“The crest and crowning of all good,
Life’s final star, is Brotherhood.”
My Make-A-Wish Hope Tour time in Phoenix ended late in the afternoon, and then, Mom and I hopped into HerbertTheHopeMobile and headed toward California.
We encountered a brief display of nature when what I call a Mini-Haboob (Wikipedia definition) swept over the highway we were driving on. Tumbleweeds and twigs flew through the air as we found ourselves unable to see the road in front of us. The “I Respect Nature” display did not last long in its vigor, and soon, we were able to continue on, with a significant dust storm flying all around us.
By the time we reached Hyatt Westlake Plaza, we were two bleary-eyed Hope Tour-ers! Mom and I awakened the next morning to a surprise that opened our bleary eyes… it was a message from Linda… the Linda who planned the entire Hope Tour. She was down in the lobby!
Linda has been incredible, amazing, and all other great adjectives rolled into one. She understood how I wanted to make my wish bless the children who are fighting cancer, and how I wanted my wish to raise awareness that will bring funding for pediatric cancer research. Linda, from Tri-Counties Make-A-Wish, worked with other chapters, including National, to make my wish come true. Through their co-operation, Make-A-Wish has not only made my wish come true, but they have made it possible for my wish to live on. Linda, my very own personal Make-A-Wish Angel, I thank you. I know you love the children just as I do, and that’s why you were able to do what you did—pretty much the impossible! Mom and I thank you for our time together that enriched our lives; may it spill over and bless others. You will always be an Angel in my life.
After meeting Linda in the hotel lobby, we left for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Thank you to Marlen Bugarin, for meeting us. Marlen took us on a tour of the hospital, and I also had a time to meet Dr. Stuart E. Siegel, Director Head, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Professor of Pediatrics. Make-A-Wish far exceeded my wish by planning meetings with many oncologists and researchers on my Hope Tour. This was a wonderful surprise! The opportunity to meet with doctors and researchers goes even beyond inspiring me to do what they do. By meeting, this opportunity opens the doors for all of us to work together for common good for children fighting cancer. Whenever we join with others who have the same passion, the good we can do exceeds the sum of the parts. It’s like vinegar and baking soda combined… bubbles!
One of the things I will remember most about my visit to CHLA, besides meeting Dr. Siegel, are the warriors I met that day. I met several teenage warriors who will always have a piece of my heart. I talked with Austin and his mom. Austin and I have a lot in common. He plays football, and we spoke of how hard it is to not be able to do what you love and how—at the same time—that love for what you love to do is what gives you the push to heal. I think of Austin every day… and I check in on his page to see how he is doing.
Someone else I will always remember is Henry. Henry told me an unbelievable story about his life and about what he has overcome, and how cancer has actually helped him to be who he needs to be. I won’t give the details, because, I have encouraged him to tell his own story!
On our way back to our hotel, after visiting the hospital, we missed the onramp to the freeway. As we drove down a street to turn around, we noticed a dog tied up outside a motor-home that looked like it didn’t “motor” anymore. The dog’s bones were sticking out, as if the poor baby was starving. Mom pulled over HerbertTheHopeMobile, looked into the back, and she pulled out something for the dog to eat. She got out, walked over to those who were in the motor-home, and asked if it would be okay to feed the dog.
I love my mom.
My Make-A-Wish Hope Tour created many acts of love… this is why my wish lives on.