You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘news’ tag.
I know I promised links to the media coverage of our event but they are impossible to find! Strange, because I was under the impression the internet was just one big archive of everything that’s ever happened to anyone, anywhere, especially video news coverage from just a few days ago. But I’ve sent messages to Fox 8 and 19 Action News, which both covered the event on their 10pm news Sunday and again Monday morning. In fact, when I went through the line at the grocery store Monday, the cashier took one look at Austin’s bald head and said, “So that was you on the news this morning!” I have both shows DVRed on my TV but can’t for the life of me locate a link online.
But here are a few other options: Cleveland Heights Patch did a great video, found here, that makes me cry every single time I watch it. It’s a follow-up to the article about Austin featured on the site last week, which those of you on Facebook have already seen.
Bob Rosenbaum, whose son shaved on Sunday, wrote a post for the Heights Observer that can be found here. He’s right: the threads that connect us are many and they are strong.
I also promised that I’d upload all of Dallas’ photos to a public site, but I just haven’t managed to do it yet. Among the regular busi-ness of everyday life, Austin had his upper GI exam this morning. Remember this little bump in the road? It actually turned out to be nothing — all the potential problems were ruled out and his stomach seems perfectly fine. Which is pretty lucky, because had there indeed been adhesions or an intestinal blockage caused by an old surgery, he might have required a new surgery. Of course, I’ve learned to take all the “maybes” and “mights” with a grain of salt and worry only about what is really and truly happening.
The test itself (a series of x-rays and images taken over several hours, after drinking a Barium “milkshake”) was also no big deal, although he sure didn’t like not being allowed to eat this morning (even though most mornings he refuses breakfast!). Just another few hours wasted wandering the basement hallways, killing twenty minutes here and twenty minutes there between procedures. Austin was a trooper as always, finding fun in the oddest places. But there’s something about being in that building — it just sucks the life out of you. I always come away feeling completely exhausted, even when we didn’t actually do anything.
But we were home in time to enjoy most of this summer-like day outdoors, riding bikes and getting muddy. Like any regular five-year-old should.
Where were you?
For me, it was completely random. I was in a place I had never been before and would never be again. But one that is forever seared into my memory.
A few weeks into my one and only year teaching middle school in Cleveland Municipal, I had a two day in-service for something I’ve completely forgotten and was sent to a computer lab at Margaret Ireland Elementary School. After several hours of sitting in a roomful of teachers, bored but lulled by the sun streaming in the windows and (more importantly) by the fact that we had no unruly middle schoolers to control for the entire day, we were given a ten-minute break to use the bathroom and get a drink. I walked down the hall, awed by the sweet little children quietly learning (pathetically unlike the middle school where I was employed), when I passed a teacher who worked there. “It’s so peaceful here,” I couldn’t help but gush.
“Peaceful?!” she shouted, clearly distraught. “Peaceful?! We’ve been attacked!”
I had no idea what she was talking about and actually thought maybe she was overreacting to some minor elementary disciplinary issue (boy, she should check out Spellacy if she wants to see attacks). So I returned to the computer room and found it abuzz. People trying to get online but frustrated by the old dial-up connections, slower than ever on that day, some talking anxiously into their cell phones (big, flip-phones with antennae — my, how much changes in ten years), words flying through the air: attacked, World Trade Center, airplanes, terrorists, Pentagon, … war.
War? Wait … what? War doesn’t happen here.
Bits and pieces of information were shared by anyone with a connection to anyone. But nothing really made sense. Obviously, at that point, no one knew anything about what was happening and, of course, as we all found out over the days and weeks ahead, none of it could have made sense anyway. None of what was post-9/11 could have ever made sense to those of us still living in pre-9/11.
Except that it had happened. It had, indeed, happened. Finally, our instructor sent us home and two teachers piled into my car and drove through an oddly crowded by subdued downtown to the duplex I shared with Mark, my fiance of just a few weeks. It’s funny that I spent that afternoon with two people whose names I barely remember. One was Matt (I think?) and I know that he was in the National Guard, which I’m sure gave that day a whole other meaning for him. The other was a young woman named Erin who only lasted a month or two at that extremely tough school and then I never saw her again.
But we were together that day. Because no one wanted to be alone. Mark came home, released early from his law school classes, since Cleveland believed it was under attack too with Flight 93 circling overhead. We all sat in my living room, watching TV in stunned silence as the footage played over and over again. Towers being hit over and over again, towers falling over and over again, as if hundreds of planes had hit hundreds of towers and tens of thousands of terrified workers had jumped to their deaths.
I don’t remember much about the rest of the day, except talking to my mom on the phone, as she checked on the safety of each of her children. What did we have for dinner that night, I wonder, those of us who sat safely in our living rooms crying in front of the television while our own country was in chaos? While people in nearby cities were searching for their loved ones or lying crushed under piles of rubble? We must have eaten and eventually town ourselves away from the news to brush our teeth and go to bed, right? Right?
I remember in those first few days being most upset by a few young women I saw on TV who were searching for their fiances. As a newly engaged person who felt like I’d finally found my “one,” these were the people I most identified with. If it happened today, I would be most saddened by the mothers who’d lost their children. But at that moment in my life, the greatest love I’d known was Mark and so those were the stories that broke my heart. I do hope they found someone else, those women on the verge of happiness.
I drove past Margaret Ireland Elementary today with Austin, on our way to the granite store downtown. It looks the same. But I know it’s not.
“That’s where I was,” I said out loud, half to Austin and half to no one. That’s where I was when everything changed.
Where were you?
Yesterday, Make-A-Wish hosted a small gathering to “reveal” the treehouse. It was such a neat day for the boys, starting with the delivery of one hundred helium balloons, which Mark placed on the top dormer of the house.
Then the arrival of family and friends to celebrate alongside us. I so wish I could have invited all of you, but I think when it’s finally painted and we’ve put all the finishing touches on the inside, we’ll have a little Open (Tree)House of our own and you can all come marvel at this spectacular piece of construction.
One of the builders came too, with his wife and three little girls. I wish there was something I could do besides say “Thank you” over and over, but there doesn’t seem to be. Each day as the guys were out working, I’d offer coffee or water or lunch but no, nobody would accept anything. I suppose if there’s no way to pay them back then we just have to pay it forward.
All in all, it was a really special day for all of us. Tonight, as the kids were waiting to go trick-or-treating, Mark asked them what their favorite holiday was. Braedan said he likes all of them: “I love candy so I love Halloween. And I love eating turkey and pudding [I really don't know where he got that pudding thing] so I love Thanksgiving. But I love getting presents plus it’s my birthday, so I love Christmas.” And I said, “Yeah and hunting for eggs is fun so we like Easter. And fireworks are fun so we like 4th of July.” And then he said, “Yeah and wishes-come-true are fun so we like yesterday.”
Yeah, wishes-come-true. In more ways than they will ever understand.
Mark is not going to shave his head at A. J. Rocco’s tomorrow after all. Nope, not this year. But don’t worry, he didn’t suddenly become attached to what remains of his hair. He has been asked to shave it live on the morning program for Fox 8 News.
And not only that, but he will be accompanied by our other brave shavee Braedan. (Those of you who saw him on the news back in August know that this will be worth watching!) Unfortunately Austin’s blood counts are too low right now to allow him around so many strangers so he’ll be safe at home with his Gramp (who is safe at home from New Zealand, as of this morning).
The head of Children’s Oncology at Rainbow, and a man we know very well, will also shave his head on air to promote tomorrow’s event. And to highlight the neck-and-neck race to be the first place fund-raising team in Cleveland (an honor that, so far, still belongs to Team Austin).
So tune in to Fox 8 between 9:30 and 10 tomorrow to see it live or know that I will link you to it from here after the fact. We will definitely still be at A.J. Rocco’s in the afternoon to cheer on the other shavees and partake of the celebration.
And yes, I do see the irony of us being on Fox, of all networks! Ha.
I got a message the other day forwarded from Betsy Kling that included an email she received from a viewer after we were on the news. It was from a woman who had Wilms’ tumor as a baby, diagnosed at 11 months just like Austin, who had just celebrated her 53rd cancer-free year! She was writing to say how her ears had perked up at the mention of Wilms’ tumor and how happy she was to see Austin looking so healthy and fine.
Now this woman had Wilms’ in just one kidney, as is the much more common and easier-to-treat type of this cancer. It is in fact referred to as the “pediatric cancer of choice” because it has such high survival rates (isn’t that just the most awful way to describe it . . . who on earth chooses pediatric cancer??). But Wilms’ tumor treatment has been a huge success for cancer researchers and doctors because treatment has gotten more and more effective. But, god, fifty-three years ago? I don’t imagine it was the cancer of choice fifty-three years ago! Surely they hadn’t yet managed to treat in a way that was either consistently successful or that would prevent the onset of future secondary cancers or diseases. So, really, this woman is a huge success story in and of herself.
And it sure is nice to hear about those who beat the odds. Especially when they’re mentioned in connection to my Austin!
Yesterday’s golf event was a total success. The weather turned out beautifully, after a surprisingly chilly start, and, as many of you already know, we did indeed end up on the news . . . twice. Betsy Kling was the MC for event (and also a golfer), so she did her 6 o’clock and her 7 o’clock weather forecasts from there and interviewed us both times.
On the 6 o’clock news, it was me and the boys (as Mark was still on the course . . . a golf widow yet again), and Braedan was definitely the star. They at first asked if Austin might talk about his experience but 1) he was too young to have any clear memories of it, 2) his speech is still in the very difficult to understand stages (sometimes even for us) and 3) he’s too shy to talk to anyone besides me and Mark and a few others anyway, so they opted for Braedan instead (who does not shun the spotlight, to say the least). We had talked ahead of time about the things he might say–that he’d go to the playroom and paint or use playdoh while Austin was in the hospital, and of course, he told Betsy about his favorite thing: the “window elevator!” Some of you may remember from back in the Carepage days how much Braedan loved the glass elevator in the parking garage at the hospital and how, when one of us was heading home with him for the night, he’d make us ride it up to the top floor where we’d get out and look at the sun setting over Lake Erie or the lights leading all the way downtown. This was always one of those moments when Mark or I would be beyond exhausted and just wanting to go home and crawl into bed after another long day at the hospital, but instead we’d be standing up there looking at that incredible view of Cleveland, and I was always struck by how small children manage to find beauty in life’s ugliest moments.
So, anyway, after Betsy did her forecast and talked to me briefly, she asked Braedan about what he used to do at Rainbow. And he froze! He was so mesmerized by the image of himself (in slight time delay) on the little TV in front of him, that he just stood there and gazed and looked pretty and said, “Uuuuuuuhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmm” until she finally asked about he elevator and then he perked right up! He started flailing his arms about imitating how quickly we could ride up and down, up and down, and it was so stinking cute.
See for yourself right here. You can fast forward through the weather part and start when there are just more than two minutes left (I think it’s like 2:07, not that I’ve watched this a million times or anything!).
Then, as the golfers were eating their dinner, I got to give a short speech about what Rainbow means to us. Mark and the boys were standing up there with me, making silly faces (not Mark) for the audience (in case I bored anyone). And after that, Betsy asked to interview just me for the 7 o’clock news and wanted me to use a few lines from my prepared talk. So I think I managed to incorporate them in a natural way, but I have yet to see this one because it’s not posted on their website. I’m hoping they’ll send me a link so I can post it here. Austin appeared suddenly at my side eating (and wearing) a frozen Dove bar, so I imagine that one is also pretty stinkin’ cute.
Oh, and there was an auction at the event and my dad (who is the guy you always wish to have at your auction) bought an item that will allow Braedan and Austin to be the “Bus Stop” kids on Channel 3. These are the kids whose video appears during the weather forecast and they’re wearing whatever you should put your kids in as they head to the bus stop the next day. So we’ll go to the studio downtown and they’ll take a bunch of different clips of them, either in snowpants and hats or raincoats and umbrellas, to play alongside the nightly forecast. The offer is good for a year so I think I’ll wait until Austin’s behavior is a little more predictable. But watch out, world, here come the Gallagher boys!