“Nothing is predestined: The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings.” ~ Ralph Blum
I feel like this may be a long post, but we’ve had a truly amazing end to the month of June so I have lots to share.
Right after Kate’s birthday, we went to the Font Hill McDonalds for a special Kate’s Kause fundraiser. This staff is just unbelievable. They put on a great day for the community, all while raising funds for Kate’s Kause. My grandmother got to see it, which also made it really special. I continue to be astounded and blown away by the kindness and generosity of others. WOW.
We made sure we were kept busy on the 23rd as that was the anniversary of Kate’s AS testing. I think that date was harder for me than the diagnosis – it really confirmed my worst fears that something neurological was the culprit for Kate’s delays.
On June 24th, Kate, Jeremy, Uncle KP, Aunt Jenny, and Grandpa all participated in a McFamily golf tournament for Kate`s Kause organized by Grant Ford at the Cutten Club in Guelph. When Grant planned the date, he had no way of knowing that the end of June would be such a difficult time for us. The golf tournament provided a welcome distraction. I wish I could describe the feeling this day gave all of us. It was one of the most amazing days of my life. The McFamily golfers were so wonderful and supportive, and very interested in us. We had a great time – Jenny and I got to drive the kids around in a golf cart, which is a throw back to our childhood when we used to drive the carts over as many hills as we could on the golf course! I got to stay for lunch where my father and I were presented with a cheque for $34 000! . It’s an unbelievable amount of money to raise in one day!We were floored by the amount, but I think the thing that resonates the most with me was the support for my Dad. After it was over, my brother in law told us he felt it was the best day. I tried really hard to mentally bottle the feeling of elation and support I felt from these wonderful people. I will never, ever forget it.
Five days later, we attended our Keg Thanks a Million reception where Kate`s Kause received another $25 000. What a week! An hour later, Jeremy and I had to attend the Bluevale Commencement ceremony. As we stood in the entrance way to the commencement ceremony with our large cheque from the Keg, we got to hear our principal’s speech. She spoke of what it means to graduate and to do something extraordinary. And then, as examples of amazing accomplishments, she mentioned us! US! In front of all these students, whom we have a lot of respect for, their parents and family, and our fellow staff! I missed the rest of the speech because I started crying immediately. I`ve never had that happen before – to be called amazing in front of a huge crowd. I thought back to my own high school graduation and the hopes and dreams of what life would be. I always wanted to do something great for others. At that moment, I finally realized that Kate is helping me make the difference for others that I so wanted to make. I guess I don`t really view what we are doing as something extraordinary – to us, it`s ordinary and part of our life. I love a challenge, love to busy, and I guess I like to work hard (OK maybe I love to work hard!). But, I`m glad to know that our efforts are well recognized. So to those of you who`ve been telling me that all along, I now get what you were saying. Thank you.
The very next day, Bluevale had to say goodbye to some amazing staff members. I was particularly upset about one of them leaving, knowing that Jeremy would miss him so much. When J got up to make his goodbye speech, he mentioned that the best moment he experienced at Bluevale was at Kaps for Kate in May. As soon as he said that, I was reduced to tears. I think (I`m not positive because I was crying already) he talked about how amazing it was to be a part of the Bluevale community, listening to the choir singing It Takes A Village, conducted by Nancy Kidd, with the Meissners around them. I felt it was a powerful moment for me, but didn`t realize the depth to which it hit others. He`s right though – when I think back to that night, there was lots of hugs, tears, words of support…but above all else, there was love. A love I`ve never felt before…the love of hundreds of people at once. I think my heart almost exploded that night, but I know it definitely melted as I watched this soon to be new father pour his heart out in front of our entire staff.
I`m sure you can see why it was a truly magical week. Thanks to those who got to live it and experience it with us. And a big thank you to my dear Kate – I would be lost without you. Happy birthday week miracle girl! Look at all you've done...it's all because of you, Kate. You're an inspiration and you inspire others to do great things. That's more than I could have ever hoped for my daughter. Well done, baby girl. Well done.
Kelly is Kate's devoted, caring, Type-A mom. Kelly is a high school physics teacher who earned her masters degree in neuroscience from McMaster University in 2003.