When we were pregnant with Will and learned he would have a rare medical condition causing him to have limb differences on all four of his limbs, we began to seek hope.
We found it as we walked in the doors of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for the first time on July 5, 2007.
We inhaled hope as we smelled the popcorn - not the antiseptic smell typical of a hospital.
We found ourselves smiling and laughing for the first time in several very difficult weeks as we walked the halls and encountered other families - families with children with differences - families in our world... who were smiling.
We encountered hope as we met doctors and explained what we knew of our unborn son and they assured us he would do life his own way - and it would become our normal.
Their hope for our son was contagious.
We vowed, as we circled the "olympic" clinic track that we would give back to this hospital. We learned that the Dallas Marathon benefits the hospital and since we were runners, this seemed a natural fit for us.
We created a team, "Where There's a WILL, There's a Way." I remember driving around Dallas that week, seeing various specialists, running tests and fetal mris, having really, really difficult conversations with doctors at various hospitals, and yet, in the car between appointments, making plans for our race team.... finding hope.
Six years later and WTAWTAW is still going strong! We've had over 300 people on our team - many have come for multiple years. We've had runners, walkers, spectators, cheerleaders, and even people on our "home team" from the comfort of their own home. We've had team members from two different countries and from both East Coast & West Coast states and many in between.
Together, we've raised over $150,000 for this incredible hospital. Together, we've helped fund prosthetics for kids like Will, therapies for kids like Ellie, medical equipment, life changing surgeries, state of the art dyslexia research, camps where kids with differences can spend a week building relationships with other kids like them, and so much more.
TSRHC is the #2 orthopedic pediatric hospital in this nation - and for good reason. We are proud that it is our home away from home... (Well, sometimes I wish I didn't spend quite so much time there!) It really is an incredible place. It gives us great hope.
This year, while my heart wanted to do another year of WTAWTAW, I just wasn't sure I had the energy to put into it. (It is very time consuming of my fall and early winter.)
So Lovie stepped up to the plate and volunteered to do it all. She took over t-shirts (the biggest challenge for me) and together with Cookie, hosted a very successful rally last weekend to help raise awareness in our local area.
A local bounce house company (Jump for Joy) donated this amazing slide!
We went over after church on Sunday & Will had a blast playing on it. Our friends, the O's, stopped by as we were eating lunch - we caught them on it when the sprinklers came on & soaked them! :)
This was a great addition to the party as it wore the kids out and helped Will feel like just another one of the kids.
Apparently my mom has a committee.
I was so surprised when we showed up! My parents teach a young marrieds Sunday School class and they had lots of those young couples "working" at various stations - including manning the slide to make sure no one got hurt.
They also had their "adult" class manning stations.
A huge thanks to so many of you who volunteered your Sunday evening to make our rally a success and to free us up to visit with people and share our story.
Want a Will shirt? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
We still have some in stock available for sale. We have kids' sizes and adult sizes in both cotton and dri-fit!
Naturally, Will came dressed up as Super Will.
Also on mom's committee? Face painters!
Thanks to Sarah & Mary Kathryn & Hannah!
One of the founding rules of TSRHC is that it must always smell like a popcorn - to be child friendly instead of scary hospital smell.
So they pop popcorn all day long.
Mom and Dad rented a popcorn machine for the rally - perfect!
Ellie giving a hug to her friend, Elin
Will's precious Sunday School teachers, Mrs. Rachel & Mrs. Liz, showed up to support him!
(They even wore their shirts to church that morning! He is loved.)
Ethan & Piper- our sweet former neighbors - surprised us & drove in from another town to support Will!
Will & his Sunday School friends
The slide was fun for Kids of all ages!
Go Mrs. Stringer!
Will & Daddy racing
Ellie, sorting popcorn sacks
After most people had left, we gathered our remaining good friends, grabbed some pizzas & a few bottles of wine, and had a great last minute dinner with great friends.
(A huge thanks to my parents - not only did they host this rally but then we had our friends stay for dinner and hanging out! We joked that this is great entertaining - subbing in someone else's home!)
We started out with the kids outside with the dads...
But somehow, those dads pretty quickly ushered kids back in to "play" near the moms. Hmmmm...
Finally, Will, Beau, & Bella helped Lovie draw names for door prizes!
Ellie and Harrison playing. My girl loves babies!
The toddlers- happily destroying Lovie's dining room.
A huge thank you to my mom & dad - for hosting the rally and helping us spread awareness about what an awesome place Scottish Rite is.
Before my pregnancy with Will, I had never even heard of this incredible hospital. I'm so thankful for the hope it has given us and want to be able to spread that to other families that may find themselves needing their services.
A huge thank you to so many of you who came to the rally! Our family feels so loved and supported by your presence. Thank you for loving our kiddos.
Many people made donations to Scottish Rite - we raised almost $6000 - in just a few hours! Thank you for your generosity! Your donations to the hospital will change the lives of many children.
Want to join our team?
The Dallas Marathon is in Dallas - Dec. 9
We will hold a pre-party on Dec 8 in Dallas.
You can run, walk, or cheer. There is a full marathon, a half-marathon, & a 5 person relay option.
you can stay at home and join our "home team" - wear your blue shirt (or any blue shirt) and tell others about Scottish Rite! Help us spread awareness wherever you are!
GO HERE FOR MORE INFO!