finally…let’s talk about my weekend festivities!

It started out the same as many of my weekend festivities do…I checked into Chateau Habermehl around midnight on Friday night. Luckily, I’ve stayed here so many times that I am able to come in without waking the owners! 😉

I woke up bright and early around 5:00am because we were volunteering at an amazing event that morning…Walk For Wishes benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Missouri chapter. My girlfriends and I were on the food and beverage committee!

Ashley, Casey, and Heather in our little tent!

We provided water, apples, and bananas before the walk…

…and more water and boxed lunches after the walk! The weather was beautiful, and the walkers were thirsty! We ran out of water and had to go out and buy more!

(Thank you to all the companies who donated food and water!)

There were several teams with Wish Kids that were walking that raised over a thousand dollars for our local Make-A-Wish Foundation. The money raised is used to help grant the wishes of our locals kids.I spoke with a walker whose team had created a t-shirt for the event. The back of the shirt had a Bible verse…Psalms 118, verse 17:

I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the LORD has done.

The walker then went on to tell me that today was exactly one month since her wish kid had passed away. It is in these moments when I realize just how lucky I am, and I am grateful to be healthy and to have a healthy family. I feel blessed to be a part of an amazing organization that helps touch the lives of these children.

Photo shoot! Heather, Casey, Ashley and me!

I just signed up to be a Wish Granter for a Wish Kid in my town. I have never granted a wish yet, and I am super excited to get to be a part of it!

As sad as it can be, I know it will be so exciting to be able to put a smile on a child’s face. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy (and like I want to cry!) inside!

ang