At this time, 7 years ago, I was just 6 weeks away from delivering my second baby. My second pregnancy was just as difficult as my first- only made easier by my choice to have a scheduled c-section. Looking back, I see so many divine interventions and “reasons” for hardships I had endured with both of my birth experiences.
Having a schedule c-section enabled me to recover quickly and easily and successfully breastfeed. I felt strong and capable immediately upon bringing Rowan Grace (a second little girl!) home and my husband and I were mindful to gobble up this precious newborn time now knowing that it was over in an instant. Unlike the first time around, my husband and I felt like a team; we knew what we were doing and how to meet each other’s needs and it was a hazy romantic time. I will always remember it was one of the happiest times of my life. I will also remember thinking it was a good thing I had such a long way to fall.
As the days went by we had some hiccups – ones that the health nurses assured us were “normal”. In fact, even our G.P. assured us they were “normal”. I’m glad we hung our hats on these assertions for the first 3 weeks because we were going to need the confidence for what came next. On August 27th, 2009, one of the kindest Doctors I have ever known looked me in the eye and told me he was 95% sure that this precious little girl of mine had Cystic Fibrosis.
I often write about those first VERY dark few years; but not today. Today I want to tell you what HOPE can do for your life. What happens when you are willing to consider PERSPECTIVE from every angle. And how GRACE became the most significant life lesson for me thus far.
When I was pregnant with Rowan, my husband and I couldn’t agree on a first name – but one thing was for certain – her middle name would be GRACE. I would lovingly rub my belly when discussing names with people and say “I feel like this little one is going to need a great deal of Grace.” Little did I know she would bring us all the gift of Grace.
The first couple of years have been the least in control of my live I have ever felt… to say we “Survived” is about all I can say. The learning curve is steep when it comes to the changing needs of an infant and eventually Toddler with Cystic Fibrosis. And if overwhelmed feels like drowning in your own tears then that is what I was….. Buckets, and buckets of tears – mostly cried on my laundry room floor.
Then, one day in the Fall of 2011, I literally picked myself up off the laundry room floor and decided that I was going to do the only thing that I could do to Cure my child. Make Money.
I created a brochure for an Event called “The Princess Ball” and in less than 5 months the Event was held in a crappy little hall and raised $11,000.00. Who would have guessed what it would become?
Since that inaugural Event “The Princess Ball” has become a beloved annual Celebration for Parents and Children in Red Deer. We have moved into the fanciest ballroom at the Sheraton Red Deer, hosted over 3000 guests, served over 6,000 cupcakes and raised over $200,000.00!!!!
If that wasn’t enough to literally burst with Pride; nearly a dozen Princess Ball inspired Events to raise funds to find a cure and to support Cystic Fibrosis patients have been created across the Country adding to the total funds raised which I’m sure will reach over the million dollar mark next year!!
Any of you who have done work in the non-profit world know that it’s filled with very little glory; that every penny you raise is marked by a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears – but for me The Princess Ball is so special. So sacred. Every penny raised has been marked by buttercream icing, glitter and magic! Just when I thought it couldn’t get any more magical. It did.
This June I have had the honour of receiving 2 prestigious Awards. A Woman of Exellence Award (thank you Red Deer & District Community Foundation) in Community Building AND a Mayor’s Recognition Award for Distinguished Voluntary Service. Say what? So blessed.
I can’t start a list of people to thank; because I will miss someone but if you have had ANYTHING to do with The Princess Ball or nominating or choosing me for these Awards
– I thank you. Every time someone does anything to support us; we take it so personally. It honestly feels like you are handing our precious Rowan a piece of a CURE. A Cure that is imminent and that all of those who have had a hand in creating this Magical Event will be able to say they were a part of. Thank you, thank you, thank you!