I live in “Holland,” but end up in the most unexpected of places

2012-06-29 15:52:40 by Sarah Sanford, Patient Family, as posted on the inside.akronchildrens.org blog.

This past week brought Baby Jude, Janey and Vance and me to all kinds of unexpected places. Jude and I got to be on the field at an Akron Aeros game, courtesy of The Summit DD.

Baby Jude was honored as a champion - “The littlest champion,” as the PR guru dubbed him.  Hearing your kid’s name and then mass applause in a stadium is an experience that everyone should get.

Jude’s shout-out might not have been because he is leading the Ohio State University football team onto the field for a big game, but I’ll take it.  Baby Jude’s progress, determination and successes would put most winning QBs to shame. Nothing comes easy for him. It’s the stuff champions are made of.  Thank you, Summit DD Board.

Next up, Akron Children’s NeuroDevelopmental Science Center’s “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” picnic and carnival for patients with cerebral palsy and their families.  Unbelievable event – lots of kid-friendly food, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Elmo, games, the Doggie Brigade, one of Baby Jude’s fav docs (Dr. Mosher) giving a presentation, vendor exhibits to check out the latest and greatest in disability gear.

The event gives you a chance to see the entire spectrum of cerebral palsy - from kids who are mildly affected, like Jude, all the way up to kids who will never walk, talk, or even breathe on their own.  It was a chance to truly see how far Baby Jude has come, to see what may or may not be the “ghost of Christmas future.”

But, most importantly, it was a chance to be reminded of how grateful I need to remain - worse things happen to better people every day, and I will never forget that now.  Thank you, Akron Children’s Hospital.

A most unexpected visit came from a woman named Kathy.  She answered my Aunt Beth’s door when I dropped off a couple side dishes for our annual family reunion.  We chatted for a minute and introduced ourselves.

I was surprised to learn that she has worked with people with disabilities for 30 years.  I asked if she has read this blog, or is on Facebook, or if my Aunt had mentioned Baby Jude.  Nope.  She just felt that she wanted me to know that.

Weird, I know.  I gave her my cliff notes version of our story with J & J and a brief “it was nice to meet you Kathy.”

When we made our way back to the reunion, after the CP picnic and game, I learned that Kathy was a cousin’s boss’s girlfriend in from Washington DC. Totally random, right?

She approached me and asked, kind of quietly, if I go to church.  I said, “yes, Sundays at St. Vincent- I raise my children as Catholics.”  Kathy smiled, “Ah, you’re a Christian, walk with me.”  I have no idea why, but I followed her across the yard. She hugged me tightly, took a cross necklace from around her neck and clasped it around mine.

I told her I could never accept it and that I didn’t even know her last name to send her an appropriate thank you note.  Kathy’s reply?

“You have already written your thank you note by taking those beautiful children into your home and into your heart.”

Not to sound corny, but I am fairly certain that I was not just visited by Kathy, but by God.  Or, a messenger at least.  I told ya, many unexpected visits.

Grateful, Prayerful & Hopeful.

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