Thursday, May 29, 2014

Stroll for Strong

Annie, Elliot and Mama at our first Stroll for Strong

This Saturday our family is participating in the Stroll for Strong to raise money for Golisano Children's Hospital. This will be our third "Stroll" and I am sure there will be many more in the future.

It's not an easy thing for Stephen and me. Anything connected to the hospital, whether it be an appointment or simply driving by, is emotionally complicated. It is both our home and our heartbreak.

Every year we feel edgy leading up the the walk, and there is always an emotional encounter that day which resonates afterward, but we also leave feeling grateful that we went. This year, however, I wasn't sure if I was up to it. I thought maybe we would send a check instead. I approached Anneliese to discuss it since she had been talking about the Stroll for months. Her answer? "OF COURSE we are going to go! We ALWAYS go and we ALWAYS will!"

She is right, and once again we will put aside what would be easier emotionally to do what is best. I imagine on Saturday we will be overwhelmed with emotion again. Grateful by the support from friends and family who join us, humbled by the generous donations raised in Natalie's honor, and of course the overriding feelings of love for our daughter and the pain of losing her. We will go to bed Saturday night relieved, blessed and with resolve to go again next year.

If you would like to help support Team Natter's efforts this year there is a donation link on this page. Donations to our team support the pediatric palliative care department. The term "palliative" brings to mind end of life care, but really they do so much to improve the quality of life for young patients.

Natalie benefited from their services during her life. The pediatric palliative care team helped convert her IV pain meds to oral doses so that she could have relief from IVs, which were always a challenge on her small body. It seems like a simple thing, but when your child has gone through hours of IV attempts only to have the successful IV stop working that same day, you will cry from relief at having her meds given orally.

Our family, and many other families we have become close to, benefited from bereavement services provided by the palliative care team. This helped us tremendously in the aftermath of losing Natalie and we hope all families who are facing impossible loss can do so with help of loving professionals.

If you would like to learn more about the pediatric palliative care program at GCH this is an excellent article here.

We appreciate any and all support, even simply kind thoughts and prayers on Saturday.

Much love!