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!