Our family was invited to participate in the festivities at Lake Nakomis in Minneapolis today for The Miracles of Mitch Foundation Triathlon. I have mentioned this fabulous organization in the past that raises money so parents can be with their children while they are in the hospital fighting cancer. Miracles of Mitch offers support in the form of mortgage payments, utility payments, as well as food and gas gift gards. The triathlon is a major fundraiser for the organization. Last year it raised over $600,000!
We were invited because John is one of Mitch’s All Stars. We first watched Jeffrey’s game in Channhassen (They lost 7 -8 in overtime.) and then we left the big guys there and headed to Minneapolis.
WOW! Upon our arrival we quickly learned that this is one major fundraiser diligently organized down to the very last detail.
We got John registered and he was given a very nice blue Miracles of Mitch All Star t-shirt. We were standing there all of about a minute and a woman (I’m sure she’s very nice) walked up to us and said, “So what does he have?”. Well, with that question my husband spun on his heels, walked a short distance and positioned himself out of earshot…smart man. I told her and she said, “That’s what my son had” and then she turned to John and continued with, “My son had neuroblastoma and it is a nasty cancer, so I know what you are going through.” I know she was meaning well BUT the word “had” kept bouncing back in forth in my brain and I picture the word “disengage” flashing in my head. I just smiled and nodded my head praying she would end the conversation in front of John. When it was over I was rattled, but I am pretty sure it all went over John’s head. I also know that talking with other parents is a big part of attending events such as this one….I just couldn’t do it today. I was a coward, running from something I can’t.
Next Mitch’s All Stars gathered as a group to lead the 700 Miraclekids that were participating in the fundraising campaign and triathalon to the main stage. Each Miraclekid racing had the name of an All Star written on one of their legs. (With 1, 400 legs….we never did see John’s name. 🙂 ) Jon and I had up front spots for watching this. As John and the other Mitch’s All star started the processional the DJ played Josh Groban’s song, You Raise Me Up as they walked in. Come on! That’s not even fair. I didn’t have a chance in the world of holding it together, neither did Jon! I put a link to the song below if you want to refresh your memory and you will quickly see why the flood gates were running freely.
Then I am standing there watching this amazing site of these 700 kids there filling in the area and I notice some are carrying round pictures the size of large dinner plates. When I looked closer I see that these are photos of All Stars that are now angels and then right there in front of me were the pictures of Jane, Brady and Kayleen all children that lost their battle with cancer that we knew from the 7th floor of Children’s Hospital. This did not help the tears situation.
At one point Jon leaned into me and he said, “Maybe we shouldn’t have come here today.” We have such fresh and raw memories…was it too soon? When we talked about it later we decided that no, it wasn’t too soon. It is just scary as hell and if we wait until it feels right or comfortable…I’m thinking that will never happen. What makes it scary? There is no running from the grim childhood cancer statistics at these events! I don’t want John’s story to end like that poor heartbroken mother’s story. I don’t want his picture on a round poster board as a memorial. I am desperate and I mean DESPERATE for him to live! Where do these parents find their strength? I felt weak and embarrassed by my thoughts today. I want to be an activist, a voice for childhood cancer, but frankly I feel more like a basket case right now than anything else. (Now…side note…I’m fine no need to flood my phone line and mom…you know if you call, I’m going to tell you just that…I’m fine.)
Jon handled all my emotions rather well today. I was addressing the fact that there are so many organizations that I hold near and dear to my heart…that have played such a major role in terms of support and healing..How do you ever pick which one or ones to fundraise for?! I think if we are ever able to determine where our energy and dedication to fundraising will go to we will feel better. How do you do that without feeling guilty? I know we can’t do it all! My poor husband just listened and let me babble….that’s what I needed today.
I think there is a little stress in the upcoming Michigan trip. Jon also had to listen to me go on about, “John is doing so well, what if I agree to have him get this new medicine and the side effects make him feel bad…I know we’d stop….but then…”
We did manage to have fun! John bounced in 2 different bounce houses and we ate a great lunch. Then we headed back to Channhassen for Jeffrey’s second game. It was unfortunate for a Tonka Skipper mom that my nerves were frazzled and she was about to get on my very last one.
I was minding my own business hauling the lawn chairs to a spot on the sideline for the 3 of us to sit down and watch the game. I see a wide open spot and I start to set the chairs up. The mom says, ” Are you from Hastings?”. I smile and say yes. She then says in a snippy voice, “Are you guys going to take up the whole sidelines?” Now I think she meant the Hastings parents, but maybe she meant me. Mind you there isn’t a Hastings parent right on either side of me and there is plenty of space for a few more chairs. I said, maybe not so sweetly, ” I don’t know. I sit where I want. I find an open space and that’s where I put my chairs and that’s where I watch the game.” There was a little more mumbling from her to the other parents, she never put her chair down and stood the whole game. Maybe she’s a stander…who knows. I know it was because of my morning I was “hot”, fuming in my mind were thoughts of, “I’ve got bigger fish to fry than where I set my chair down” and maybe not some other not so nice thoughts. I know one was a little prayer for the Raiders to stomp the Skippers. They didn’t actually “stomp” them, but they did win. And I kept my mouth shut when the dad behind me kept saying, “Step out and hack him!”
Got home and took about a 2 hour nap. I think it was needed!
After dinner Jon, John and I went up to the high school for The Black Dirt Theater production of Annie. It was phenomenal! The best way to end my day.
When I’m stuck in a day
That’s gray and lonely
I just stick out my chin
And grin and say
The sun’ll come out, tomorrow
So you gotta hang on ’til tomorrow
Come what may
Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya, tomorrow
You’re always a day away
Next post I will share more Hawaii details. Hawaii Part 2 coming soon!
Love, Hope & Blessings,
Thank you for the donations that continue to come in for the CureSearch Walk! You are helping to give kids like John a fighting chance!
http://rpx.me/1/-B9o (Click to go to my donation page for the CureSearch Walk for Childhood Cancer to see more information.The CureSearch Walk celebrates and honors children whose lives have been effected by childhood cancer, while raising funds for lifesaving research. You can help us by encouraging your friends, family, co-workers and community to champion our cause.