“Oh my gosh. My heart pounded. I could not believe what was happening to me. After suffering so much, I almost felt it was too good to be true, like I didn’t deserve it or anything. My mouth hung open, my breathing was awkward, and my face was hot and red from crying. I lost it—completely lost it. Burying my head in my arms, I cried so hard that it hurt. Never had anything touched me in such a way. To hear encouragement to keep fighting from someone who I admired was breathtakingly unimaginable.”
After a morning that began with meeting Dr. Sanders and then Dr. Hartwell, how could my thirteenth day of the Hope Tour encompass even more excitement? It could, and it did!
Mom, Meredith, and I left Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and headed for Seattle Children’s Hospital in a light rain that ended before we hopped out of our car at the hospital. Dr. Molly Martyn met us with a warm welcome and led us to a conference room where everything was ready for my presentation.
Before I spoke with the residents, we all enjoyed a delicious lunch, thanks to Jayson Levich and Panera Bread in Seattle! Panera Bread has been unbelievably supportive of my Make-A-Wish, and I thank the company and the employees!
This was the very first opportunity I have had to speak with a room full of residents. Some of them were at the end of their residency and some were at the very beginning. My time with them was filled with meaning. Their questions showed a true concern for understanding their patients so that they could better care for them. I am grateful to Dr. Molly Martyn, and to Meredith and Make-A-Wish, for this opportunity to share insight that will hopefully lead to better care for children with cancer.
After speaking and signing books for the residents, their Child Life Specialist, Austin, gave me a tour through pediatrics. We suited up in our finest yellow garments to visit Jenna, a cheerful, lovable girl who is recovering from a bone marrow transplant. I loved the signs on the walls of her room… my favorite… “Jenna Rocks!”
I was able to visit a couple of other children while I was there. Childhood cancer is moment to moment, so I never know until I walk in the door of a hospital if there will be children there who are up for a visit. I… of all people… understand this. I was very happy to meet all of the children I met this day, and I want to share about one more very special boy and his mama that we met. Duncan really did grab my heart and take it away with him! Mom and I talked with Duncan and his mom about love and about faith. It was just minutes of time together, but the heartfelt memories will last forever. Duncan and his mom taught me about love, about life.
As we left the hospital, it was time to say good-bye to Amazing Make-A-Wish Meredith. This was very, very hard to do; Mom and I wanted to pack her up in HerbertTheHopeMobile and bring her along for more Hope Tour adventures. It’s hard to say bye to someone who has given your life experiences that you have only dreamed of. It’s hard to say bye to someone who has worked her tail off out of the love in her heart. I miss you already, Meredith! Thank you, and thank you to your entire office at Make-A-Wish Alaska/Washington for making my time in Seattle unforgettable.
Thank you for cooking up a huge batch of Hope while I was there in Seattle!
Day 13 Part II Hope Tour Video: