Sunday, August 11, 2013

My Dream Come True

To say the first ever MESS FEST was a success, would be an extreme understatement.  The event was already a success when we sold 500 tickets in advance - I was shocked and overjoyed. It was already a success when I stood in the pouring rain Friday night with a crew of incredible volunteers raking mud, unloading supplies, setting up stations, moving tables, and lifting box after box after box. 

I don't know exactly how many people showed up, but I do know it was well over 1,500.  We had 1,500 general admission wristbands.  I planned on counting the leftovers to subtract and figure out how many people attended.  Never did I imagine we would run out before 1:45pm (the event was from 11 - 4)!  People just kept coming and coming. 

We had cars backed up for over 2 miles just waiting to get into the incredible Camp Kiwi.  We had 80 volunteers on rotation for the event.  I was planning for anywhere from 500-700 guests.  What a testament this was to our amazing volunteers who were unfazed when triple that amount of people came rolling in -- and they made sure this event ran as smooth as possible under such pressure.  They rolled up their sleeves and said "whatever you need."  And they enjoyed every minute of it, too.  Smiling big smiles while selling wristbands, moving supplies, executing activities and more.  It is also a testament to the incredible staff at Camp Kiwi, who donated the space, their time and their staff to host our fundraiser.  I can't say enough about that place.  Everyone at the camp executed this massive event with a tireless "aim-to-please" attitude and we are just so grateful. 

The pictures below go to show you the amazing impact Ty has had on so many families.  Just look at what he did!!  This was the proudest moment in all my life.  My son.  He did this.  I just wish he was here so I could hug him and tell him how proud I am.  So I could stand there with him next to me, in the flesh.  So I could kneel down with my hands on his shoulders and give him a little shake, "Look at what you did!!  This is all for YOU!!"  Instead I have to whisper those words into the sky above. 

I was on my feet for practically 48 hours straight (I did sleep three hours in between).   My volunteers and I worked so hard to pull this off, and pull it off we did!!!  I had blisters on my feet starting Friday afternoon but I carried on like a marathoner because the energy I felt walking around that event was something I never felt before.  Ty was everywhere.  It was the most beautiful thing I ever saw.  Thank God for my sunglasses because I don't think my eyes were dry for more than five minutes at a time all day.  They were the best happy/sad tears in the world.  I feel so lucky.  I feel so incredibly blessed.  I feel my Ty is still with me all the time.

When we were packing up at the end of the day, one of my friends and foundation volunteers asked if I ever thought it would be so big.  I told her that it was everything I dreamed it could be, but never thought it really would be.  Especially not our very first year.  I should never doubt the impact Ty has had on others - not ever again.  So, it truly was my dream come true.  I dreamed of this in January, and yesterday it came true. 

I am totally spent, but I couldn't possibly go to bed without sharing photos.  There was an article in the paper today with a video that shows some of the event, and then there are the incredible photos I pulled from our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/thelittlefighter.  For those of you who missed it, these incredible pictures can make you feel like you were right there with us.  :)  This was truly a mess fest from start to finish.  Muddy puddle, Splatter paint, food fight, whipped cream and so much more :)

credit Stas Przymylski
 
 
credit Stas Przymylski



I was sad and stressed throughout the planning, of course, and today was an incredible low after the high.  I have been asking Ty to send me a ladybug for over a month, nothing.  Then yesterday there were swarms of them all over the camp.  I had gotten dozens and dozens of pictures where ladybugs landed on all of the incredible people there.  Ty sent a shower of ladybugs to the Mess Fest and that made me happy but I couldn't help but be disappointed that none of the ladybugs found me!  Then, this afternoon, I was watching Gavin on the playground.  I had just finished crying to Lou because it breaks my heart to watch him try to make friends on the playground with other kids who came there together (siblings or groups of friends - Gavin is always by himself).  He doesn't always "fit in" and he plays alone and it just shouldn't be that way.  Then, Gavin made friends with another little boy with blond hair who loved Spiderman too.  I started to feel better and just then a ladybug flew on my arm.  She stayed with me for quite some time and when she flew off she hovered over my face before soaring overhead.  THANK YOU, TY! 

 

17 comments:

  1. My family and i had the most amazing time there yesterday. It was truly a mess fest and we are so thankful to have been a part of it. All for ty <3.
    Love,
    Jennifer Negron and family

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  2. I have never met you Or your family but I do know your story and like so many others fell in love with you little boy over this blog. My husband and I drove up from Long Island and had an amazing day. If was so nice to see all the family's and volunteers working and playing. My two sons had a blast. I could not believe the turn out. Just goes to show you how special Ty is to bring all these people together. It was cool to look at each person and know that they to love Ty and want things to change. At the end of the day I saw you, your husband and Gavin. He is adorable by the way. It was so nice to actually see you but also I too felt Ty should be standing there as well. As I sat there feeding the kids I did feel like he was there. Just not in the way we all want. I wanted to go over and say hi but I felt silly and being that I am really just a blog reader not a friend or anything I felt funny. However my son was not so shy and say "Boy play me?" when he saw Gavin. I just wanted to let you know that we had one of the best days. I never saw so many dirty kids!! So awesome. Please know I thank you, your family and volunteers and of course Ty for letting us make such cool memories! Loved the mud pit, lake, games and my son loved the fire truck! You have truly opened my eyes to what really matters and have changed me as a mother. Thank you! Take care! Keep doing what you are doing and fighting.. It's making a difference!
    BTW I bought the book and read it tonight to my sons. Such an awesome story and so cute. I love how it changes to color at the end.

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  3. Oh Cindy... I'm SOOO thrilled it was everything you dreamed and more. I wanted so badly to attend - so much so that I cried over it - like a spoiled kid not getting her way! :-) We had an annual family get together-pool party to go to. I followed along on FB and twitter on our 2hr ride to our destination in NJ and looked to that gorgeous sky that day and silently talked to Ty and asked him to watch over you and all the people there. I put my phone away when we got there but thought about the event many times and hoped that you were having an amazing turn out. Then after being there for about an hour, a lady bug (and I haven't seen any since the spring) landed on my leg, which brought tears to my eyes. I reached down and picked it up and said a quiet hello and thank you to Ty then my 6yr old son wanted to hold it. After a little while we placed it gently on the pretty flower planter next to us. It was just so comforting. It was also a sign and reminder to me to stop pouting inside and feel like I was missing out but to be present in the moment to just have fun and enjoy. It was a nice party. My son and his cousins swam in the pool together. He swam in the deep end and jumped off the diving board for the first time! We had a crazy bat that was flying around and diving down to skim the pool surface and causing all kinds of humorous commotion. It was a really nice afternoon. I saw a comment on one of the FB posts that someone made a while back about how no other story or person had brought them to their knees or rocked them to their core than Ty's and that describes exactly how I feel. Ty has really inspired and impacted so many and continues to do so every day! Congratulations! You really are making a difference. Ty is so proud! -Brenda, Brewster NY

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  4. Our family is sooo happy your dream day came true! Welove your family and are so proud to have been part of such an amazing day! All for Ty and the other beautiful babies that are still fighting! Oxox
    The Anthony Family

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  5. One special boy can make a HUGE differnce. Truly Amazing.

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  6. Thank you for such an awesome day! We are so honored and humbled to be a part of such a great day. Our boys, 6 and 4, had a blast and a direct quote from them was "Mommy, this is better than Disney!" WOW! They were confused why so many people were there for their play date with Gavin...lol. You guys, and of course Ty, have helped us to teach our kids empathy for others, dedication to a cause and love for the little things that we take for granted. What an amazing gift for so many, thank you! The volunteers were awesome, smiles all day. The events were fun and best of all MESSY! My 6 yr old (who has anxiety) did the zip line "for Ty!" I am as proud of him as Ty is of you guys. You will always have supporters from this family and we will continue to spread the word about what needs to change for these special kids. God Bless you. Sincerely, the Silverman Family

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  7. We had the most awesome time ever...yesterday all they talked about was the order they want to do the events next year...straight to the zip line. I have so many great memories with my children from Saturday. You can see their dirty smiles in the food fight picture above. Thank you Cindy...we love Ty and drive all the way from eastern Long Island to prove it. Xoxo
    Love,
    The Sandt-Riley family of 8

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  9. Congratulations on a huge job well done! So exciting to see the pictures..i only wish my family was there to enjoy it too! :)

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  10. The Mess Fest has just been established as THE family event of the summer season!!! Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, was just perfect: The perfect playdate. The perfect way to have family time. The perfect way to enjoy the summer sun. The perfect way to celebrate the inspiring spirit of an extraordinary little warrior. The perfect way to unite behind his incredible family. Congratulations! Now...on to the TYathlon! :)

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  11. Yesterday night I couldn't fall asleep. I cried and cried over Ty. I cried because like you said he was not there to witness it in flesh. This was the most amazing event my kids have been to. But despite the the smiles of everyone around it was a happy sad day. Lets not forget that all of this happened because Ty is not here anymore. Because we still don't have cure for cancer or even better treatment. I wish we didn't need events like this to honor and remember babies who died while fighting this horrible disease. My tears cloud my eyes and its so hard because I relive your every blog and I apply it to my life. I relieve every moment you describe from the diagnosis to the suffering, to taking him home on hospice to washing your dead baby and reading books to him. I relive it as if its happening to me, I feel severe pain. But its good because I never want to forget this, I want to feel the pain. This way I and many people will continue to know and share your story and remember how precious life is and that even though we live in 21st century, cancer still kills innocent babies who are suffering so hard.
    Ty we owe you that much. Not to forget you, to continue to support your family and to fight your cause. And thank you baby boy so much for giving me one of the best moments of my life, a chance to meet your parents. I miss you as always, I miss you as if you were mine.
    PS There was really so much I wanted to tell you Cindy, but I was too overwhelmed :)

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  12. My cup runneth over. I so wish I had the means to take my boys to the mess fest. Maybe next year. I couldnt help but cry tears of joy while reading this post. Dreams DO come true. Ty did all of this. Ty teaches us everyday. Ty has made more wonderful moments in a short time then most will ever make in a whole lifetime. Ty is extraordinary. Xxoo to the Campbell's.

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  13. As a volunteer I have to say it brought me great pride to walk around the event - taking pics for FB and trying to pitch in where help was needed - and see all the families having fun together!! Seeing everyone living in the moment, enjoying all that Camp Kiwi had to offer, enjoying all the wonderful events you planned - I knew it was what you had been envisioning from day 1 and to see it come to life, I was beyond proud of you, of the foundation and everyone there!!! I do believe the Mess Fest is going to be THE summer event to attend. I do believe that the Foundation is going to do amazing things for kids with cancer. All for Ty - the best good boy in the world!!
    Donna T

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  14. I love it...the pictures are great...I love all the smiles and the mess.

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  15. Dear Cindy - I'm very happy for you and your family. What a great event you guys put together. Your strength is amazing and contagious. Just one thing surprises me: Didn't you see Ty's sign from the sky the day prior to the event? All that rain? Wasn't all that rain the help he sent from above to make high quality mud for the mess fest? You can't make mud without water. And you needed a lot of mud, so he sent a lot of water from the sky. Ty never really left. Like he's playing hide and seek.

    He lives in you.

    I send you and your family lots of love.

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  16. A truly amazing event. My family loved every minute of it! I do think that Ty made it rain buckets the day before as a sign.. I thought of him as it poured and poured. He was making sure everything was getting nice and messy. God bless and much love to you all. We love and miss Ty.

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  17. Hi Cindy. I've read a lot of what you've written before, and now I know what it feels like to be in your shoes. One of my best friends (I've known her since we were eight) has Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and while it's likely she'll live, I still worry intensely.
    While there are some aspects I would change (food fight to shaving cream fight, pies from whipped cream to shaving cream) I still think the mess fest is a pleasant idea.(Ironically jumping in puddles was one of me and my friend's favorite things to do together as kids!)
    My thoughts go out to you.
    Hugs and kisses, (or should I say muddy puddles and candy melts!)
    Spearchild14

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