Everyday Miracles

Last week I had a very tough week.   It started out with one daughter down and out with the sorest of throats and a fever to match.  First sick day from High School.  Great.  The very next day I understood why she couldn’t drag her butt to school.  Mama had come down with the very same virus and I felt like I had been hit by a fairly large truck.  With looming deadlines, a media trip lined up in just a few days, and the biggest home renovation of my life going on I really didn’t have time for this.  Then it got “better”.  (insert sarcastic font)    SassyHubby threw his back out.  I have never seen the man I love in so much pain and I never want to see it again.  All plans, ideas, progress for the week came to a screeching halt.  Hubby needed 100 percent of my attention. I was starting to feel a little like silly putty,  Pulled in a thousand different ways, putting on 100 different faces for everyone, but pretty much useless.  Then the final straw.  One day before I was to leave on my trip daughter number two came to me at 3am tears streaming down her face.  Her ear hurt.  An ear infection at 12?  Good grief.  Hello stress! 

I powered through.  Drank a lot of coffee, used a lot of under eye concealer.  Packed, prepared and left my house with a cloud of guilt hanging heavily over my head.  Mama had to work.  Mama had to fly!


This media trip was affording me the opportunity to escort 12 Child Champions and their families to Disney.  I met them in Toronto Ontario, our plan, to tour the city in style and then travel as a group to Orlando Florida.  That first day was a whirlwind of activity.  From Walmart’s head office for a big old cheer fest and trick or treating, to a special lunch at the top of the TD Towers (catered by CANOE!) to a private tour of the ROM.  It was go, go, go!  I was impressed with the stamina of these babies, and the non-stop grinning from the kindest hearted families I had ever met. 


Day two is when I had my big old reality check.  Stress?  I didn’t know stress!  Colds, ear infections, temporary back problems, looming deadlines, packing paralysis, fear of travelling alone?  All seemed like one big fat joke now. 


While on busses, and walking, sitting, driving and flying, simply travelling with these incredible families I learned what real stress was.  I learned our mighty entourage included survivors of aneurysm’s, massive brain bleeds, leukemia, meningococcal meningitis, kidney transplants, sickle cell anemia, and a heart and lung transplant.  It was a group of walking miracles and yet, on closer inspection, it was just a group of children with their Mommy’s and Daddy’s who loved them.    Kids, who above all else, just wanted to be kids.  Grace, Cody, Cheyanne, Sam, Elijah, Ryan, Rebekah, Tyler, David, Amisha, Reid and Asaiah.  Kids just like yours and mine, with one big exception, they had overcome some incredible obstacles, and were forever grateful to the services of their local Children’s Hospitals. 

Before too long, our powerful posse safely made it to Orlando.  We checked into and took over the Coronado Springs Hotel. 


We caught our collective breath, and that night, let our hair down just a little bit at a big old welcoming party. 


I might have been using my giant camera to hide the tears of joy in my eyes.  Each child was greeted by the rolling out of the red carpet and a cheering staff!  These babies were already having the time of their lives and we had not even left the hotel! There were games, music, the famous Disney towel making demonstrations, a little dancing, lots of smiles and free flowing ice cream.  The welcoming party was simply good for the soul.



Children’s Miracle Network has made a difference in the lives of these children, these families and in each of their communities.  These kids, just like yours and mine, have reminded me that miracles really do happen, right in our own backyards. 

For more information about each of these amazing kids, please see the 2013 Champions site presented by Walmart!


  1. big smiles….been waiting to see a glimpse of your time with them….ah i know it was as rewarding to you as them…

    sorry the week was rough otherwise and hope everyone is back to feeling better now…

    • Stephanie says:

      Oh yes!! I’ve been pacing myself with my posts about the Champions! Lots on facebook, twitter and instagram and still more posts to come. Thanks for your sweet comment, all is well in our home now 🙂

  2. Wow, can imagine how powerful and inspiring the week was. Yes, we do tend to think we have it rough until we see what some of these families go through on a day to day basis. We are blessed, but it is still hard-no matter who you are to leave family when some of them are not feeling their best. Glad it turned out to be an incredible week. 🙂

    • Stephanie says:

      So important to take a step back and count those blessings, help those we can and enjoy every moment! I was so blessed to be on this trip and see first hand how strong the Champion Families are and how much they are giving back to their local hospitals. Thanks for all your support this past week 🙂

  3. “Great cause, and sometimes we all need that reality check. Just finishing our year with my husband surviving an aggressive Leukemia. That said it is not fun being sick and still caring all the responsibilities we normally have.

    • Stephanie says:

      Now all I want to do is send you some big fat hugs!! What a year you must have had. Being a caregiver of someone who is sick is so very stressful. Hope you are managing to take care of you too. xo

  4. Anne Taylor says:

    Thank you for this! We really do need to pause and be thankful for the health of our families. It sounds like you had a life enhancing experience.

    • Stephanie says:

      You have described it perfectly. I spent a lot of time alone on this media trip and had plenty of time to reflect on my many blessings and how I can pay it forward. Life enhancing may be the perfect words.

  5. Judy C (Cowan) says:

    Great post! It does definitely remind us that our “stresses” can be small compared to others! I hope everyone in your house is feeling better 🙂

    • Stephanie says:

      We are all so much better! Thanks for asking. Just tonight, as I was beginning to stress over SweetGirls homework not being done to the best of her ability, I took a deep breath and reminded myself these little things are not worth the stress. Keep smiling and count our blessings!

  6. This definitely makes me more thankful for my children’s health!!

    • Stephanie says:

      Oh me too! Every single day I am thankful for my children’s health, and I’m so honoured to have been included on this once in a lifetime trip!

  7. Cheryl (@loucheryl) says:

    What an amazingly rewarding experience! I love your photos.

    • Stephanie says:

      Thank you! It really was! These were some of the most inspirational little people and families I have ever met. Counting my blessings that I was included on this trip 🙂

  8. People ask me a lot how I have a smile on my face when I am in so much pain, and I reply there are people who are in worse condition then me. This post is true to that fact. It is heartwarming and really puts everyone’s lives in perspective.

  9. The Champions are always so inspiring and am glad you had the opportunity to see and the ability to capture even a smidgeon of their happiness throughout this journey. Incredible job!!

  10. I can’t even read about the trip without big fat tears rolling down my cheeks. What an inspiration these kids and their families are. I just want to go and hug my kids and be thankful that we are just dealing with the never-ending-colds … not a life threatening issue.
    Thank goodness for people like you, and The Children’s Miracle Network for working their magic and celebrating these kids. They deserve every second of it. Thank you for getting involved and bringing attention to such a worthy cause. XOXO

    • Stephanie says:

      Thank you for such a sweet comment! It was such a joy and a blessing to be invited along as media on this trip. I too have taken something very personal from this, will count my own blessings more frequently and continue to cheer these incredible families on from afar!

  11. Veena Hockridge says:

    This trip was so amazing and we were so happy to meet you all! Thanks for blogging this and we enjoyed meeting every Champion kidlet and so many amazing people from Walmart to all the Reps! Huge Hugs to you all!!! Love the Hockridge Family from Saskatchewan!

    • It was SUCH a pleasure and to meet you and your incredible family!! This was my very first trip with Children’s Miracle Network and the Champions, and I was blown away by each and every little beauty I met. I hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in Florida, and thanks for allowing me the tiny peek into your world! xo

  12. Victoria Ess says:

    Sounds like an amazing trip! You’re amazing for offering your support, time, and energy, and I’m happy to hear you had a wonderful experience.

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