Sunday, March 20, 2011

So Grateful!

We have been so touched lately with all the efforts of our friends and family to make the Joe P. Rally Run a huge success. Thank you to everyone who is spreading the word about the run and to those of you who have set up fundraising pages, given, or signed up to run. If you haven't signed up yet, go here right now! And if you want to cry your eyes out, go here. (Thank you, Lindsay, for this beautiful and tender post.)

Also, a huge thank you to my wonderfully talented sister-in-law, Jennifer Barr, who is working round the clock putting this race together with the help of the Rally Foundation and Elaine Kay, their tireless Nashville director. We appreciate all your hard work so so much!!

A couple of weeks ago I got a message from a friend saying that her child's first grade class at Intown Community School would like to do a service project and their topic was "Sick Children." (This is the school that's a part of our church, and Allen used to teach 5th grade there many moons ago. It is a really wonderful school that encourages a lot of creativity and love of learning. The kids we got to know there seemed to have the exact opposite attitude towards school that most children have. If they had a day off, they would be really SAD because they would MISS school! I used to periodically ask the kids, "So, are you excited for Spring Break, etc.?" just to test them out and they would always answer, "Well, not really because we'll miss school." It is such a fun and lovely school I do think any child would be sad to miss it.)

Anyway, this little first grade class decided that for their service project they would like to form a little fundraising team and have a day at school devoted to Joseph. They asked me to come and answer some questions about Joseph and his cancer, then they made a huge banner, and then they had a mini Joe P. Rally Run in the school parking lot, complete with the Chick-Fil-A cow!

It was one of the sweetest most touching things I have experienced. Seeing these children running their hearts out so they could help other sick children was so precious.

About a week after the race was over a mom and her son came over to me at a pizza place and the little boy asked me, "I remember you from Intown. Aren't you Joe P.'s mom?"

I felt like a celebrity. Why, yes, I am Joe P.'s mom. Everyone can refer to me as that from now on. :)

Thank you, Intown First Grade!! Your creative efforts are really going to make a difference in research towards Childhood Cancer Research.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Twinklings of Joseph

Every so often (sometimes very often), I'll be going about my day, just doing normal everyday things when I'm struck so hard by a memory of Joseph that I have to take a really deep breath just to keep going. It happens in obvious places, like whenever I drive by our old house or am in that neighborhood where we wore a path with a stroller to and from that park. I drive by and I can just see Joseph and Holly bundled up together in the double jogger and me trying to get there fast enough to let them loose on the ducks!

Sometimes it happens in more unexpected places, like a coffee shop. I was standing in line the other night, trying to figure out which of the 1 million choices of coffee combinations I was going to go with when my eyes fell on a little box of chocolate milk. All of a sudden my eyes teared up and I was back in Memphis with my boy, and we were all sitting around a table, overjoyed that Starbucks chocolate milk was the one thing Joseph would eat when he was feeling sick from the radiation. That little box of chocolate milk was always a treat for him, though, and I can recall countless sleep-deprived mornings with me driving through Starbucks for a coffee and him sitting back there hoping it was a chocolate milk morning, too!

There are so many opportunities to remember him, really. Just some days they strike me harder than others. This little memory I cherish because it was just him and me. I'm thinking Holly was napping and Allen was at work. We were looking out our back door at squirrels, as Joseph was prone to do, and we noticed an animal I was sure he probably hadn't seen before. He asked me what it was and I said, "That's a chipmunk! I don't think you've seen one before. Isn't it cute?" He cocked his head to one side and I could see him running through his mental list of "animals I know," and he came up with, "Das a chicken?" I told him "No, honey, a chip-munk." He looked puzzled again asked, "Das a monkey?" I could tell he was sure mommy had lost her mind, mixing up chickens and monkeys because surely chipmunk wasn't a real word. I always smile when I think of that little conversation.

I'm not really sure this post has point...I just felt like talking about Joseph. I hope you don't mind! I guess with the Joe P. Rally Run coming up, a lot of people have asked about how we're doing and are remembering Joseph especially.

We are really looking forward to this year's race on April 16th. It is going to be in Nashville again, at Centennial Park. There will be a kids' Fun Run at 8:30, so be sure to get there a little early if your kiddos want to race against the Chick-Fil-A cow. We will be there, bright and early, and look forward to seeing lots of you! There will be all kinds of booths set up from local businesses/restaurants and Starbucks has offered to provide the coffee. If you haven't already registered, you can do so here. We are so grateful to all our awesome sponsors who are making this possible, and to Jennifer Barr, who is heading up the race this year. I just know we are going to reach our goal of $30K.

Thanks to all of you who have already supported this race and to those of you who have become fundraisers. It is so exciting to see us getting closer to the goal. I have this little dream that maybe one day a family will get the news that their child has a high-grade brain tumor and instead of no good options, they are told, "Oh, we have a great treatment for that. No big deal!" And they would live to have lots more birthdays and fun discoveries and memories together as a family. Wouldn't that be amazing?

See you all April 16th!!