I've known Gabby's Mom since High School and was elated to reconnect with her during the Myspace Stone Age and saw she had children of her own. Gabby, her eldest, struck me with her big beautiful brown eyes and lashes a mile long. I knew that Gabby had some health issues, but never pressed about the situation. April was capable and treated her daughters no differently than any other children. Time passed and I discovered Gabby had Mitochondrial Disease, specifically Complex V. I'm still confused about all the complexes and treatments, but after looking more into the disease, I'm even more amazed at April. Once she has a free moment, I will have more on Gabby's story... for now, on to last Saturday's event.
I hadn't done any sort of event for particular disorders/diseases before, and after the Color Run, the kids were very excited to run again. When we arrived at the venue, it became abundantly clear that many of those who were walking/running were doing so in memory of loved ones who had succumbed to the effects of Mito or who were running to help raise money for a cure. There were many explanations to Lo and Lillie about how God made everyone different with beautiful plans for each and every one of us. It was hard to see my own children with their boundless energy, squeezing past children in chairs and devices whose very disease saps them of the very energy they so desperately need to just be children. My heart ached with both gratitude that Lo got dealt the "cardio" card when it came to genetic diseases and shame for that very same gratitude. I'm still sorting out my feelings regarding this.
Quite possibly the earliest park outing we've ever taken them on. The sun barely crept up behind the trees of the park, we were very grateful for the free breakfast and endless cups of coffee.
Random yarn bombing on the trees lining the park. I like how cozy they look.
It became apparent rather early on that this would be more of a leisurely one mile stroll through historic Norcross than a race to the finish line. I really, really wanted to run so I chose Logan as my buddy for the event. Apparently Lo caught the "leisurely stroll" vibe as well as he informed me a few minutes in when I was begging him to run with me that, "Mom, everyone is walking, this is NOT a run." He then proceeded to wrap his arms around my right arm and held me back just enough to keep me from bolting (awkward gazelle style) towards the front of the line. The Husband came in 5th place. Lo and I looked as if we'd been herding everyone towards the finish line. I was not thrilled at the fact that my brand new running gear had barely been broken in. Le dramatic sigh. All in all, I can be satisfied by the fact that our money went to a good cause and anything to give Gabby a better life is alright by me.
Although the walk and event are closed, you can still donate and help these amazing children and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta get closer to a cure. Team Gabby's official page can be found here.
Post walk, Lillie and I got our hair "did" at a neat little tent with about every color of hair spray and glitter you could imagine. The peanut approved.
She then proceeded to get "Rapunzel" flowers painted all up her face... which of course melted off before we were able to make it home. At least I have pics to show her later.
I watched this child leap, run, jump, bounce, spin and somersault all around the park that day and his own condition seemed like such a mistaken diagnosis. I found myself thinking that it's not possible for his heart to be broken. It's not possible that he's NOT just some normal 4 year old (ALMOST 5!!!) boy. I count my blessings with him as often as I can, more now than ever. I'm having a hard time holding this diagnosis in my hands as fact even though I've seen the sonogram, heard the heartbeat, read everything the internet had to say on the matter and then some. If I could hold the broken valve in my hands, see the truth there on my palm, my brain would say, "Oh yes, it was there all along. There was nothing I could do on my own to fix this." I thought telling people and explaining the defect would make it easier, but it hasn't. I wonder if it ever will at this point.
Upon arriving home, the Husband and I spoke of the difference in "vibes" and decided that we will continue to support Gabby and her family by coming back and doing these events again in the future. However, now that we've done two different Children's Healthcare of Atlanta oriented runs, it's time to start running for another cause that's close to home. Which is why we're running for Logan in September. More on that at a later date.
Finding hearts everywhere now. Found this gorgeous tile mosaic at the park post non-run.