Monday, January 21, 2013

Good things

As we celebrated the beginning of the new year a few weeks back I had a gut feeling that 2013 was going to be a great year for us. So far that is shaping up to be true! Not to ever get ahead of myself because I know the year will be full of both many ups and downs - but when there are ups, I will focus heavily on them when they are here.

In just under 2 weeks now, we will be participating in our 4th Climb for a Cure event benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I look forward to this event each and every year with both anticipation and a little worry. Anticipation because I am always excited to find out how much money we raise and meet up with friends and family and worry because climbing up all 1,280 stairs is no easy task! This year though I am extremely excited and here is why:

Jeff works with some very generous people and for that I am extremely grateful. Last year, Jeff hung a flyer up at work announcing the Climb for a Cure event and his boss saw it and said he would sign up and participate. A few other generous and ambitious co-workers of Jeff's were also recruited and signed up to join us, it was great! This year, Jeff's boss has taken things to a whole new level and has recruited even more employees to climb with us and has partnered with Team Polaris to make what I am certain, will be our best year yet for fundraising in this event. My anticipation will by far pass any worry this year as I can't wait to see how much money we can raise for the CFF!

The fundraising is extremely important, do not get me wrong. Money buys research and research will find a cure, nothing beats that. However, aside from the financial part, the support that these people also bring to our family as we continue on with our CF journey is equally important. With a disease that is challenging, constant, many days hopeful but also many days very grim, the support we receive from friends, family and co-workers is what helps to carry us through the tough times.

With that, I'd like to extend a very big THANK YOU to our family and friends who always support us. I'd like to extend another one to Team Polaris, Jeff's co-workers who will be climbing with us and to Jeff's boss Jeff. Jeff's ambition and dedication go above and beyond and he does more than participate in the event, he spreads awareness and recruits many fellow employees, family and friends to join in our fight as we take steps to cure Cystic Fibrosis.

THANKS to everyone who has joined our team and to those who donate to our efforts to make it all happen! I can't wait to share with you all the good things from this year's event. 
The 2013 Climb for a Cure will be our best one yet - thanks for being a part of it!

Monday, January 7, 2013

2013 Climb for a Cure

A few months ago, I briefly mentioned in a post about how the beginnings of our journey with the climb for a cure event began and seeing how it is less than a month away, I figured now was a good time to elaborate.

In the fall of 2009, after our world had been tossed a very unforeseen curve ball and we had finally returned home from our hospital stay at Children's with Olivia in our arms, I remember sitting on the couch one morning, blurry eyed and overly tired, just staring at my tiny sleeping baby girl in her bouncy seat. I remember first wondering and questioning how in the heck it was that my world had ended up in the state it currently was but also time and time again looking at the photo of the very first Team Olivia event, the U of M CF Virtual 5k that a few family members and good friends attended to raise money for the CFF in honor of Olivia. Every time I'd look at that photo, tears would spring to my eyes, but I also knew as I watched Olivia sleeping and breathing peacefully, that I had to do something. After everything that Olivia had gone through, endured and overcome in just two short weeks of her very precious life, I knew she was a fighter and I was not going to sit around and wait for better treatments and the cure to come to us, I knew that we had to fight for her.

Through blurred vision, an utterly shocked mind and tears, I did what I was cautioned about and went on the internet to search out all there was to know about Cystic Fibrosis. Of course my search engine returned plenty of scary and terrible things about CF but I refused to click on those links and instead went to the CFF website and found the Climb for a Cure Event. I read and reread and read again all about what the event entailed and I knew the event would be a ton of work, especially given the physical and mental state I was in at the time but I knew I had to do it. I knew that I had to start off running the race to fight for my daughter's life. I talked to Jeff about it and told him I was going to do the climb, it was something I had to do, actually could do rather than just sit around and wait. I convinced Jeff to climb with me and I signed both of us up to participate in the event.

I really hoped that we could both get the required $50 in donations to participate in the event but I honestly figured that we would make the donations ourselves, recruit Aunt Darci to watch our children and go climb for Olivia. I crafted an email to my family and friends, telling them about the event and asking them for donations. I was utterly surprised when I got my very first ever $50 donation, I couldn't fathom that anyone was willing to donate $50 to the CFF for me to do this event, I felt relieved, supported and loved. I knew we weren't fighting alone, we had support. In the end, I ended up raising $885 and Jeff brought in $620 and we didn't climb by ourselves, we had family and friends join us and our team raked in a very impressive $3,090 that very first year in our very first CFF event. I am still amazed when I think back on that event. It was a lot of work climbing up all those steps, but when my lungs burned as I reached step 1280, I was surprised, sad, happy, grateful and so many other emotions. I had just taken my first step, (or rather 1280) to fight for my daughter, to help fund a cure, the beginning of my quest to do all I can to raise money to support the CFF to save her life.

The climb continues to be my very favorite event for so many reasons. It was our first CF event, it was the beginning of our fight and it's rewarding to work so hard for all those who donate and support us. It is also the event that I muddled through 1 day after getting the news that my son's sweat test had come back in the gray, he too might have had CF and yet I forced myself to crawl out of bed that morning and do it. The climb will forever be one of my favorite events. Each year gets better and better, and each year I find it more and more fun.

Thanks to everyone who has donated to us and those of you who have joined our team and will be climbing with us. Here's to making the 2013 Climb for a Cure our best one yet!




Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year, New Perspective

For the past few years now, my family has welcomed in the new year in the comfort of our home with a dance party, full of good times, lots of laughs, fond memories and silly hats. The kids love it and freely dancing around the living room like a bunch of silly's is just too fun. This year was no different, I loved it. Jeff and I both fell asleep literally just a few minutes before the ball dropped, so we missed the official ringing in of the new year but none-the-less, 2013 is here . . .

Happy New Year!

Each year, as a new year comes around, I always feel saddened that another year has come and gone way too fast and I find myself shuffling through my jumbled memory to recall all that the previous year held in store for our family. All in all 2012 was a good year, full of ups and downs of course but we are still here and healthy and for that we are blessed. 

For whatever reason, I just have a feeling that 2013 is going to be a great year for us and my goal is to cherish each day and not worry about the tomorrow(s). I pray for wonderful things for Olivia, that her weight gain will pick up and that we can avoid the ever lingering feeding tube and that she will remain healthy, all things considered. I pray that Landen will continue to thrive and grow and have a year full of joy and fun as he continues to mature into the amazing little guy that I know he is. I anxiously await Jeff's work slowing down for him so he can get back his "me time" and we can all spend more time as a family. We already are in the planning stages of numerous fun things for our family in 2013 and I can't wait. This year I want to do some of those things that are always on the "to-do" list but end up being saved for another day, another month, another year. We need to do those impulse things that we usually hold back on - live life to it's fullest. Time is too precious to waste and put off for another day. 

It's funny how the simplest things can open your eyes so fully. Lately Olivia has been waking up in the middle of the night and will come down to our room and wake me up one way or the other. A few mornings ago she came to me to tell me that she couldn't find her white kitten. Another morning she came down the hallway crying because she just wanted to get up and go downstairs and this morning I woke up and thought I heard her but upon opening my eyes realized she wasn't there. As I fully woke up and a moment later heard her yawn, I got out of bed and found her curled up on the floor at the end of our bed. Needless to say I haven't been getting much sleep lately! But in the grogginess of the early mornings and wondering what in the heck is going on with Olivia's lack of sleeping - I realized my son did the exact same thing about two years ago, when he was 3 years old. 

This morning as I tucked Olivia back into bed and laid down beside her, I wanted to sleep but instead found my mind recalling those mornings a few years ago when Landen would sneak into our room early in the morning and stand beside our bed, not saying a word just waiting patiently. My motherly instinct would kick in, I'd wake up and literally be scared half to death as my eyes opened to my son mere inches away from my face, wide awake standing there waiting for me to get up. Other nights I'd find him curled up right next to my side of the bed on the floor trying to stay warm. As I recalled all these moments that had been tucked into the back of my mind, the memories of my son in the same phase as Olivia is now, it saddened me to think that it wasn't that long ago that it was Landen waking me up early in the morning. These memories had been stashed away in the back of my mind and it was another reminder that time goes by all too quickly and that we indeed need to make each and every day be all that it can be. Now as Landen is the best and easiest sleeper ever, very rarely waking up in need of anything I find myself missing those moments just a few years ago, when he was a toddler doing all the fun and quirky things Olivia is now doing. 

As time never ever seems to slow down and we know how very precious it is, here is to making 2013 be the best it can be, no matter how many bumps we face along the way. 

*In just 1 month we will be heading to the IDS center for our 4th year of participating in the Climb for a Cure event. I hope this is by far our biggest and best year yet for Team Olivia in this event. Provided all goes well Olivia and Landen will attend the event with us this year for the very first time, a great way for them both to see where it is mommy and daddy have been going for the past few years in February without them and for Olivia to meet all the people offering their love and support who are fighting each and every step of the way to find a cure for CF.

To join our team and/or make a donation in honor of Olivia, click the link below: