Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Our Washington Experience

Well, Josh, Grandma and I are back from Washington DC. What a time we had!!!! Its amazing how much there is to do, to see, and how much HISTORY is all around you. You almost feel the past pulling you in!!!

When Josh first found out that he was selected to be the Missouri Champion for Children's Miracle Network, he was so thrilled!!! He is so committed to CMN and to being a voice for other children who are in the hospital and can't speak for themselves. When he found out he was going to get to go to Washington DC, he was overwhelmed!!!

Our trip started with the WONDERFUL staff from Delta Airlines welcoming Josh on their flight. When we arrived in Baltimore, the Delta crew had balloons waiting, along with some of their crew, to welcome Josh. People were clapping for him and I think he teared up!!!! It was quite a site. Then we met our wonderful CMN drivers, George and Susan, who took us to our wonderful room at the JW Marriott. Walking into that hotel was like walking into a different world!! It is BEAUTIFUL!!

After we got settled, we went to the pool, where we met the Taylors from Idaho and the Gladens from Texas. Our families became fast friends and that night we went to Capitol Hill Brewery. If you ever need some excellent Chili while you are in DC, this is your spot!!!

The next day we were introduced to many more families and to the wonderful folks from WalMart and Sams who came there to celebrate with us. THAT was so cool!!!! We walked to the DC ESPN Zone and when we got there, the Sams and WalMart employees were lined up on the sidewalk clapping and welcoming us. I felt like we should have been doing that for THEM!! We had a wonderful breakfast, got to listen to Country Superstar Mark Wills and his guitarist Kevin Key, and meet Miss America!!! Josh also got to play all the games he wanted to ESPN Zone and he REALLY enjoyed that.

Besides getting a fantastic bus tour of the DC area, stopping at the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, and going to the Air and Space Museum, we also got to go to Arlington National Cemetery and eat lunch at the Capitol. Claire McCaskill, Senator from Missouri, stopped by to say hello--that was awesome! We also got to go to the WHITE HOUSE and President Obama took pictures with the children, shook their hands, and was very attentive to them. He also shook the hands of parents and anyone else he could reach. I think he spent a great amount of time with us.

The trip has so many memories and we are SO EXCITED that we get to reunite with these families and their beautiful children at Disney World in November!!! We can't wait to see all our friends again and catch up on what everyone has been doing. Josh starts high school this fall, but he has a summer planned full of CMN experiences!!! Check back for updates!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Josh's Story

Age 14
Kidney Transplant

St. Louis Children's Hospital and Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center

Although 14-year-old Josh has been treated since birth for kidney disease, his first memory of being sick was at age 3 when he got a TV in his bedroom. Josh says he remembers thinking it was "so cool," but it was there for a reason: to distract him while he was on dialysis 12 hours a day. He knew he needed it to live, but says it was more like just surviving. In his words, "How do you really live when you're connected to a machine so many hours a day?"

After years of watching other kids live normal, active lives the way he only wished he could, Josh received a kidney transplant at age 6 from a special donor: his mom, Carolyn. It took a year post-transplant for Josh's body to adjust to the new kidney, but at long last, his new life began.

Josh is finally free of dialysis machines and is living it up, going to nighttime baseball games, swimming at water parks, sleeping over at friends' houses and seeing sunsets in person instead of on TV or through a window. He's grateful to his doctors at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center and especially to his mom for giving him life—twice.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

About Walmart and Sam’s Club

Wal-Mart has supported Children’s Miracle Network since 1987. Since then, Children’s Miracle Network and Wal-Mart have worked tirelessly together to help children by raising money for children’s hospitals. Walmart and Sam’s Club associates, customers and members have raised more than $500 million for children’s hospitals during the 23 year relationship. This is the second year Walmart and Sam’s Club have sponsored the Champions program.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Champions presented by Walmart and Sam’s Club

Champions presented by Walmart and Sam’s Club is a Children's Miracle Network program that brings attention to the important work being done at children’s hospitals by honoring remarkable children who have faced severe medical challenges.

The Champions program designates a champion child in every state who has bravely battled a serious injury or illness. The champions represent the nearly 17 million children treated at Children’s Miracle Network hospitals every year. The 2010 champions have dealt with a wide variety of injuries and illnesses including genetic diseases, heart transplants and traumas, as well as life-threatening staph infections.

As part of Champions presented by Walmart and Sam’s Club, the champions travel for a week in June to Washington, D.C., where champions traditionally meet with their state senators on Capitol Hill, and the President of the United States during a visit to the White House. The family then travels to Orlando, Fla., for a second week in November. There, champions meet Children’s Miracle Network sponsor, hospital and media partners who all convene to celebrate a year of medical miracles during the Children’s Miracle Network Celebration event at Walt Disney World Resort.