I hope I can do this family justice as I share this story.
Rewind with me to second grade when I met Monica (Ciatto) Montemayor, me, Lyla (Vinklarek) Wooten and Margaret Ochoa became fast friends and were quite the foursome till my family moved to The Woodlands when I started 6th grade.
Monica and Lyla helped me out on these above photos. Hilarious too look back at sleepovers, St. Rose uniforms, and Go Texan Day gear! At least I hope that bottom picture was Go Texan Day gear and not our play clothes.
Now, fast forward more years than I care to count (like 20) and we have remained friends, some just on Facebook and others I see at least monthly for dinner and usually wine! A few months ago, a friend of Monica’s mom emailed me and asked if they could host a crawfish boil to raise money for Will. After I picked my jaw up off the floor a few minutes later, I managed to send a response.
Apparently, every year this family hosts a crawfish boil with their close friends and family in memory of a man named Kevin – their son, brother, uncle, cousin and friend – passed away 5 years ago. Their family explained that Kevin was very involved with helping others and as a tribute to his memory, they host an annual crawfish boil to raise money to benefit a child (of someone they know, or a close family friend) with serious illness or other complicated health issues.
This year they chose Will. From my email exchanges with the family, I believe that it wasn’t just Will they chose, but really Mito and awareness of the disease as a whole which makes this gift more meaningful.
They had nearly 145 friends and family attend, and Kevin’s parents were even able to get a picture with all their grandchildren which apparently hasn't happened in years, “there is ALWAYS someone missing.”
ALL the Grandkids
From Karen’s email: “Every year at the crawfish boil, we have upheld this tradition and the first "official" game of the day would be Dads vs Kids...and the dad’s ALWAYS win. Last year, the unthinkable happened – the KIDS WON! Not to be outdone this year, as the dad’s prepared to play the first game, the theme song of Rocky started playing over the speakers and their granddaughters cheered them onto the field (including pompoms). They came out in white, hooded, boxer-style robes and walkers! Once they made it to the field, they ditched their robes and both were wearing super hero underwear. It was HILARIOUS! ...and they beat us again (and it wasn't even close!). I don't know how we are going to top that next year!
Volleyball dad and cheerleaders
Even with all the fun and memories, what really warms us every year is they number of people who are willing to give to causes and people that we feel need our help in one way or another. People that they don't even know, and will probably never meet. We even had a number of people who couldn't make it that insisted on giving their donation as if they had.
Thank you for allowing us to help you guys. This year, we were able to raise $2,410 for Will! We know that Will's battle is only beginning, but we know he is surrounded by awesome family and friends to help him see brightness in a very dark world. While it is by no means a cure, we hope that this small amount of money helps ease a small portion of your financial burden, and helps reassure that there are many people out there that care deeply about people they barely even know.
God bless you and your family!”
From our family to yours, thank you so very much for this incredible gift. It’s been nearly a year since we found out Will’s diagnosis and I continue to be humbled by the generosity, honesty and pure goodness of our family, friends and strangers. I wish I had a magical special way to thank people like this. All I can say is thank you.
We plan to pay it forward with this gift and find meaningful ways to give Will access to more – whether it’s more health care, fun times or memories that he (and we) will never forget. For starters, I know it’s going to go towards paying for a pretty expensive medical device that neither insurance nor Medicaid cover – a special vest that helps give Will more sensory input and will hopefully give him a better chance at not falling, wobbling or being so ataxic. He’s used this before and we believe it helped him start walking. Who knows, maybe this vest will help Will pick up a little speed and be a little more coordinated.
I don’t think 10 minutes go by without me worrying about Will falling and hurting himself or how are we going to pay for stuff. This gift eases the worry of both.