Tuesday, September 13, 2011
11 months to go...& Gala Recap
I have such good intentions of sharing more on here! We haven't gotten all of our pictures back yet from the Gala. But wow - what an experience. I re-read the first posts the night before the Gala and I think it helped to put my heart in the right place in preparation for speaking to the attendees. We were so thankful to be able to help but we were all so nervous!! Here's a pic my sweet friend took of us while on the podium. We saw the video they recorded back in the spring at ACH and it instantly took my breath away. I realized we were up at the front and all the preparation still left me with empty hands leaving the tissues still in my purse. Thankfully the hosts were talking to us and shaking hands with Brayden so I tried to pull it together. It was truly so emotional. We spoke to the audience in the effort of not only applauding Brayden's courage but hoping to help others to see how easily it could be your child...and how we need to help ACH as much as we can. We are so fortunate to have such an incredible facility so close for our kids. The night ended with us hearing the event raised $914,000! They exceeded last year's total of $800,000 and we were so thankful for each one who gave. They raised funds after Brayden's video to help raise money for infusion rooms in the new Oncology wing that's being built. It's sad to think there are so many kids being diagnosed and how quickly they have outgrown the existing rooms. But the expansion will help make the time spent there for future families at least a little more comfortable. Thank you to those that gave to help with the infusion rooms for the kiddos fighting childhood cancer. For those that donated, Brayden got to help give out these bead bracelets just like his Beads of Courage he gets for all his procedures.
Brayden was a trooper. He was interviewed on the red carpet and looked so handsome. He was too nervous to eat - we all were. The best part was getting to see Dr. S, his awesome Oncologist, and meet his sweet wife. We were glad to get to sit by them at our table. Everyone was so very warm to us and the best was the encouragement Brayden received. Once we were on the stage and the applause was continuing and I'm applauding to Brayden and looking into his eyes...he started to tear up. I grabbed his hand and made sure he was okay. It was almost too much to take in. But what wonderful love and encouragement to receive. On our trip down from the podium, we were stopped so many times and Brayden given fist bumps and pats on the back and hugs. We heard so many stories and realized how many people ACH has touched. We were grateful to be encouraged by other ACH Oncology families. There's a special bond there that only the deep looks and unspoken words can explain. But Brayden was definitely the star and he was so articulate and grateful and we couldn't have been prouder.
So, 11 more months from today til we're done. Brayden's journey continues. Everything has been looking good for his counts. It looks like things have stabilized out for his dosages. He's been fighting a sinus/respiratory thing the last week that we're hoping his weekly preventative antibiotics will help keep at bay and not worsen. Some days are better than others. He's certainly tenacious and a fighter and trudges on with a great smile and an incredible outlook.
Please remember September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. There are so many kids fighting and, as Brayden said, we pray they find a cure really quick.