Friday, 23 January 2009

MacKids Kick-off for Celebration 2009

Well, it was quite an evening. We made the drive to Hamilton being not quite sure what to expect. As soon as we arrived we were greeted by people who knew Liam's face and came up to introduce themselves. I think Daniel's comments summed it up. "Wow it feels like we are in Hollywood! Everybody knows Liam." Although the evening was overwhelming at times, we were very proud of all of our kids. They took everything in stride even when the CHCH news crew interviewed us on TV. As most of the attention was focused on Liam, he did great.

Thank-you for all of your prayers. We felt our speech went well and we have had some positive comments from people at the hospital. We were a little nervous as we did not expect the approximately 1000 people that were in attendance!

Liam met last year's poster child and they participated in a ceremony where she passed a cute stuffed animal (Cheeky Monkey) to Liam to kick-off this year's fundraising campaign. We watched video's of staff and donors for MacKids and then the video presentation ended with Liam's poster being revealed on the big screen! It was really neat.

After all the presentations, service awards and ceremonies were over it was time for the dance. They had The Pointer Sisters impersonators and a Rod Stewart Impersonator. Or kids had a super time. Trinity Joy loves to bogey! Liam got on stage and hammed it up with Rod Stewart singing and dancing for the crowd. Caroline was strumming the guitar for one of the band members. Anti-dancers Daniel and Jason hung out and laughed a lot at the table. We really did have a lot of fun!
The following is our speech. I started it off with reading to them some of my feelings that I wrote on this blog in a post entitled "Breath".
KIM - There are moments in your life when it takes everything you have just to continue to breathe. As I sat in the office of my son's pediatrician I had one of those moments. Life does that to you. One minute you are fine and then in an instant you are in the midst of full blown gale. A storm that is so huge you have no idea where you are. As the doctor repeated the words "We found a mass in Liam's brain. He needs to see neurosurgeon," it seemed as if all the air was sucked out of the room and walls around me began to spin out of control. I was trying desperately to concentrate on the words that the doctor was saying but I felt like the room had gone so cold that I could no longer get any air into my lungs. I have no idea if my prayer to Jesus was audible and I know that my mind could not have formed anything other than to call His name but I became conscious of His presence. The room was still spinning but a warmth was beginning to return. The thoughts just breathe started to run through my head. Just breathe. God knew this was coming. He was not surprised, or shocked, or out of control. He has got this. I need to just breathe.
JASON - Liam had been suffering migraines and after a particularly bad episode at school he was sent for a CT scan at our hospital in Milton, which revealed his tumor and began our journey. As it turns out the migraines are unrelated, and so his tumor was an incidental finding. We see it as God’s hand being in our story from the beginning.
Being people of faith, news of the tumor led to a lot of prayer by our family, extended family, our church family and people around the world who heard of Liam’s story. We truly believe that an answer to those prayers was to bring us to McMaster Children’s Hospital. This place is being used in amazing ways and we really want to thank all those who are involved with Mac Kids for all you do in the lives of those who are treated by this hospital. And in particular we would like to thank all those who were directly involved in Liam’s care, and the care of our family. We are blessed to be cared for by such an amazing group of people.
From the great people in the MRI lab who came to know Liam’s face and his name and would even remember which movie he was watching with the video goggles and where he left off on his last visit.
The Child Life staff who would care for Liam’s emotional well being, helping him process his journey through bravery beads, or lift his spirits with homemade quilts and Nintendo Wii consoles that made Liam smile.
To the amazing staff of doctors and nurses who cared for Liam as if he were family. Whether it was those on the Ward or those at the foot of his bed in PCCU, we found kindness, gentleness and caring. And from putting up with Liam’s practical jokes (which he reminds me I helped him with), to helping him check his prayer list to bring him comfort, we knew that it was not just Liam’s scars that were being cared for, but his whole person.
Anesthesiologists who would seek us out in the hallway to give us a report on how things had gone before providing comfort and support to another grieving parent she found crying in the hallway. Although the doctor was not involved in the case, she involved herself in the care of this mother and leading her to the support she needed.
And of course an incredibly talented team of neurosurgeons. It was one of our nurses in PCCU who would let us know that “our neurosurgery team kicks....butt” Although I don’t think she said butt. When a child can undergo two craniotomies in two weeks and then literally walk away a week later with only a scar as evidence, the only word that comes to mind is brilliant. And perhaps it is because I have watched too many television medical dramas, but in the back of my mind I thought the most brilliant of doctors and surgeons are not supposed to have great bedside manner. But when your surgeons show up with gifts for their patients, when they check in on them everyday, visiting between other appointments and even on days off you know that there is something different about this team.
KIM - To have experienced the people behind MacKids is to have experienced integrity, and excellence for sure, but also kindness, caring and compassion. In July, it was all I could do just to breathe. We stand before you today being able to do so much more. Every person in this room tonight has been an answer to prayer and we thank you. We thank-you for all you do from the bottom of our hearts.
We thank all of you too that read this blog for the important part you played in bringing us in prayer before our almighty God!

1 comment:

  1. We are so proud of Liam!
    When is it being aired?
    I would love to see it!
    -Leeann V