Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May, We Thank You

What a month it has been - something special and wonderful every week. Today, Georgia spent the day at Schlitterbahn with the Upper Elementary class, and she has the pink shoulders to prove it! She and her daddy had a great time, and I'm sure they'll both sleep very well tonight. Tomorrow is her last full day of school, as we're set for day surgery on Thursday, and Friday is the much-loved Gates of Life ceremony for all the students and staff members moving on to new classes, new schools, new paths. I've already got the jumbo tissue pack stuffed in my purse.

Looking back at this school year, we are so amazed and so grateful that Georgia had such an exceptional time. We anticipated her missing quite a few days as her immune system is still compromised, but thanks to her iron will, and the tremendous care and attention of our Parkside family, she was rarely absent outside of appointment days. She learned much, laughed often, and grew in every sense of the word. In fact, that really applies to the entire five years we were so lucky to have her in this magical place. Thank you, Joe, Claire, and the whole Parkside community - we love you all!

Our memory page in the yearbook -
shh, it's a surprise!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Music Mavens

This week was Cultural Challenge at school, and both Georgia and Ivy decided to sing. Georgia chose a classic Steve Martin "bit" called "Grandmother's Song," and Ivy chose Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire." They both did so well and are 100 times braver than I could ever hope to be!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fair Sailing, Sweet Andrew.

Read about his incredible journey here.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Children Helping Children

Well, the final total isn't in quite yet, but so far, we made over $2000 for CureSearch at the art show today! There were more than 100 pieces, mostly acrylic paint on canvas, from artists aged 2-12. There were pieces by schoolmates, friends, and family members from Austin to as far away as Canada! Patty and her parents, Naydi and Jorge, did such an AMAZING job putting the show together, even getting up before sunrise this morning to do some live television promos! A huge thank you goes out to them, and to our ever-generous Parkside family, for making this event so special and so successful. And thank you to Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery for the use of your beautiful space. Naydi is already planning what she wants to do next year, so we've got to get to work on some more art! Love, love, love to everyone who came today and thank you, thank you, thank you for supporting Georgia and childhood cancer research.

Ivy and our fabulous curator, Patty

Georgia and her piece, "At the Barre"

Ivy and her piece, "Paint"

Cousin Owen and his purchase, "Midgard," by Aidan from Houston

Classmate Kelly and her purchase, "Peach on a Table," a Georgia original!

The Artists in Repose (with Daddy)

This just in! A quick story about the show, with Patty and Ivy's teacher, the lovely Ms. Camille!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Banner Year

The Man and Woman of the Year Finale was incredible! The Driskill Hotel is so beautiful on its own, but the event decor made it even more so. The food was delicious, and the company delightful.

Georgia cheering as the candidates were introduced

After the live and silent auctions, the votes were tallied, and the top fundraisers were Brian McClure and Elaine Candelas. The grand total for the entire campaign was over $156,000 - amazing!

Georgia so enjoyed meeting all of the candidates, the LLS staff, and everyone involved with the campaign, so a big thank you goes out to Sarah and her team for treating our girl like a queen. We're always happy to spread the word about the mission to fund research, improve treatments, and increase patient services, and we're so proud of, and thankful for, the success Georgia has had in her recovery and the advocate for others that she has become.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Part of Speech

Literally. This is part of my speech for the event tomorrow night:

There will never come a moment where we say, "Remember that time you had leukemia?" But at the same time, Georgia will not be defined by this experience. She is, was, and always will be a special, special girl, and I'm confident that this is all leading up to the greatness she was already destined for. For now, we will continue to take it day by day and keep on fighting, raising money, and celebrating Georgia's victories because, thankfully, there are many.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Last Call for Art!

Our art show for CureSearch is fast approaching, so if you have any children's art you'd like to donate, we need it by May 18th. Ivy's classmate, Patty, and her parents have worked so hard to get this together, it's going to be a very special event. We'd love to have you and/or your art there, so email us for details.

Also on the horizon, the Man & Woman of the Year Finale! This Thursday, we'll see who the top fundraisers are and find out how much they raised to further the mission of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It should be quite a night!

Finally, this is National Nurses Week! This special week, which runs from May 6th through Florence Nightingale's birthday on May 12th, honors the amazing women and men on the front lines of patient care. We've told you before how wonderful all of Georgia's nurses are, and as you can see from the video below, she really thinks of them as her great friends. Again, we cannot thank you enough for taking such special care of our girl!

Friday, May 6, 2011

El Numero Quatro

Yesterday, Georgia kicked off her fourth 3-month cycle of maintenance with her 20th day surgery. Got all that? She did so well that by the time I got back to recovery, she was already wide awake and halfway through her first popsicle! This time, the note on her back said, "Celebrating 20 LPs!" (lumbar punctures) - she just loves to joke with Dr. Neff. Those two!

We're anticipating at least two more cycles of maintenance after this one, and then whatever we do to get us the rest of the way to April 29, 2012 - or thereabouts. With that in mind, Georgia would have just 3-4 more day surgeries over the next year! That's something to celebrate! So we did, with a picnic on the Capitol grounds today. The weather was lovely, and the company was, too.
Next week, we'll wrap up the Man & Woman of the Year campaign with a grand finale at The Driskill Hotel. Georgia will be in full Girl of the Year mode, and yours truly is giving a speech. Speaking of, here's a very sweet video one of the candidates put together for his campaign - tissues at the ready ...

Have a great weekend and a wonderful Mother's Day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dollars and Cents

I love that Georgia wrote, "Survivor" on her coin box!

Hello Friends of Georgia! We are coming off of a banner week of fundraising around Peachy Keen headquarters, especially considering most of the funds raised were in coins. For the past three weeks, Parkside has been running its Pennies for Patients campaign, and the results are in!

The grand total is .......... $4,132.86!!!!!!!!!! See, every little bit really does add up! Incredible numbers for a small but mighty (and mighty loving!) community. And so, to reward the children for all their hard work, EIGHT staffers each took a pie in the face, including Ivy's teacher (and huge Georgia supporter), Ms. Camille:

She still looks beautiful!

I hated to get the whole school all riled up first thing in the morning and then LEAVE, but I had to get prepared for our next event of the weekend - the Second Annual Blood Drive and Party in honor of Georgia, now featuring a Lemonade Stand for CureSearch!

Once again, Aunt Kate and Uncle Trent were such amazing hosts, opening up their home for this wonderful event. Georgia and Ivy were inspired by Lemonade Day and Alex's Lemonade Stand to set up a stand benefiting childhood cancer research, so they juiced 80(!) lemons with Trevor and whipped up Paula Deen's lemonade recipe (which, surprisingly, does not call for butter). They added in a few sweets and were open for business. By the end of the party, they earned $114 for CureSearch - woohoo!

As for the main reason we were there, we added 21 units of blood to Georgia's donation tally, with a few potential donors planning to try again later this month, after loading up on some iron-rich foods. Low iron is a very common reason for otherwise-qualified donors to get turned away on a particular day, but thankfully, it's something that can be easily remedied, so don't give up!

We got to use the new big rig - pretty!

Also pretty? The guest of honor!

All in all, it was a great day, a great week, a great month. We so appreciate all of you making our cause your cause - you're helping us help so many other families on their own cancer journeys, and it means the world to us. Thank you, thank you!