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Sooooo, here’s the rundown on our weekend.  The boys and I went out to Chagrin Falls (dang, is that far away) for the Kick It event Friday evening. Their team had fun despite being a hodgepodge of ages and sizes and ability levels. We literally had three year-olds who didn’t know which way to run after kicking and ten year-olds who were slamming the ball into unsuspecting opponents as they moved from base to base.

And Austin, the boy of the hour, was completely uninterested. Clinging to Mommy, begging to be held and only kicking when bribed by one of the organizers with his very own ball to take home. I was a little bummed that he didn’t participate more, but wasn’t shocked because his public M.O. is one of shyness and disengagement.

As soon as our official game ended and the kids were organizing their own mini-game off to the side, the tornado siren went off. Huge long wails circling around the community, while those of us on the fields looked at one another with raised eyebrows and shrugged shoulders. “Is that, like, … a tornado warning?”

Suddenly the refs blew their whistles and people started running for their cars, actually running, clearly not inner-ring dwellers like us who’ve never even heard a tornado siren (did I tell you the eastern edge of Chagrin Falls is far away?). Meanwhile, the sky was slightly gray but certainly not foreboding and there wasn’t a drop of rain or a breath of wind. So we hung out for a bit as the organizers quickly packed up the tents and unclaimed trophies before making the long trek home.

A half hour later (and still not a drop of rain), Austin was snuggling with Mark on the porch swing while Braedan and I walked up and down the block to retrieve the (adorable) signs from their (successful) lemonade stand, which raised an extra $52.52 for Kick It.

Breadan was complaining about the “stupid” weather people who blew that horn and I repeated ancient motherly wisdom: We’re better safe than sorry. But little did I know how that small piece of advice would come back to bite me in the ass.

When we finished our neighborhood walk, Austin was asleep on the couch and I didn’t move him up to bed until well past 9. And he was broiling. Sweaty hair matted to his head, red rosy cheeks burning with fever. Yes, a 102.6 degree fever. Not the end of the world, I told myself, he doesn’t have a central line, it’s not an automatic overnight in the hospital like it sued to be. I gave him Tylenol and he quickly feel back to sleep.

Only to awaken an hour later throwing up. After we cleaned him and the rug and the bedsheets and ourselves, we texted Austin’s oncologist just to let him know. Within a half hour, Mark and I were standing in the kitchen hovering over the speaker phone while Dr. Auletta suggested a visit to the emergency room. Mark and I were shaking our heads and mouthing, “No way” to each other — I mean, it’s just a kid with a fever, right? — while Dr. A repeated what we already know: One traumatic event of dehydration could destroy what remains of that kidney. Austin simply cannot get dehydrated.

Ultimately, we were advised to keep giving him fluids throughout the night and if he could manage to keep them down, we could wait until morning to visit our pediatrician for bloodwork. Mark and I sat at the kitchen table long after that conversation reminding ourselves and each other that Austin is not a regular child. Even when he looks like it and acts like it, even when we all feel like life is normal, it’s just not. And it could turn on a dime.

At about three in the morning, Austin was lying between us in bed shivering uncontrollably despite the blazing heat emanating off his body. And then he was throwing up again. We swooped him into the bathroom, washed him down, stripped the bed, and then I got dressed. Glasses, cup of coffee, charged phone (not that it works in the basement ER anyway). I was most bummed to learn that the brand new state-of-the-art pediatric ER doesn’t open until July 7 (bad timing, Austin), and off down that damn hill we went, one more time through the quiet and empty streets.

We walked in the old ER (yuck) and Austin, just for dramatic effect, puked three times in front of the registration counter. Finally, we were in a room with an IV placed, labs drawn, anti-nausea meds administered. He is a spectacular patient, braver and more mature about medical procedures than about any other aspect of his life. I slept fitfully next to him on the tiny bed, while he snored and blew stinky throw-up breath in my face. At 7:30 he popped up and announced he felt “so much” better, was able to keep some water down and we were out the door and home before 9.

He was in and out all day yesterday, some moments of playfulness and others of feverish misery. But he hasn’t thrown up again and, between juice and fruit popsicles and an occasional piece of toast, he seems to be fine.

As we left the hospital on Saturday morning, one of the nurses told us to come back and see the new ER when it opens. “It’s soooo beautiful,” she gushed. “Hope we don’t have to!” I called as we walked out the door.

But we probably will. Better safe than sorry, after all.

What a week. Braedan has his last day of first grade tomorrow, complete with a picnic and field day at the park (complete with Mom and Austin of course). He has requested dinner at the Colony, true to form, so it’ll be grilled cheeses and chicken tenders out on the patio for the Gallagher boys. And then there’s the big Kick It kickball game on Friday.

Our teams are slowly filling up and if I combine them into one (which will probably be wise for the under-6 set who hasn’t had much experience with kickball), I should have the requisite fifteen players. It’s supposed to be a really fun evening, with food for sale and a bounce house obstacle course and a community-wide game of musical chairs. CNN was there last year to do a national feel-good news story so who knows what kind of media coverage it might get this year.

And … it’s not too late to sign up! (You knew that was coming, didn’t you?) A few people have had trouble with the website, so here’s the best instruction I can give you: Click here, then scroll down to find either of the two Team Austins. Click “Sign Up”and after you kindly decline to create an individual fundraising page (unless you really want to), it looks like nothing’s happened, but you just need to scroll down to your team again and fill in the boxes. And if you are coming, wear a red shirt.

Some friends of Austin and Braedan had a lemonade stand yesterday to raise money for Kick It. When I told them, they naturally wanted to have one too. So we’re gonna have a Kick It, Drink It, Cure It Lemonade Stand early on Friday afternoon (I could have used one today on my run in this 90 degree heat!). Braedan, ever the negotiator, asked if they make $100, could he keep $50 and I said no, if they make a hundred dollars, then they’re one hundred dollars closer to a cure. Not to be discouraged, he asked if they make $1000, could he keep $50. “Sure!” I replied and he said, “Great … except we probably won’t make $1000.”

Probably not, honey, probably not.

OK, we’re getting down to the wire here. The CureSearch Walk is this Saturday morning, starting at 9:30. (I think I said earlier that it was 9, but now you can get an extra half hour of sleep!)

We have a slowly growing team, now at 20-plus people. Not quite the 90 we had last year or the 50 I was hoping for, but I guess that’s what you get with a mostly healthy child (I won’t complain). If you still want to sign up, here’s the link. Once you agree to the waiver, click “Join A Team” if you’re an individual or “Register Multiple Walkers” if you’re a family. Then scroll through the team list to click Team Austin and proceed to register. They do ask for children registered, even if they don’t have to pay the fee.

The event should be quite fun: they have the Cavs dancers and Moondog there, plus face painters and jugglers and other kid-friendly activities. Plus the weather is supposed to be fabulous, which will be a welcome change over last year. And the kids always love to visit with the mounted police that roam Wade Oval. (And it will get the rest of us in the mood for Wade Oval Wednesdays … as if we weren’t already!)

If you’re coming, try to wear red, Austin’s favorite, to show team solidarity.

And if you can’t walk (or even if you can), you can also join our Kick It kickball teams for the June 10 Chagrin Falls event. Click here and then scroll down to Team Austin for 7-9 year-olds or Team Austin for 4-6 year-olds and click “Sign Up.” That registration process is super fast and easy, so you don’t even have to put it on your list of things to do later — you can finish it in the next 90 seconds.

Click, join, donate, walk, kick … make a difference.

I didn’t really have an overwhelming response from all of you after my last post but I’m going to operate on the if-I-build-it-you-will-come principle. I have created two teams for the June 10 Kick It event in Chagrin Falls: Team Austin for 7 to 9 year olds and Team Austin for 4 to 6 year olds.

The organization is very lax about ages and categories, so your children can sign up for whichever team they are most comfortable. Obviously, if you have a 6-year old first grader who’s a classmate of Braedan’s, you may sign up for the 7-9 team. The woman I spoke with even said that 10-year olds or 3-year olds can sign up if they want. (It’s just kickball, after all!)

It’s free to register but is of course a fundraiser for vitally important pediatric cancer research so a small donation would be much appreciated. This event was started in Chagrin Falls by a local boy and has a huge following of supporters there, so it should be really fun. The games will take place at Gurney Elementary School between 6 and 7:30 pm, followed by games, food, a bounce house obstacle course, the whole bit.

What better way to celebrate the start of summer than with a kickball tournament? Please sign your kids up here by clicking on the appropriate team. You don’t even have to create an official fundraising page, you can just add their name and contact info (much easier and faster than the CureSearch site, I promise!). Spread the word, bring your friends, cheer us on … play kickball, cure children’s cancer.

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