Heading back to Orlando Florida, I want to tell you about an event that still brings tears to my eyes and a smile to my face every time I think about it. Louder than a rock concert, sweeter than a symphony, nothing compares to the Medal Ceremony that takes place during the Children’s Miracle Network’s Celebration weekend. An occasion where each and every Child Champion from across Canada and the United States is brought out on stage and presented with a medal. A medal to celebrate where they have come from, what they have gone through, and to give all of us in attendance a chance to stand up and cheer at the top of our lungs! These Champions have been selected to represent their home provinces and states, and they represent with pride. They are incredibly special little people who have each overcome severe medical challenges and have their own incredible story of strength. These babies are proud, and they should be, they are miracles!
This year marked the 30th anniversary of the Celebration event founded in 1983 by John Schneider, Marie Osmond and her family. 30 years of truly making a difference. The hosts for the evening were none other than the fabulous Nick Canon, “Shake it Up” star Zendaya, and Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri. They gave a little intro, provided a few smiles and even sang a little song.
However the true stars of the evening were the kids. I held my breath as our first Canadian Champion took to the stage. She was introduced, we were told she loved her Dad and her friends, and then briefly told her personal tale of survival. She shyly and gracefully accepted her medal and posed for the cameras. Her shy smile was met with thunderous applause and a hundred camera flashes. I was lost. The feeling in the air was electric, the cheering was overwhelming. I was in no way prepared for the floodgate of emotions I would feel as I watched these strong little people, wise beyond their years, have their moment in the spotlight.
These kids owned the stage. They strutted out, waved, danced and took their bows to thunderous applause, screaming families, and cheers of encouragement.
I might have teared up each and every time a new Champion was introduced. Happiness, sweetness and joy combined apparently equals waterworks for me.
After each child took a bow, an opportunity for one last group picture of the whole gang! Then off to sleep so they could tackle Disney World again the next day.
This is an event I will never forget. Children’s Miracle Network is a cause I will forever support, not just because of the work and the miracles I saw first hand this weekend, but because these kids, they are our kids. Any one of these sweet children could have been anyone of our children. I am forever grateful that I‘ve not needed the services of Children’s Miracle Network, but I know those who have and frankly, you never know if you will. Thanks again to Children’s Miracle Network for inviting me along on this trip, and to each family I met for allowing me a peek into your world. Wishing you a lifetime full of joy, happiness and of course lots more Mickey Mouse.