Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ethan's birthday!

If you or anyone you know will be in Omaha, Nebraska or Council Bluffs, Iowa tomorrow night, please come celebrate Ethan's birthday with his family at Thunderbowl!

As loyal readers here may remember, Ethan was an incredible little boy who was diagnosed in May 1999 and survived for years with the same kind of brain cancer that Kyrie had thanks to the diligence and love from his mom, Marcy, dad, Tracy, and sister, Asia. In fact, when he was first diagnosed many years ago before there was any sort of direction for PNET protocol, one of the treatments resulted in Ethan fighting leukemia as well as PNET. Easy to understand why he quickly earned the nickname "Superboy."

Ethan loved the Iowa Hawkeyes and baseball and video games and miraculously celebrated his 14th birthday this time last year. However, after hundreds of tough days and miraculous moments, after millions of prayers from family & friends, in March of this year, the angels came to take Ethan home.

Tomorrow night on Ethan's 15th birthday, his family is inviting you to celebrate God's gift of Ethan, and we're asking you to honor the incredible courage of his family who are continuing his fight with this fundraiser.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008
1900 Madison Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA

$15 per individual/$40 for families
Even if you're not a bowler, just come join us for the celebration!

Proceeds from tomorrow night's event will benefit:

CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation, striving to give each child diagnosed with a cancer a whole lifetime of dreams and milestones to celebrate. The death of one more child to cancer is too many! www.curesearch.org


The Kyrie Foundation, whose mission is to raise awareness and funds to find a cure for pediatric brain tumors. The foundation was established by the courageous parents of Kyrie Thome who earned her wings after a heroic battle with a PNET brain tumor.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful for the wonder of miracles great and small.

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The photos say it all.

Sweet, little Anna and her family were at Wesley yesterday evening, too!

Monday, December 22, 2008

News at 10!

Just got word that the trip to Wesley tonight was incredible! And ... you can see a piece of it tonight on KAKE Channel 10! Frosty & Elf Rita's trip to Wesley's pediatric floor to deliver gifts & good cheer was captured for a piece on the 10 o'clock news. Not sure if they'll post the video on their site for us out-of-towners, but perhaps we'll see a blurb on in tomorrow.

Fantastic work Frosty, Elf Rita and friends! More to come tomorrow.

Go, sweet Kyrie, go!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The heft of the season ...

For all the merrymaking and joy that is standard issue this time of year, there are just as many, if not more, heartbreaking situations that simultaneously exist. And how can that be? Shouldn't Christmas joy erase sadness? Shouldn't faith manifest jobs to the jobless and healing to the sick? Shouldn't Christmas snow baptize the world anew?

In a fallen world, Santa's bag is a mixed one. We are able to be joyous for a new child, feel guilt for that joy because of another child's loss, feel confused over that emotional duality and then despair over the discomfort of those simultaneous, irresolvable feelings. Merry Christmas.

There are no easy answers. Perhaps no real answers at all. There are two ideas, however, that may give respite in this season's bumpy ride.

1) do the best you can. give what you can, even if that means giving the benefit of the doubt. be better to one another. help where you can. look for those "opportunities" we mentioned yesterday. doing good creates the stepping stones upon which we can cross the raging river.

2) this is not the end. we are not in charge. we can only do our best (see idea #1).

Just a few thoughts that came as a result from a comment that Frosty sent to yesterday's post. Perhaps you can relate ...

I am thankful for those "emotional tears" that instantly come to your eyes. When something NOT tragic or sad or hurtful happens but that are all of a sudden in your eyes when a happy and surprising and touching thing happens.

Right now I have friends and family, here and there, that have some personal struggles. Some are without a job in this unknowing economy. Others are currently dealing with loved ones who are fighting cancer. A coworker whose father-in-law has just passed away. One who needs to sell her home. Another trying to help her son stay in college. My young cousin who is struggling with a mental disorder. A friend's mother who is showing signs of aging. A girlfriend's nephew who is the victim of an unsolved death. Another friend trying to cope with missing an alcoholic ex. And me, learning through a daily blog of a friend's family, that is starting the long road of chemo and radiation on their 3-year-old daughter.

ALL of these struggles and heartaches continue on. No matter that Christmas is coming. No matter that this is supposed to be "Tis the season …" Everyone has to go on. Cope. Deal with. Live.

And then THOSE "emotional tears" come to my eyes because…

I open an envelope from a friend with a check for $100.00 to put towards our "Frosty & Friends visit to Wesley Hospital Pediatric Floor". I go home and there on my front porch among a dusting of snow, is a brown paper wrapped box from an Aunt Megan FILLED with goodies for our trek on Monday nite,and an oh-so-sweet note of appreciation. A friend who I know is running a bit short on funds right now, slips me $10.00. My mom & dad seem to bring "just a little something for your hospital kids"… a shopping bag with this-and-that in it every time I've seen them this past month. A gift card arrives from an aunt whose very own niece is getting ready for that long road of chemo and radiation that I talked about. A coworker shares our hospital journey with her best friend and her best friend tells that story to her mom and her mom passes it on to her grandma and….viola'…I have 35 homemade/quilted baby blankets to take with me. I'm heard talking about "Frosty & Elf Rita" at work, and the next thing I know, I have a company check in hand.

THESE are the "emotional tears" that I am thankful for and the kind souls that despite what they are going thru have given and given and given. Yup … these are good tears.

Watch out, a warm heart may just melt ol' Frosty!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful for opportunities.

I'm thankful when the right people and the right time comes together. We had a great meeting with the social workers at Children's Mercy hospital last week. This facility and these people are truly incredible. I am keenly aware that it takes very special individuals to genuinely care about sick children and their families while at the same time be composed enough so that they can do their jobs without becoming puddles of mush on the floor, like I would be. Our hope with Children's Mercy and with all hospitals who treat pediatric brain cancer patients is that The Kyrie Foundation is a resource for these families. So far for 2009, we're right on course. I'm so thankful for that.

And like Frosty & Friends coming together with the families at Wesley next Monday. What a fantastic example of turning an opportunity into something REAL, something MEANINGFUL to others.

Although, sometimes we don't always recognize "opportunities" as such, do we? Lament, grief, doubt, pain, fear, wrath and excuses blind us from imagining what's possible with with the present. Exasperating, isn't it? There's a scene in The Count of Monte Cristo by A. Dumas that I remember when trying to find a silver lining in an ominous storm front. The protagonist, Edmond, is wrongfully incarcerated in the sinister Chateau d'If where a fellow prisoner and wise scholar, Priest, counsels Edmond on his discouragement and frustration. As prisoners, they are neglected & isolated in their own mire, fed once a day through a tiny open-&-shut window, which stifles obvious opportunities for escape. Priest tell Edmond, "then neglect will be our ally." Love that. Taking that which is meant to be punishment and making it a resource, an opportunity.

Hope you are able to spot an unexpected opportunity this last week of Advent.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, December 15, 2008


Today is the big day for all toys, games, giftcards + donations to be in the hands of Frosty & Friends! They'll spend this week sorting & filling in gaps for their big trip NEXT MONDAY NIGHT! Woo-hoo!

We've been getting updates from Frosty about the nifty gifts that have arrived from you in the past week or so. Thank you for thinking of these children and their families. A hospital room is probably the last place any of us would want to spend the holiday season. While everyone else is shopping, wrapping, baking and merrymaking, these parents are hoping & praying for their child to be well, such a simple desire that we, the healthy, can so easily overlook. Often times, mom or dad has to be away from work or quit altogether to take care of a sick child, which equally makes necessities and Christmas gifts financially stressful. For these reasons and a hundred more, we thank Frosty & Friends for their generosity.

Another little note from Frosty:

We went to a little monthly party Friday night and the organizers were kind enough to put on their flier that we were collecting toys/etc. for Frosty & Friends. LOOK!! We got lots of neat-o treasurers!! AND some cash!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Generosity Status Report

A friend of Kyrie's had a great idea! She suggested that in the Christmas cards or New Year's cards that you send out to family & friends, maybe you could enclose a little insert about your connection to The Kyrie Foundation. And right now awareness and word-of-mouth are fabulous gifts to the foundation! So if you'd like to include a little note in yours, you can pull this onto your desktop, duplicate and print this little insert:

And we have sweet status note from Frosty:

Last night we rented a trolley and did the Christmas Light Tour around Wichita with my folks and 25 of our friends!

Had many friends that thought to bring us checks and even a couple of stuffed animals ... ALL for the kids at Wesley Hospital!

Amazing with the economic state of our country and community that people still want to do and DO do ... good.

How cool is that?!?!?! There's still time to make a donation, too! Just have 'em in by Monday, December 15 to:

Susan Jae Eckel
3738 S. Dugan
Wichita, KS 67215

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful for the ability to connect. Over the course of 2008, as a family, as a foundation and as individuals, we have marveled at the incredible connections that Kyrie has provided for all of us. New support seems to come from thin air. Volunteers introduce themselves and willingly make themselves available to the foundation's needs. Positive feedback floats like springtime dandelion seeds. We have had people who offer to make bracelets and bake butterfly cookies and host office fundraisers--all on their own accord, their own ideas! Incredible! Yes, it certainly has been a productive year for establishing the roots of something mighty.

I'm thankful for the connection we have with each one of you. Like an electric current, each of you keeps this ethereal power flowing. I'm thankful for being tethered to you who make us a network to protect & preserve families. I'm thankful for your willingness and want to be connected to us and to Kyrie.

What are you thankful for today?

a quick reminder: Frosty and Friends would appreciate any toy, giftcard or cash contributions by this coming Monday, December 15 to prepare for their visit to Wesley Hospital on December 22!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Just a little reminder.

Chad & I have completed some of our holiday shopping using iGive & Goodshop. We love this! Not only do we score some great online shopping deals, but we don't have to stand in line, find a parking spot, fight the crowds, etc. Lots of online stores offer free shipping, too, so you don't even have to get out, and best of all, a portion of what you spend goes to The Kyrie Foundation at no cost to you.

This is particularly great if you're making an electronics purchases, buying gift cards or even booking holiday travel. And may we suggest that when you're ready to make purchases in 2009 with the gift cards your recieve this holiday season, consider using iGive & Goodshop, if you spend those giftcards online. Again, it's completely free. You shop exactly as you would otherwise.

There's still time to do some online shopping, too, as well as purchase foundation merchandise for Christmas gifts. If you're looking for something meaningful to give, something for your mom, grandma, friend, sister, teacher's gift or thank you gift, don't forget that we have several styles of bracelets, cookbooks and a limited stock of those gorgeous chocolate-colored tees.

Also, if you are wanting to make an outright donation in someone's honor, we are happy to accept and accomodate. We'll send a lovely certificate to the recipient (or to you if you'd prefer) to acknowledge the gesture.

Just some housekeeping tidbits around here today. More thoughts to come this week.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Frosty & Friends 2008

It's that amazing time of year again when Frosty & Elf make their way to Wesley Hospital to bring a little comfort, a little joy and a little fun to pediatric patients and their parents. And you can help!

Back in October, our friendly Susan Jae, a.k.a. Frosty, hosted a Halloween party where the admission was an item to give on Frosty's Wesley trip. How ingenious is that?! Thanks to her generous friends, they a have a little head start on this year's sleigh of goodies, but we could definitely use a bit more elfin' magic if you have any to spare.

If you'd like to donate to the trip, Frosty & Elf are in need of:

• groovy stuff for teen kids
• snuggly, new stuffed animals
• giftcards for the parents (Wal-Mart, Walgreens, McDonald's, Spangles, gas cards)
• books, activity packs, little electronic games, young child toys and anything you think would be easy to do while laying in a hospital bed.
• stickers

This year, the big visit is scheduled for Monday, December 22! So if you could have your donations to Susan by Monday, December 15, that would be swell.

Susan Jae Eckel
3738 S. Dugan
Wichita, KS 67215

Can't wait to get my care package sent!