Saturday, May 12, 2018

Lorraine - Our Heart of Gold

Lorraine Calebrese and Michael Divitto received the TLC "Heart of Gold" awards at the 2018 Kentucky Derby Gala, and they couldn't be more deserving.  Today is Lorraine's birthday, and I would like to share with you her touching speech for those who missed it.

Happy Birthday, Lorraine.  You make the world a better place.  You ARE the change, and I couldn't admire you more.

6 years ago I started reading a blog on FB.... it was written by a mom I did not know regarding cancer and the horrific treatments her little boy was undergoing. I was so drawn in by the raw emotions that Cindy was able to express in her writings that I followed her to the end of Ty's short life.  Little did I know that my following her to the end would be a new beginning.

I grieved the day Ty passed and vividly remember going to the candle-lighting at the bridge in Newburgh. For the first time I saw Cindy, Lou and Gavin in person. In such a time of sadness I marveled at their courage and graciousness.

For 20 years I have tried to do my part in raising much needed dollars in the fight against cancer. As a cancer survivor I have walked beside my mom and sister at cancer events and on the downside I have sadly lost my husband to cancer.

I remember hearing about Mess Fest and the TYathalon and signed up to volunteer even though I knew no one...everyone was so gracious & welcoming and I immediately felt at home! A home filled with people who share a common goal... a home filled with people who wanted to help…

In our home and family, fundraising is just as common as Sunday dinner. We need to teach our children and grandchildren the importance of getting involved. My granddaughter Toni-Anne was only 9 years old when she started fundraising. Madison Divitto gets sponsors for jumping in mud puddles, Riley Damiano started the Blue Lollipop project and a young boy named Sean Callahan started a foundation before he died to give kids in the hospital ipads. These young people have raised thousands of dollars and I am confident that they are the generation that will find a cure for cancer.

So when you see those kids selling lemonade on the side of the road buy a glass, buy a cookie or cupcake from the cheerleaders at their bake sales. Attend or donate to their fundraisers. 

Last year, Burt Melcher told us that if you have an idea for a fundraiser - go for it. No endeavor is too small. The foundation appreciates these small fundraisers just as much as the larger ones such as Spirit Day and the SuperTy Bowl...believe me these little fundraisers add up!

The Ty Louis Campbell Foundation needs all of our help in raising money to continue their work to fund research for better treatment so that no child has to endure what Ty went through.

Thank you

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

I dreamed of you. Finally.

It wasn't for long. It was a restless night, in general, with all sorts of thoughts swimming in my head that lead to all sorts of weird dreams.  At one point I remember saying to myself "dream of him... dream of Ty tonight..."  I do that all the time, though, and it never works.

Last night, out of nowhere, I found myself outside on a warm sunny day, surrounded by friends and family.  I can't tell you who, I just know we were comfortable and enjoying the day together.  Someone came by and handed me Ty.  I wasn't surprised to see him.  Holding him was as natural as always.  He was the same 5 year old boy, but he wasn't in pain.  He didn't walk, he didn't hold his head up strong, but he was still sitting up in my arms and talking to everyone around him in his sweet voice.  He was wearing red pants and a white tee shirt.  His arms were still skinny but his grip was stronger - he was doing well.  All I could say to him is... "you see?  You ARE getting big!   You're growing up!  My baby."  And I nuzzled my nose and lips into his hair over and over again so I could feel him and smell him.  He was laughing and talking low.  I couldn't make mush sense of what anyone was saying, and soon the moment was over.  I woke up.

That was it.  That was my dream.  I don't know how i feel about it, but I do know that the feeling of my nose nuzzled into his hair was so real.  It was like a real visit with him.  I wish I could dream about him all the time so at least some small portion of my life was still spent with him in my arms.  But no matter how few and far between they are, I recognize the dream was a gift and I'm so happy he came to me last night.  I've been thinking about it all day and it has lightened my steps a bit.  Sometimes I imagine his spirit with me in the bathroom when I'm giving Bodhi a bath. That was always a very special time for us - Ty and me.  I like to imagine he would sit on the toilet bowl dangling his legs while watching and laughing.

Bodhi and Gavin are just amazing together.  Bodhi reminds me a lot of them both.  I have loads of flashbacks with Bodhi from when Ty was a toddler.  I'm constantly reliving his pre-diagnosis behaviors and while they are adorable and amusing, it's hard for me to watch Bodhi play sometimes. It's just a little too familiar.

Our christmas tradition has become a gift from Ty under the tree for his brothers - a candy house to build as a family in his memory.  We built it together the other night, I swear Gavin was really enjoying it - even in his underwear.  The roof was already eaten off by the second day :)

I love my boys.  Life is crazy.  We jump in muddy puddles, we run outside in 5 degrees, we forget things, we are clumsy, but we find happiness in the craziness.  We are the Campbell's :)