Archive for August, 2012

The Giving Tree Legacy

These posts are very bittersweet to write for me.  I absolutely LOVE what we are able to do in Tyler, Dylan, Josh, and Brandon’s honor in preparing and delivering these wonderful trees to other cancer victims whose hearts are hurting and afraid – on the other hand, sometimes it feels like salt in a very deep, fresh wound each time I get a tree ready, and even more so to deliver them and meet another warrior. I have had more sadness and anxiety the past few weeks, coupled with happiness and satisfaction for ‘doing the right thing’.  It’s an interesting place to be.

Two weeks ago, the first tree was delivered by Dylan’s sweet family to Cade and Aly Wyatt.  Cade is 25 years old and was diagnosed in February 2011 with an inoperable brain tumor.  Cade and Aly were blessed with their first sweet little baby boy in December 2011.  Cade has had some radiation treatments, with little success, and had recently moved to Mantua with his parents, where they could give him as much care as he was requiring.  Mandy, Chelsea, and Lindsey (Dylan’s mom and aunts), took Cade and Aly a giving tree.  Pictures are worth a thousand words:

You can read about this amazing little family here.  I am so sad to say that sweet Cade returned to the loving arms of his Heavenly Father on Sunday, August 26th.  I’m sure it was a bittersweet moment for their family…I know that feeling.  Watching the suffering is unbearable, but not having them here is just as unbearable.  It really is all about ‘letting go of it all’ and submitting our will to the Father.  I do believe it is a lesson we will all have to learn before we leave this earth – whatever the struggle will be with.  Please pray for Cade’s family to feel the peace that only the Savior can bring them.

Last Thursday we took another tree to a family we learned about a few weeks ago.  The Noble’s are a beautiful family fighting another vicious cancer battle.  Kenny was diagnosed with lung cancer not even two months ago.  He has rapidly declined and his sweet wife and three daughters have kept a vigil by his side, keeping his spirits up and making sure he knows he is loved and cared for.  My heart was so warmed as I met this wonderful family and watched their interactions with each other.  They were so gracious and kind when we intruded on them in the hospital to bring the tree.  I’m not sure I would have been as welcoming as they were!  We heard Kenny was not well enough to come home any time soon, so we decided to bring the tree right to his room!  Please remember Kenny and his family in your prayers as well – they need the blessings of comfort and peace also.  Here are another thousand words:

 

Getting the tree ready!

The Amazing Noble Family

Thank you to all those who have contributed in so many ways to make these amazing gifts possible – from money, to volunteering at the event, to helping put these trees together.  They are making a difference, and they are bringing hope and smiles into the lives of families who feel much unrest and uncertainty.  We have received many requests for trees, actually from all over the country!  We will be setting up a few guidelines for how the recipients will be chosen.  Watch for these on the www.anythingforafriend.com website or here for information coming soon.  And thank you for your help in helping others F2TF!

 

Wow!

Not even sure how to begin this post – I think the title says it all.  I can’t say enough ‘thank you’s’ for the help we received to pull off the First Annual F2TF Benefit Dinner and Concert.  It was amazing…that’s all I can say!  I don’t have an exact count of how many attended, but I know there were well over 700 in attendance.  This could never have been accomplished if we didn’t have the help we did.  It is said that many hands make light work, and you proved this to be true for me.  So many generous souls in this world – don’t ever forget that.  When you watch the news and see that bad things happen in this world, think of a night like tonight, and remember that the good will always win!

As I watched the kids wearing F2TF shirts and coming early and asking ‘What can I do?  Where can I help?’ my heart was so full – this is one reason we wanted this night to happen.  Serving others helps us forget our own problems for a while and makes us focus on others.  These pictures say it all here:

 

Cute Morgan and Braden rockin' the slushies!

 

At your service!

Love these faces!

F2TF!

Tyler's B-ball Buddies!

'Kiss the Cooks!'

Dana on Drink Duty!

We had an awesome dinner (Thanks McDonalds!) and an awesome concert that night!  I don’t think the entertainment could have gotten any better – from Nate Davis of Lokalgrown, and Michael Dowdle, Marvin Goldstein, and Jason Hewlett!  Who gets that in one evening??!!! I hope all those who were able to come enjoyed every second of it.  I felt like I laughed hard, cried hard, and felt comforted all in one night!

 

Nate from Lokalgrown serenading the crowd!

Brooke Walker from Studio 5 - my new friend!

The amazing guitarist Michael Dowdle!

Pianist extraordinaire - Marvin Goldstein!

...and the hilarious Jason Hewlett!

...as Diana Ross...

...as Stevie Wonder...

...as Elton John...

 

...as Robert Plant...

...as 'child-friendly' Lady Ga Ga!

...and finally, as the 'Raptor'! (Ty's favorite!)

After the amazing entertainment, we were able to present the Giving Trees to two outstanding people, Brielle, who has been diagnosed with CML, a chronic leukemia, for which there is no cure.  And, to Chad, one of Tyler’s favorite ‘uncles’, who was diagnosed only a few weeks after his funeral.  The cancer world is a small one, and I dare say there aren’t many who haven’t had someone they love be touched by this devastating disease.  I am grateful to help in a small way to bring a little hope and a smile to a few who are staring this disease in the face right now.  And you helped make this possible!

Sweet Brielle and her family

Chad's wife, Wendi and their boys

Sara Larsen singing 'Find a Grove'

And to end the night, sweet Maddie, whom I love with all my heart for her courage and spirit, released a balloon in honor of each of the Giving Tree kids who cancer has taken from us this past year.  It was a very emotional moment for all.  I loved how reverent the amphitheater became and how I could feel those kids close.  People left the place quietly and thoughtfully, and I think the emotion of the evening was that of love.  Thank you for helping make this night a great success…we were able to raise $12,000 – that’s 24 Giving Trees we will be able to give in the next year, until we have another event!  We would love to utilize the youth in taking these trees around – so if you would like to be involved in helping to make and deliver these trees, please contact me!  It’s a special experience to be part of!

My hero getting ready to release the balloons

When you dig another out of their troubles, you find a place to bury your own.  ~Author Unknown

THANK YOU TO ALL FOR A SUCCESSFUL EVENING!  MAY WE ALWAYS REMEMBER TO F2TF!

It’s ‘Time’!

‘Time’ is quickly moving and it’s almost ‘time’ for our 1st annual ‘F2TF’ Benefit Night!  Tuesday, August 7th is our big night and I think if you’re not there, you’re going to miss something amazing! :) If you’re still thinking you can make it but have not purchased tickets, you can get on www.anythingforafriend.com and go to the F2TF event, click on ‘donations’ and any amount in $15 increments will automatically put tickets in will call for you at the amphitheater ticket table.  Remember, it is ‘festival seating’, which means ‘first come – first served’.  There are 500 seats in the amphitheater and room on the grass for 1000.  You may want to bring a lawn chair and a blanket, just in case.  We have pre-sold over 500 tickets, so plan on a crowd!

I am excited, nervous, stressed, and extremely emotional about this Tuesday.  A big part of me wonders what in the world I was thinking by trying to do this so soon after Tyler’s death.  After he left us, I felt like the only way I could cope was to stay busy and to keep my mind occupied with other things.  As a little ‘time’ has gone by, I wonder if what I need is ‘time’ to just stay home, not have any commitments or responsibilities and face grief head on.  Becky Anderson, my sweet friend and hero, said something to me last night that made so much sense to me.  She said some of us like our peanut butter thick and heavy on a spoon with some bread, others like it spread thin over their slice – either way it’s the same amount of peanut butter, just served a different way. I’m trying to decide which way I want my ‘peanut butter’, because either way it’s the same amount of hurt.  I’m just learning which way is the best way for me to deal with it.  I think some ‘time’ here to go through his things, maybe make memory books of Tyler, remember all the good ‘times’, not just the cancer, and just ‘being’ for a bit may be a way to deal.  I don’t know – this is all new territory for of us.

But, in the mean ‘time’, we will go forward with this amazing night!  We have amazing performers, special tributes, and a touching way to finish out the night, so come ready to enjoy great entertainment and honor those who fought a brave battle!  I hope it will bring healing to all who are fighting battles, whether it be with health or whatever lives throws at us. It is said that ‘time’ heals all wounds.  That one is hard for me to believe, but I suppose that the only way to prove that true is to move forward with faith and make Tyler proud of us!  I believe Tuesday night is a pretty good way to start!

“Time is a healing place, one in which you can grow” – Denise Tanner