July 10th was the date for the next fundraiser…just two days prior to our leaving for the East Coast. The days leading up to it were high stress, as I tried to manage swim lessons, day camp, shopping for the trip, making arrangements, packing, etc. Not to mention keeping emotions in check as the reality of the why we were going started to sink in. The organizer of the event, Phyllis Enos, did a remarkable job. She had bounce houses, a BBQ, dunk tank, and about 20 vendors there! It was remarkable!! Not only did she put it all together, she also contacted the news agencies and got them interested.
But all went well and we were so pleased with the first story. We had two news stations come out prior to the fundraiser and both were different and equally great! We were also interviewed by the Sacramento Bee and in the Sunday newspaper ran a really good article about Hank, Parry Romberg Syndrome and our quest to raise awareness and search for a cure. It was accompanied by a beautiful photo of Hank, and he was so excited to see himself in the paper.
Here is the first story, which ran Thursday, July 8, 2010 on Fox Channel 40. Reporter, Chris Biele, did an awesome job! Thank you Chris!
A story was also published in the newspaper. It was really well written by a reporter named Miranda Simon. She did an excellent job and the photo of Hank was beautiful. The story ran in the Sunday edition of the Sacramento Bee, so we know a lot of people saw it! Hank is so proud, and yet a little shy about all the attention. But he handles it all with grace and maturity and I am proud of him.
So here we are in Delaware, after spending the last few days in Washington DC. When we planned this trip, Jeff and I talked about coming to see his Grandma in Delaware. After three trips to the east coast we still hadn't had an opportunity to see her. And she had never met Hank, Charlie or Lucy. We wanted to make this trip different for Hank. To make it more than just flying to NY for surgery. Jeff's mom graciously offered to finance the first leg of this trip and here we are! We are so grateful!
We flew out to DC on the red-eye Monday night. Brave or foolish...not sure which we were...but the kids did great! Although I did feel bad for the unfortunate teenager seated next to us when I realized Lucy had her feet all over him as she slept! And then there were the people who brought their CATS with them...causing Jeff to suffer from his allergies, the entire flight. Luckily we didn't figure it out until they walked off the plane with their cat carriers. That cleared up the mystery of the meowing.
Moving on, we headed back to the Visitor's Center to take a bathroom break. Here's a DC travel tip: The bathrooms at the visitor center close at 4pm. And of course it was after 4pm when we got there! So we took a hot dog break instead. And because it was SO hot, the kids had Rocket Pops too! Knowing them, that was probably the highlight of their day! Gotta love kids!
I've never studied the layout of the memorials....but if you stand at the Washington Monument and look one direction, you can see the White House...and then if you turn, you can see the Capital, keep turning, and there is the Jackson Memorial, and finally the reflecting pool and Lincoln Memorial beyond. I didn't realize they all lined up!! It's an amazing sight, if you don't expect it. Next stop was the Reflecting Pool, but first we stopped at the World War II Memorial. It was beautiful and overwhelming. Iron wreaths on pillars commemorating the states and territories, the names of the islands and places were battles were fought...homage paid to the fact that it was fought in two oceans and beyond. Really well done. Made me miss my Dad, who has passed away. I know he would have loved it and appreciated such a beautiful tribute.
From there, we continued down the tree lined pathway alongside the Reflecting Pond, on our way to the Lincoln Memorial. Rain. Lots and lots of rain....A downpour, really. And there we were, completely unprepared. We took refuge under a large tree, hiding from the wind and rain behind it's trunk. Each time the rain let up a little we would walk, only to hide under the next tree....and then it was done. Clouds parted, skies cleared up and it was blazing hot again.
We made it back to the hotel with no incidents and prepared to go to dinner with Jeff's cousin, Lia. I'm not going to get into any details...but all I can say is that it is very hard to negotiate the freeways here. They are not clearly marked and it's any one's guess which way to go...which is why we missed dinner and ended up at the McDonald's drive thru. Sad..... But the kids were happy and we just figured it was yet another Gibbs Family Adventure!