As J-Si and I were walking to our cars, still feeling the warm and fuzzy excitement from meeting the Eakes family and getting to tell them they get to go on this years trip, I noticed a woman walking her daughter around the front of the children’s hospital lawn. The young girl was in a wheelchair with a mask on and covered in blankets. As they started walking towards J-Si and I, I realized I recognized this girl. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but I knew she had been on a previous Kidd’s Kids trip.
They walked straight up to us and the woman introduced herself and her daughter Isabel and said how we probably wouldn’t remember them, but they too went on the trip a few years ago and asked what we were doing at the hospital. We told them how we were actually there to surprise another family to tell them that they were getting to go on this year’s trip to Disney World. I saw Isabel look up at us. I couldn’t see her eyes, because they were covered. I couldn’t see her mouth, because it was also covered. I bent down to say hello and her mom started telling us about how much that trip meant to them and then she said, Isabel and I haven’t been home for nearly a year. We have been here at the hospital every single day for the past 11 months. J-Si and I exchanged knowing glances and I know we were thinking the same thing.
Our hearts sank. Isabel didn’t look like she was feeling very well that day. We all hugged, told her to stay strong and I got in my car to make the hour drive back home. The entire car ride I couldn’t shake that encounter with Isabel and her mom. And how they haven’t seen the outside of a hospital room for 11 months. I reflected on the past 11 months of my life. All of the ups and down I’ve personally had. I will admit, I’ve had some very dark time. Putting my dog to sleep, family emergencies, and heartbreak on all levels. But I’ve also had a lot of bright days to balance out the dark ones. Days spent with going to dinner with friends, going out of town to celebrate birthdays, just being able to take a walk outside. I’m sure many of our KiddNation family members can relate to this. We all have dark days, but a lot of bright days as well. Imagine if those bright days only came every few years. For some of these families, the 5 magical days in Disney World are the only bright days they have to look forward to and reflect back on if and when times get dark again. You can make these bright days happen for deserving children and today is the day to do that.