We've been so blessed to be a part of Starlight Children's Foundation and if you don't know what that is then I really hope you click that link and check them out! We have been a part of this wonderful group for almost a year now. Along the way, we've been fortunate to meet some pretty amazing families. Although we don't know everyones illness or problem, we all come together for one reason....to try and forget about the daily struggles we go through and have a day of fun as a family. Starlight MidAtlantic has exceeded any expectations that I ever had. I could never have imagined that we'd be having these fun adventures and we have them to thank. Starlight is made up of so many volunteers that don't get thanked enough. These people take time out of their daily lives to create a day of fun for us. I'm humbled by their dedication and I know I've asked several times, "What can I do to help?" and I'm reminded that I'm there to have fun and enjoy the day with my children and not worry about what needs to be done. I've always been an "involved Momma". I help plan events at school, help with youth group at church, volunteer for room Mom and other fun planning...but when it comes to Starlight....I just have to be "Mom".
Over the last year, escapes have been Disney on Ice, The Circus, Sports Day at Indoor Sports Complex with California Pizza Kitchen, Raced Go-carts and played Lazer Tag at another Sports Complex...and now Fishing on a private pond with pro fisherman. We've been invited to several other events but we had to turn them down because of plans or because of nasty diabetes days. From what I heard, there are many more amazing GREAT ESCAPES in the near future. How exciting!!! I haven't told Kacey about any of them yet because I love seeing the look on her face when we get those invitations.
This past weekend, we had the opportunity to go fishing on a private pond in Richmond. We had no idea what to expect but the girls were very excited to go fishing. We woke up to a drizzly rain. Just the day before, Kacey was home from school sick with some sort of bug that was working on her tummy and I wasn't sure how the day was going to go. Her blood sugars bounced in the 400's the whole day before and she woke up in the high 200's. Diabetes never sleeps and even when you have a fun day planned, things can go wrong. We decided to see what kind of mood she was in before we made a final decision. Even with sugars in the 400's, she begged me to let her go to school (yes she LOVES school this year) so I figured she would want to go...and I was right! She popped out of bed and shouted "It's time for fishing!". We left the house early since its an hour and a half drive for us. We made a stop at Burger King for some breakfast and then we headed to Richmond. We went through bands of rain. Downpour. Drizzle. Stop. Repeat! I knew it would be tough to hold a fishing rod and an umbrella so we were not sure what was going to happen but we were taking the chance anyway. Whats the worst that could happen....we'd be out a 1/2 tank of gas and fun memories of driving up there :) It was worth the trip!
As we pulled in, the squeals coming from the backseat were intoxicating. Those blood sugars shot to the 300's but it wasn't stopping her today. We were NOT going to let diabetes win this one. We got out and we were greeted by the pro fisherman waiting along with Starlight volunteers and the owners of the pond. Everyone was so welcoming and very talkative. It was nice to be in such a friendly atmosphere! We were assigned our fisherman, Mickey. He grabbed a few poles and some bait and we headed down to the pond. The rain had cleared off for a bit. Mickey showed the girls the bait, how to bait the hook (they both said "Gross!"), how to cast the rod and then talked to them about fishing. Kacey caught the first fish and he took it off the hook for her after we caught a few pictures. The excitement that filled the air was amazing! The rain started to pick up to a drizzle and Chris from DGIF went to his truck and brought out a stack of brand new Real Tree ponchos and handed us all one. AHHHHHHH! The girls were so giddy because they both love Real Tree camo. The rain was not going to stop them...as soon as they were in their rain gear, they headed back to the pond for more fishing fun. It wasn't long before Kayleigh hooked into a bass...then Kacey got a bass....and Kayleigh another. They had a great fishing spot and a great mentor to help them. The smiles on their faces were priceless! We took a break for lunch that was provided...hamburgers, hotdogs, pasta salad, potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans, chips, cookies, brownies juice, water and....COFFEE! After lunch, we went back for 2 more hours of fishing. Kayleigh caught a total of 5 fish and Kacey caught a total of 11. Daddy....well he only got 2! They teased him all afternoon :) The rain had realy started to pick up and we decided it was time to call it a day. We went on inside to get warm. Kacey only had a thin blanket with her but when Ms. Barbara offered up a Starlight blanket, she grabbed one to wrap herself in. Once all the families came in for the final meeting, we found out that the ponchos we were wearing were for us to keep...the blanket Kacey used to wrap herself in was hers (she wouldnt let it go all afternoon)...the fishing poles on the table were theirs to keep from Greentop along with a new tshirt! They also got new long sleeve shirts from Starlight and a goodie bag from Dept of Game & Inland Fisheries. HOW COOL!?!?!
All the girls kept saying was "We can't wait to go fishing again!" and "Daddy can we get a boat? We wanna fish!" I think this was their most exciting Great Escape to date. We can't thank everyone enough....
Barbara...thank you for all the time you put into these events! We REALLY do enjoy them all!
MidAtlantic volunteers...you all ROCK! Without all of you, these events wouldn't be possible.
Mickey & Greentop...Thanks for a GREAT day of fishing instruction and the goodies provided. They will get lots of use out of those fishing rods!
Chris & DGIF...Thanks so much for being wonderful sponsors of these events.
Fishers of Men....GREAT job making these kids smile! As I looked around at all the smiling faces, my heart overflowed with joy to know that you all were making it happen.
Frank & Rhonda....Thanks for opening your home to us and treating us like "family". We had only just met you and you made us feel so welcomed. The girls LOVED the pond and we look forward to seeing you next year!
Starlight....Simply AMAZING! Living life with diabetes has its challenges. We have good days. We have bad days. But a GREAT ESCAPE day is NEVER a bad experience! To everyone that makes this possible....2 words....THANK YOU!!!
So if you haven't clicked the link above, now is the time. Check out Starlight, see what they are doing, read about how they're coming into lives of kids with illnesses and most of all...check out those smiles! If you're fortunate enough to be able to donate to this wonderful foundation then PLEASE click on the link. You won't be sorry and you can see where your donation money goes.
Now for a few pics....