As I mentioned before, Gabriella attends Circle of Friends Preschool in Scotts Valley. Stacey, the owner, put me in touch with one of the mom's, Michelle who is coordinating Mama's Night Out. Along with Cara Pearson, whose family owns Pacific Cookie Company, these inspiring ladies have been involved locally with Cookies for Kids Cancer to raise funds for pediatric cancer and spread awareness in our community.
After many emails back and forth with Michelle and contact on Facebook, we finally met today. I was asked to be a part of the video that will be played during the event, if I had a moment to steel away. At first, I wasn't even sure I'd be able to attend the event because everything was so new. I wasn't sure if Gabriella would be really sick or where we would be "tomorrow". Now more than ever, I realize what an important event it is for an amazing cause. I thought to myself, how fortunate I am to live in a community where there are people taking action. Not only in my community, but literally right next door!
Adam has been so amazing with the girls and wants me to take a break whenever I can. We talked about the importance of making this whole experience as positive as we could and he supported me whole heartedly in attending the event and being a part of this video. Yesterday, I was really excited and couldn't wait to send a message out to those listening. Not being quite sure on what to say because there is so much to share, I wrote down a few notes and thought about how this whole experience has already changed me as a person, a mom, a sister, daughter, etc. As I do with everything, I thought I would be ok going by myself. After my sister Bronwyn called me this morning, I realized it would be really nice to have her there with me. Getting ready to leave the house, I started to become really anxious. It was difficult to breathe. How was I going to relay what I have been feeling the last couple of months, what's important to share and how the heck do I share the experience of this emotional roller coaster ride that I have been forced to take?! The drive was difficult and more than ever, I knew how much I needed someone with me.
Trying to compose myself in the parking lot at Harbor High and make sure I knew where to go, a car drove up. It was Michelle and Cara. Instantly, I felt a connection with these two amazing ladies. We talked like we were old friends and I knew that this was only the beginning. My sister then drove up and I knew I'd be ok.
I am just in awe of people that want to make such a big difference in the lives of so many. We went to the filming area and met Harbor High senior Nicole along with two of her classmates as well as their teacher, Larkin. They were incredible students with an incredible teacher. I also had the pleasure of meeting two more amazing moms, Mariah and Becky who has just come to the end of a journey with Leukemia (ALL) with her son, Evan. We talked about how the filming was going to go and started. As I sat and watched Cara and Michelle share their experience with children's cancer, not because their children have had the disease but simply because they were so touched by the stories of other mom's fighting this disease (Gretchen and Liam in particular), I was even more in awe and inspired. I started to read Prince Liam the Brave's blog last night and couldn't help but fall apart in tears. As they talked about the story and the reason they created Mama's Night Out, I was touched again and began to cry. Becky went next. She talked about her feelings going through it and I realized that I have been feeling many of the same things. Emotions that you could never begin to explain. Then it was my turn.
Before this ever happened, I didn't want much to do with pediatric cancer. It was so far from my own world and saddened me so deeply that I just couldn't bring myself to accept that this actually happened to children.
Not ever being behind a camera before was a little nerve racking and now to be so emotionally involved, I didn't know how I was going to do it. My sister sat with me as support and even shared her own thoughts about the situation and pediatric cancer. It was incredibly helpful. As I try and think of all the things I said, I can't really remember how the words came out or how I was able to get them out. It felt amazing though and I felt empowered. This is something that is so much bigger than all of us and to help send a message just felt wonderful.
I am again so grateful to all of you following our story and helping us however you can.
Mama's Night Out will be an amazing event and I hope you all can make it!
Here is the link, as noted above: Mama's Night Out
And an article about the success of last years event: