Well the day has finally come for Oliver's benefit in hopes of getting him to Disney World. As I said before, this is where we went on his Make*A*Wish trip in April 2010. Unfortunately it was the worst he felt throughout this whole journey, vomiting each morning on the way to the parks. The mornings were the worst, but throughout the day, he felt a bit better. He was suffered from motion sickness and wasn't able to go on as many rides as he wanted to and we couldn't make the hour drive to see the ocean which I know he would have loved. He's also been into Harry Potter a lot lately and the Harry Potter ride was 2 months shy of opening when we were there. He REALLY wants to see that! We also didn't see several parks. There is just so much to see and do down there that you can't possibly fit it all in on one trip!
Oliver originally asked Ed and I if we could go to Disney World again and we wanted to say 'yes' in the worst way, but we just couldn't swing it financially so we had to tell him 'no'. I never thought about it again until a fellow cancer parent asked what Oliver would like if he could wish for something and I told him about his recent request. Woody had said that he wanted to do something for Oliver because people had done so much for his son and family when he was sick. We didn't ask for him to do anything for us. (The only thing I want is for Oliver to be okay. Unfortunately no one, but God can do that for us). He told me that he wanted to 'pay it forward'. So the task of planning a benefit started.
Many people donated baked items as well as silent auction and raffle items, food and music. To everyone that helped with this and their time and energy that went into it... THANK YOU. I wish I could do more than say THANK YOU. THANK YOU to those that donated money and especially those that came to support Oliver. This means the most to me as his parent... to feel the love and support from people. At times it feels like you're alone and no one cares, but at times like this, that feeling is renewed and it helps to move forward. I wish I could have talked to everyone that was there. It was like a wedding in that sense. I just couldn't speak to everyone that came. Please know that I am grateful for you and for the time that you took to come and show your support. I truly appreciate it.
We got there and I set up a table with handmade bows that I made to sell. The food was set up on my left as we entered and the baked goods to the right. The silent auction and raffle items were across the dance floor and near the stage. I didn't get to see everything that was donated as I was running around from the minute I got there until the minute we left! :O) Sadly, I didn't get many pictures, so I'm relying on friends and family to send me some to post!
It was a difficult night because Oliver's next MRI was in four days and we thought that his tumor was progressing. It's so hard because you find yourself worrying about everything!! So I talked and cried throughout the night. We just never know what to expect. Honestly when Woody asked me about planning this for Oliver, I was hesitant because I didn't know if he'd make it to his benefit. Now that it is over, I find myself wondering if he'll make it another month to his 10th birthday, and so on. It is a horrible feeling to live with on a daily basis. People say don't worry about the future, but how can I NOT?!? He was blessed to make it thus far. Day to day...
Again, thank you for the kindness and love that you've SHOWN. I've learned through this journey that you can feel love for someone in your heart, but you need to show it to them when you feel it because they could be hurting tremendously and their pain could be alleviated a bit if they just KNEW that you cared. ACT on your thoughts and feelings. Don't just let that feeling pass.
Around 7 o'clock Woody had us come up on stage and gave Oliver some gifts and had Ed and I share some thoughts with everyone. It was difficult to get up there. Like Ed said, 'thank you' just doesn't seem to cover it. We then watched a slideshow that I put together with photos and video of Oliver. I've been trying to upload it, but haven't gotten it figured out yet. It's about a 23 minute video. It was nice to see people come. There were MANY faces that I didn't know... which seems to be the norm for the last 19 months. Strangers have been so wonderful to our family. I keep thinking that strangers just are friends we haven't met yet. :O)
Again.... thank you for your kindness. I believe that we raised enough for this trip to take place. We could NOT have done it without your help. These memories couldn't be made without your help... so thank you.
Also -- a nice couple saw Oliver's story online and asked if they could help us with lodging for his trip. We will be staying at a Disney Resort because of their generosity. We hope to meet them soon so we can thank them in person.
Eden searching out the silent auction table!
Raffle table right as you come in. Thank you to Woody's parents for helping with that as well as ALL of Woody's friends that helped in ANY capacity. Even though we don't know you... it means so much to know that you did this for a stranger. I just can't tell you how that makes me feel.
Janet, Meghan, Brian. Thanks for helping guys! Thank you to Zippy's Barbeque for all of the donated food for the night. It was fantastic!
On stage with our family and Woody
Helping at the baked goods table. Hi, Tyler and Laura!
I like this one I got of Oliver in his shirt. :O)
This is a Bosnian family that has been so supportive of us. We met through my mom's work. She teaches at Lou Henry and the young man next to Oliver attends school there. His sisters and mom came tonight as well as his new uncle. They are the nicest, sweetest people.