Okay, Where do I even begin?
First, I’ll share a link on a story that was in the paper before I took off for California…
Going bald - MessengerNews.net | News, Sports, Jobs, Community Info. - The Messenger
The 46 Mommas Shave for the Brave event was beyond words…
Here’s the Before Pic with Caden…
Scott and Caden took me to the airport in DesMoines in the wee hours of the morning on the 7th. We left home at 3:45 am. Caden had his blanket and pillow in the back of the van and said, “whoa- is 4:11 A.M.??? It feels like we are the only people on Earth!” - and it did as we drove in the dark.
We said our good-byes at the airport, I took a deep breath and was on my way- I flew to Houston and had a short wait to change planes for LA. As I was waiting, I went to get some snacks and the lady said, “Again???” as she looked at my shirt…I didn’t know what she was talking about until I figured out there was another woman who had just bought snacks who was wearing the same 46 mommas shirt. As I walked back to sit down I met Shannon Montemerno (Sean’s mom). She was from Houston and was going to LA to shave as well. (She was the first of many amazing Moms I would meet throughout the week!) We got to the hotel and only had a few hours until we headed to Hollywood to rid ourselves of our locks. Yes, I was nervous- and was #33 in line to get buzzed. Michelle Spoonie (Bailey’s mom) was #41 behind me in line and as we watched she said, “hey- I have my car in walking distance- should we make a run for it?” haha- Here’s a picture of Michelle (thanks for letting me sleep at your house one night Michelle!), and Heide Randall (my idol- I love her!:) and myself as we waited our turn…
Here we all are before…
I was a little nervous waiting in line…(can you tell?!?!?!) haha
We took the BEFORE photo…
I watched the brave go first-
I can’t even describe what it was like to watch the clippers shaving all of that hair! They had soap opera stars doing some of the shaving…the only one I recognized was Ester from the Young and the Restless. BUT the AMAZING woman who I was so blessed to buzz my hair was Sharon Blynn- she is an ovarian cancer survivor, and has kept her head shaved for 10 years now … check out how beautiful she is here-
And it didn’t take long to find out that she was not only beautiful on the outside, but her inner beauty was absolutely breathtaking! She just shined of love.
Then it was finally my turn…
And the AFTER shot…
THANK YOU SHARON!!!
Time to celebrate!
Wednesday night we got to go to rehearsal for the StandUp2Cancer show…Lady Antebellum recorded the song they sang on the live show that night. Their song “I Run to You” makes me tear-up every time I hear it, and it was so much fun to see them actually perform it live, although the video playing in the background had us ALL in tears.
My sister Barb and brother-in-law Kevin live about an hour from where our hotel was, but can you believe they were in Hawaii when I got there? Yeah, what are the chances of THAT?!? They DID get back late Wed. night, so I was able to at least visit with them for a while on Thursday…here are some pictures of when they took me to the beach and out for supper… (thanks Barb&Kevin- I love you guys!)
Then Friday was the StandUp2Cancer show-( live Fri night)- but we had to be to Sony Studios that morning to get ready. They took us to a make-up trailer and we were treated like stars.
It was a lot of fun…still, I kept thinking about how bittersweet it all was. I thought a lot about Coleman, and all the moms there who were missing their kids too. Some of the moms had their kids there…little Benjamin in his wheelchair just melted my heart- His smile was SHINIING!!!- and then there was little Grace who I overheard say to her mom, “Mom? I wish I didn’t have a brain tumor” and then sat down on the sidewalk because her feet were tired from standing. *sigh*
It is so weird to go back to the 46mommas website now and see everyone with hair! We shaved shortly after we all met, so I didn’t ‘know’ a lot of them WITH hair…thanks to everyone who donated to my page- I raised almost $4,000 and all of the mommas together raised $177,379! The page is still active if anyone wants to still donate. Again, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Click on 46 momma event to see some live footage of the shave…it will kind of give you an idea of what it was like to be there….
There just aren’t words to describe how it felt to be surrounded by others who knew what it’s like…what we’ve been through. We came from all over the United States, different ages, different backgrounds, different walks of life, yet one part of our paths was the same, we all had those horrible words spoken to us, “your child has cancer.” Uggg- I wish no one had to know that feeling. There wasn’t a one of us who wouldn’t have traded places in heartbeat to be a “normal” mom at home taking our child to school that day. The mommas I met will hold a special place in my heart forever. The experience is something I will NEVER forget as long as I live.
THANK YOU to everyone for your support- I think we made an impact. I HOPE we made a difference and at least raised awareness. If you watched the show, we were only on screen for a split second, but the standing ovation we got meant so much to us, and I could just hear Coleman whispering, “Neva Div Up- wight mommy?”
Little Army’s story was featured on the show. It was so nice to get to visit with his mom Lindsay again. She’s an amazing mom. We Iowa Moms have to stick together Lindsay! lol
Sweet Renee Combs was there shaving in memory of Coleman as well- THANK YOU Renee! It was so nice to meet you and your mom!
I got to meet beautiful Sammi and her equally beautiful Mom Ellen who shaved together-
And little Zoe and her grandpop Paul- such great people!
And of course Mimi and Michelle had to have our after pic taken together!
I could go on and on listing the phenomenal women I had the chance to meet. Yes, we met celebrities, but to me, it meant more to meet the people who came up to me and told me they had prayed for Coleman and our family…THEY were the ones who had me in awe! The whole experience is something I can’t even begin to put into words.
They didn’t let us have cameras when we went back stage, but a few people have sent me photos they got…here is Rob Lowe- he wore a team Larson band on the StandUp2Cancer show! (yes, he’s gorgeous in person, and hugged every single momma in line!)
Here’s a picture of Stevie Wonder& the mommas…
I got to give Katie Couric a high five and got a hug from Jay Leno….
Like I said, all bittersweet, but it was really nice of them to acknowledge us- and they all said they thought what we were doing was great.
I flew home Saturday, but my plane was delayed in Minneapolis. Scott and Caden expected to pick me up at the airport around 8:30, but I didn’t end up landing in DesMoines until 11:30. They were happy and shocked to see me! BOY did I miss the! Caden’s first words when I asked him what he thought were, “well….you look weird…..” He checked me over and added. “but I mean that in a good way.” (he even had to smell my head all over!)
Scott was surprised at how DARK my stubbly head was. :) Until I reminded him that yes, I DID color my hair honey, I’m not a natural blonde…haha
So I went back to school Monday morning and look at what I found in my classroom! 46 hats hanging on the wall and this note.
Yes, I cried. I am soooooo blessed to work at a school with such awesome kids and teach with my WONDERFUL friends each day. THANK you Duncombe Elementary!!!
So it’s back to “normal” (haha) around here. My class has adjusted well I think. They love the fashion show I’ve been putting on for them, trying out all of the hats. I’m adjusting too… It is so weird how COLD my head gets- especially around my ears! And I find that some hats are itchier than others. It IS nice to roll my windows down and drive-what a good feeling not to worry about messing up your hair, or getting hair in your eyes as you drive- and wow do I save a LOT of time in the mornings getting ready for work! You gotta love that part!
I feel a little like a chia pet as it starts to grow out, I think it’s going to take a while, as my hair grows pretty slow, but overall, I’m so happy I did it. I did it for the kids- for Coleman…and before I end this, here’s a little video I don’t think I’ve ever posted. I smile at how Caden is trying to tease him by yelling “Cole-man? I got bunny!” and Coleman saying, “I’m singin right now!” Oh how I miss that singing.
OH- I almost forgot, I have a little story to share before I go…when it was time for me to fly out of LA, a lot of the moms went on an early flight, but mine didn’t leave until later. I packed up the room and headed down to the hotel shuttle service. My chauffer Freddie said I was the only one that would be riding. On the way to the airport we chatted about how he had been driving bald mommas all morning. He said he and his mother had watched us on TV the night before. I noticed he had a Team Larson wristband on…(I had put all of my left-overs on a table in the hotel lobby with a sign that said ‘Help Yourself’.) I told him the green band he was wearing was from my son Coleman’s fight. He asked me lots of questions about Coleman and childhood cancer as he drove. We chatted along the whole way. When he dropped me off I thanked him, and he said, “YOU are thanking ME? YOU are thanking ME? No, Thank YOU for telling me about your son.” I took a picture of my new friend Freddie with his Team Larson band to add to our book- he was choked up, so I appreciated him letting me snap the photo…Freddie told me he will remember Team Larson- and I know I will never forget him. God Bless this man.
Please help us keep spreading awareness- Let the world know September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month- 46 kids a day are diagnosed (although I really don’t believe that # any more- I think it’s higher) Let them know the color is GOLD--- our kids need funding for research. We need better treatments, we need prevention, we need a CURE! Neva Div UP!!!!
Blessings to you all,
FOREVER TEAM LARSON
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Well, WOW did August just fly right by or what?!?
It was a busy month around here getting ready for school to start again. Caden went and stayed with Grandma Jeffrey again for a few days while I had to start back for teacher work week. Thanks again so much to my sisters and brother for keeping him entertained and packing his stay with FUN! WE LOVE YOU!!!! We picked him up and weren’t even 10 miles away when he said, “I miss Grandma already,” and he had to call her on my cell phone. I think the feeling was definitely mutual!
He went back to daycare this week since his school started two days after mine. (for those of you who don’t know we are not in the same school system…he goes to the school district where we live, and I work about 15 miles away in another, so we both have our OWN school.) BUT we’re both in the FIRST GRADE classroom this year, which is interesting! He did get to come and scope out MY first graders during our open house, which he thought was pretty cool…then we went to HIS open house a couple of nights later- he’s in a new building this year since his elementary closed last year. I was a little worried because it meant he would have to ride the bus from daycare in the mornings, and last year he SWORE he would NEVER ride the bus again! BUT he LOVES it! He loves his teacher, he got a LOT of his buddies, (and girlfriend!) in his class, and he says he LOVES riding the bus! (It’s only about a 20 minute ride tops.) We’re keeping our fingers crossed this LOVEFEST with school continues throughout the year!
Here are a few pics from Open House night…also some from the first day, but Scott took him that morning since I couldn’t take off work, and well, you know- Scott isn’t the big picture taker of the family!:) I was happy that he at least got a couple! (some people have asked, and YES it IS hard thinking of how much we would love to have pictures of Caden and Coleman walking into school together…it will ALWAYS be hard.we know Coleman was watching over Cade though as much as we would LOVE to have them together physically, we’re so proud of how Caden is facing things on his own.)
Open House Night:
Caden by his locker-
His locker is right next to one of his buddies…
First Day of School…thanks Scott for taking pics!
First Grade here he comes!!!
His first assignment- practicing his letters and numbers-
I'm thankful he's getting into writing and drawing more- here's a little memorial he made for a dead squirrel he found a couple of weeks ago…notice the angel wings on the squirrel- :)
My first week back teaching was TIRING! Haha I forgot how 21 first graders can wear you out! I have an awesome class though, 15 boys and 6 girls, and LOTS of fun stories to share already. It’s always exciting getting to know them. I knew it would be a LONG week when most mornings SEVERAL would ask when lunch was by 9:30, and continually asked, “When do we get to PLAY????” lol Kids will always be kids.
Before starting school we tried to pack in some fun days…we did the water park and the lazy river as much as possible, had bonfires and just soaked up the last bits of summer. Boy did it go by quick! Here are a few pictures of a BIG rain we got…this is the most water I’ve EVER seen in our yard! I was beginning to think maybe we'd mhave our own lazy river out our front door! Thankfully we only had a little in our basement, some of our friends were not so lucky.
That’s the end of our driveway-
And another storm left us with some BIG branches to clean up! Here’s one Scott and Caden had to pull over to our burn pile to cut up…
And here are a few pictures I snapped one night when they didn’t know it. Caden was mad at me, I can’t even remember why now, but he jumped on his four-wheeler and took off with tears in his eyes. I told Scott I needed to walk away- and take some deep breaths! THESE pictures show why I think Scott is the best dad ever….he went and talked to Caden until he calmed him down. Scott has 100 times more patience than I do- and I love him for it!
Well, Just when I’m singing his praises for being such an AWESOME dad, I walk outside a few days later when Caden had some buddies over and saw THIS!
Am I the only one who thinks this is a REALLY bad idea??!?!?!?! Haha- I had to WALK AWAY AGAIN- and breathe deeply! :)
Okay, Here’s Caden with his AIR HORN…now I have some BIG news I want to share….Make sure to go to keep reading!
Do you remember in the last post when I talked about the 46 mommas? They are shaving their heads together to raise money for childhood cancer…go back to the last post for more details OR go to www.46mommas.com...
Well………I am NOW ONE OF THEM! This was not an easy decision…not that I didn’t TOTALLY believe in what they’re doing, I just wasn’t sure I could get the time off work with school just starting, and it’s going to be in California so making travel plans, etc.
Well, God made sure ALL of that worked out, and I am OFFICIALLY a part of the 46mommas! Some people have asked WHY 46? This is the number of children newly diagnosed with cancer EVERY SINGLE DAY. A few people close to me don’t understand why I feel the need to do this. (Not Scott, he’s all for it! HE knows exactly why I’m doing it, but I know the people who think this is crazy for me to do, only feel this way only because they love me…)
This is something I WANT to do…we NEED a cure! We need better treatments at the least…and it won’t happen unless we have awareness...I'd give ANYthing for that.
Believe me, if you would have asked me a few years ago if I would shave my head, it wouldn’t have taken me a second to answer “NO WAY- NOT FOR ANYTHING!” That was then. So much has changed since then, including me, and what I value important in life. I remember when Coleman’s hair first started coming out. It was like a knife in my heart with every handful that I found on a pile of pillows he and Caden had stacked up in the middle of the living room floor. They were jumping into them and Coleman, who had recently finsihed his first chemo treatment was shedding- BAD! We had a family picture for the church book scheduled for the next morning. I just wanted his hair to stay in for that picture so badly. I kept telling him to QUIT jumping, but it was no use. He and Caden were giggling away and having so much fun. We should ALL be more like kids- they know what's TRULY important- and that day it was having FUN! I remember picking the pillows up off the floor and crying. The hair loss made it all so real…
We got the picture taken, and there sat Coleman with a big smile looking a little like Squiggy off of Lavern and Shirley. When I look at that picture now, I don’t even notice his hair. His smile is all I see now…a smile that came from his heart. I NOW know beauty is not in hair…it’s in a person’s heart, and Coleman had the most beautiful heart of anyone I’ve ever known. Soooooo, I’ll be shaving and smiling…I’m so excited for this adventure! (not to say I’m not a little “ner-bus” as Coleman would say!) BUT I know it will be a great experience. As they shave my head, I will be thinking of every single time I told Coleman he could be brave, every blood draw, every GCSF shot, every catscan, every MRI, every spinal tap, radiation treatment, chemo drip, blood transfusion, for every procedure…he would say he was a witta bit ner-bus, but he always put his brave face on, and as soon as it was over, that smile that melted my heart would be back.
I have to start preparing my class this week for a sub, and also a teacher returning after Labor Day bald! :) I bet they will never forget their crazy first grade teacher who SHAVED HER HEAD! :) I’m doing this for Olivia who I had in my class last year, a spunky rhabdomyosarcoma survivor, (I have her brother this year) for our friend Becky, who relapsed with leukemia a couple of weeks ago, who has walked beside us in our curesearch walks- (we love you BECKY!), for the man who stopped by our house last week in tears because his son was just diagnosed with a brain tumor, and he was in shock looking for advice, for the mom from Canada who contacted me last week with a story so eerily similar to Coleman’s, and she was looking for something, ANYthing to save her ONLY son. For ALL of the kids and families we’ve met along Coleman’s journey- way too many to list….It breaks my heart and makes me so angry all at the same time. This isn’t something that’s going away. At least 46 newly diagnosed EVERY day… It needs to STOP. And not just children, my dad was taken from us when I was 13 because of cancer- I’m doing this for HIM as well!
Since I signed up so late for the team of mommas, I haven’t raised much money yet…if you’d be willing to visit the site, scroll to my page and make a donation, even $10, I’d be SO grateful!
OH and be sure to watch STANDUP2CANCER airing Sept. 10th on ABC, NBC, CBS, DISCOVERY and HEALTH, the mommas are going to be a part of the show! You may just see our bald smiling faces- smiles from the heart!
Thank you so much for your support. Please know how VERY much it means-
As Cman would say, “NEVA DIV UP!” I’m working on it sweetie…mommy loves you- always.
Blessings to you all,
FOREVER TEAM LARSON