Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful for people who don't even know what gifts they are to you. We've all read that e-mail forward or proverbial prose about how people come into your life for a reason or a season.

Sometimes out of the blue, a new friend will come on the scene as if you had know him or her your whole life.

Sometimes someone you've known forever suddenly become the friend that you never knew you had.

Sometimes someone steps in to help you through a difficult time and then gently bows out, leaving room for the next new friend.

I am tremendously grateful for kindred spirits who walk alongside me for a moment, for a mile or forever. There are no conditions, no expectations. We come to the table just offering what we have to give to one another. Like tiny sailboats on the ocean's skin, sometimes we ride the water with other sailboats—catching the same breeze. Rolling waves bring us together and then out on our own and then back again, all paddling toward the safe harbor.

This is especially true with charity work. Friends come in when you weren't even expecting it, and their support is more priceless than a Picasso at Sotheby's. Because who is more valuable than the person next to you in the trenches? Who is more rare than the friend who truly offers friendship with no strings attached? I am one who rarely asks for help, so when unsolicited help is not only offered by really put into action, I'm always bowled over in astonishment. And gratitude.

What are you thankful for today?

Don't forget to sign up for the Kyrie Klassic Golf Tournament NEXT SATURDAY, August 7!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Last week to sign up a golf team!

We want to make sure you get the size shirt that you want, so that means you gotta sign up your team THIS WEEK for the first annual Kyrie Klassic Golf Tournament!!! Register online here!

You're invited to golf for good with
The Kyrie Foundation Klassic
Golf Tournament

Shot Gun Start • 4-person Scramble with Best Ball
(handicap as per USGA recommendations)

8:00 A.M. TEE TIME

Entry fee includes green fee for 18 holes of golf, team carts, goodie bag, t-shirt, lunch, driving range balls, 2 beverage tickets.

Plus, golf alongside KZSN 102.1’s Morning Show Team!

“Sierra Hills Golf Club is a public eighteen hole, par 58, executive golf course. It was established in 2003 and has a country club atmosphere. This unique course features four par 4's and fourteen par 3's that wind around six ponds. Gentle rolling hills and three sets of tees accommodate golfers of all skill levels. This fun 18 is perfect for the beginner as well as the seasoned pro.”

For more information or to become a corporate sponsor, please contact Wendy Wilkinson at

Generously Sponsored by
Waddell & Reed   •   Maughan & Maughan, LC
Wilkinson Construction   •   EMC Insurance  
Heartland Pest Control   •   Weigand Realty
Heartland Animal Hospital   •   Klee Watchous
Simon Property Management
Criser, Gough & Parrish, LLC   •   Security 1st Title 
Clarke-Wilkinson & Associates
American Family Insurance, Valerie Mejia Agency
Nathan Brenzikofer Construction
Liquidynamics  •  Gorges Auto

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Perfect peace.

It takes a lot of work to make our events happen. A lot of work. On top of the giant work that it takes to simply maintain existence as a nonprofit. All of this work is being done in the slim amounts of spare time by a few folks between soccer games and birthday parties, amidst medical issues, family drama and job pressures. And as we've typed here on Kyrie's blog many times, we are just people trying to improve the world. We are not super-people. We don't have business clout. We aren't corporate. We aren't celebrities. We don't even know what we don't know—ha! But ...

We are taking action. We aren't sitting by thinking someone else will do it. We aren't put off by the learning curve or discouraged by a few novice missteps. We aren't paralyzed with bureaucracy or politics. We don't let growing pains stop us from growing. That said, we are also a group of people who put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do good, be good. We've witnessed a lot of miracles while doing this work, and we think—and we've heard from you!—that we can put on a really nice event having no particular experience doing so. And it's just like treading water: calm and cool up top but paddling like crazy underneath.

So even if every meeting, every event, every e-mail or every post isn't perfectly perfect 100% of the time, know that, frankly, we're less concerned with perfection as we are with cancer-curing, teamwork for goodness. ;)

On that note, here's a post from marketing guru Seth Godin, offering a great perspective on our expectations of how things should go ...
Is everything perfect?
Greetings have traditionally been an acknowledgment of the other person. "I see you." "Hello." "Greetings."

Then, we moved on to, "how are you?" or even, "how's business?"

Recently, though, our performance-obsessed, live-forever society has morphed the greeting into something like, "please list everything going on in your life that isn't as perfect as it should be."
In a business setting, this causes bad prioritization decisions. The owner of the bar says to the manager, "how was the night?" and the response is, "the cash register came up $8 short." Suddenly, there's an urgent problem to be solved. How to replace the eight dollars and who do we fire?

If the question instead had been, "what's up?" (as in literally up) the answer might have been, "well, there's a big party at table 12, another going away party. They've been buying champagne all night. And Mary told me she set a new record for tips. And the new beer we added on tap is..."

Highlighting what's working helps you make that happen more often. 

Perfect is overrated. Perfect doesn't scale, either.

I'm not proposing you endorse theft or ignore the bad news. But it's clear that one more going-away party on table 12 is going to make up for that one piece of bad news, every time.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thank you to our Kyrie Klassic Sponsors!

Once again, we are so grateful to have the support of so many local businesses to make our first-ever Kyrie Klassic golf tournament a reality! It takes so much thought & energy to attempt hosting a fundraiser—more than we can completely and accurately describe. So when a company stands in solidarity with our efforts, it not only makes the event possible, but it also boosts our race to the finish. 

Thank you for being good businesses, sponsors. And readers, if you have a choice to do business in these arenas, please support those who have stood beside us in this fight to save children.

What better way to invest than in the lives of children and families! Thank you Waddell & Reed! 
This generous law office returned this year after supporting the 2009 Twilight Walk as well! Thank you again, Maughan & Maughan!
Building strong homes is what Wilkinson Construction does best. Thank you for wanting to keep the families in your homes intact, too!

This company has a great track record of philanthropy here in the Midwest. So thankful to be a beneficiary of EMC Insurance's goodwill!

We share a common goal: protection from things you can't always see. Plus, Heartland Pest Control uses environmentally friendly techniques to keep the crawlies away. Thank you, Heartland Pest Control!

Home is where the heart is, and Weigand has its heart in the right place. Thank you, Weigand Realty!
We understand what it's like to care for little ones who may not always be able to tell us what's wrong. Thanks for caring with us, Heartland Animal Hospital!

Klee Watchous
Once in a while, our path crosses with individuals whose unconditional generosity leaves a wake of inspiration. We are tremendously humbled to be a beneficiary of Klee's committment to personal philanthropy. Thank you so much, Klee!

If it's a dress for the dance or new pair of basketball shoes, chances are mom & dad head to the mall to get it done. Thank you Simon Property Management for helping us preserve those moments!

Criser, Gough & Parrish, LLC 
Trust accounts for a lot when it comes to the future. We're grateful that Criser, Gough & Parrish trusts our commitment brain cancer research enough to stand with us.

Securing the connection between families and their homes is a mission that we greatly admire. Thank you, Security 1st Title for being our first tournament sponsor to come on board!

Clarke-Wilkinson & Associates
We believe Clarke-Wilkinson & Associates to be one of the best emerging companies in Wichita. Humbled to have their dedicated support and thrilled to count them as friends.

A special thanks to Valerie for contributing to the idea of happy & healthy families, a goal that we hope to insure for everyone in this fight against cancer.

Nathan Brenzikofer Construction
We understand the time and work that goes into creating a sturdy foundation. Thank you for building something extraordinary with us, Nathan Brenzikofer Construction!

Dynamic is right! I so appreciate the great letter from their president on their intro web page. They are in the business of creating solutions, and so are we. Thank you, Liquidynamics! 

We agree—let's get rolling on a cure already! Thank you Gorges Auto for being part of an event that will lead to bigger & better treatments for little ones.

Again, we owe you a huge debt of gratitude to all of our sponsors for helping do what needs to be done. And it takes just that: people to pitch in, unconditionally, to truly help because they see a need. That's how we've come this far with just ideas and willingness and a shared belief that the cancer should disappear instead of the children.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Partners in finding that ever-elusive peace.

Through our fairygodmother/Easter Bunny/Frosty/Dorothy, we learned of little Sicily Zeka who was just a couple months older than Kyrie and who courageously fought kidney cancer until she was called home on March 21 this year.

I keep up with the Caring Bridge journal that Sicily's mom, Kerry, writes and thought her most recent entry might be of service here on Kyrie's blog. We share her grief, her heartache, her journey. And I've often written here that we do what we do with The Kyrie Foundation not only for the children, but just as importantly, for their families. Here's an example of why:

Easier? That is the question of the day, or days, as in the past several weeks that I have asked myself and have been asked by others. Is “it” getting any easier? The answer, to no one's surprise is, “no.” In fact, the word “easier” will probably be expelled from my own personal vocabulary, at least for now, when used in any sentence pertaining to the loss of Sicily! Not for the reason that I have found myself to feel so low and so sad that I don't think things will get easier, but I have come to the honest realization that “it,” life in general, probably won't. But on the flip side, I have learned what can and often times does happen. I'll explain shortly.

     To be honest, writing these words today feels a little bit out of place since I am having a really good day. Truly a blessing! The past two weeks found me in the opposite condition feeling very blue and down right depressed...not due to one obvious reason but as a result of several not so apparent reasons. I am in the deep throws of grieving and I am letting myself stomp through these trenches at my own pace. It stinks at times because I get tired of the tears and the constant heartache and the physical pain. Grieving is exhausting. It sucks the motivation and drive out of simple daily tasks and responsibilities. It is hard and somewhat debilitating at times, but it has to be experienced and confronted. One incredible lesson that I am just now learning is that grief and happiness can co-exist. Two emotions on the complete opposite ends of the spectrum, but they can be experienced together, sort of. My pendulum is in constant motion these days, swinging from sadness to happiness within minutes of each other at times. Some days it swings as fast as those little silver balls on one of “Newton's cradles”...that little contraption that demonstrates conservation of momentum and energy. Don't ask me to explain any of that. I just know what a Newton's cradle is and find it an intriguing device to stare at and an easy way to describe my emotional state these days. Yes, I will also admit that this constant change in emotions sometimes makes a person feel a little on the crazy side, which is utterly draining! I am supposed to be here...where I am currently this process. This is part of my path to healing. One day I will regain control, for the most part, of my swinging pendulum and it will rest once again in its equilibrium position. In other words, I won't cry one minute and bust out laughing the next the way I seem to be doing now. But like I said before, happiness is still present and grief is letting it appear from time to time. I grab those moments and enjoy them to their fullest knowing they may disappear and not resurface for awhile. I'm just thrilled I am able to find them at all!

     Our vacation was wonderful, and I would still like to touch on a few aspects of it later, most likely in another journal entry. It was difficult for me, even though I enjoyed it for the most part, but at the same time I just missed the heck out of that spunky sixth member of our family. The number five just feels strange. We returned on Friday evening, unpacked multitudes of suitcases, conquered mounds of laundry, and repacked once again to tag along the following week on Tuesday to accompany Patrick on a business trip to Kansas City. I used to actually enjoy packing and organizing our belongings for trips. Nowadays, packing has become an activity that I find myself loathing. Packing for a hospital stay every third week became wearisome! Maybe someday this new found hostility towards a sometimes necessary act will fade and I won't dread it as much as I do these days. Time will only tell on that one.

     Our trip to Kansas City is one we have ventured on before and we are somewhat familiar with our surroundings. The kids and I entertained ourselves while Patrick attended to his business needs. I was already experiencing my emotions as such where it probably would have been better if I'd have just stayed home, but it was also going to be my birthday the following day and I needed for our family to be together, no matter where we were.

     Patrick, only knowing a couple attendees at this meeting, went to dinner along with others who were there from different parts of the country . He found himself sitting next to a stranger, a man from New York. He said something caught his eye on this man's jacket and after several glances realized it was a small shiny gold ribbon that was pinned to his lapel. Pediatric Cancer Awareness is represented by a gold ribbon. This stirred Patrick's intrigue and forced him to ask the man if he'd mind sharing the significance of his gold ribbon pin. Although most people don't realize what it may stand for, Patrick knew perfectly well. I can only imagine when asked, the man looked down at the pin he had placed there himself before he explained it's meaning to my husband. He said it is for his son who died eight years ago from a rare children's liver cancer. I think Patrick was caught speechless for a moment. With all the other people he could have sat next to at dinner that night, Patrick sat next to a man who knew his pain. He truly knew. They talked for awhile, probably not as long as either one could have on the subject, but Patrick was able to proudly share Sicily's story through loving words that fell on empathetic ears. Patrick was excited when he returned to our hotel room to share with me his experience and some of the wisdom this veteran griever had to share. His message, in brief, was that “it,” meaning life, does not get easier. The loss of a young child does not appear to be healed by time, like we are told by others who are trying to help us see to the end of the grief tunnel. Time healed my heart when I lost each one of my grandparents. Time has healed my once teary-eyed (and still occasionally so) emotional state over the loss of my beloved father-in-law, Frank. I can now look at pictures of all of them and recall memories without soaking through a box of Kleenex like I do when I think of Sicily.

     The father seated next to Patrick continued to explain what can and does happen further down the road. We will learn, over time, to adjust and adapt. Easier, no...adjust and adapt...yes. “Easier,” by if I need to really explain to anyone, but it helps to understand the point if I do...means: capable of being accomplished or acquired with ease; requiring little effort or endeavor, posing no difficulty; free from worry, anxiety, trouble or pain. Those words seem to fit no where in how I perceive my grief process. The other two words, adapt and adjust, seem to fit perfectly! “Adapt” means to adjust to a specified use or situation; adaptation is something that undergoes change to fit new circumstances. “Adjust” means to change so as to match or fit; to conform or adapt, as to new conditions. I like how each definition contains the other complimentary word. It makes sense to me. I know and believe and accept now that life will not get easier without Sicily, but I will one day look forward to being able to Adapt and Adjust! That goes for anybody who has or will ever have to deal with a life changing situation. The word “easier,” at least in my future, will now be used to only describe the level of a Wii game and not the condition of my life! I will try, as well, to ask others if they are finding themselves adapting and adjusting to their new life. I welcome the same question to be asked of me and my answer, as of today, is, “Not yet, but I will!” Hope still reigns at the mercy of God's Hands!

     I have to explain that last week started with my continued emotional downward spiral when we went to celebrate the 4th of July weekend at Patrick's sister's house a two hour drive away. This has become a family tradition and one we all look forward to and enjoy. Soon after Sicily's death, I told Patrick that I didn't think being around other children of her same age or with whom she was close to would affect me much. Sadly, I was wrong. I am learning to not make many predictions these days concerning “knowing” or “thinking” how I may feel down the road. It's nothing I have any control over, despite trying not to let certain things affect me. But I am strong enough to admit that it is hard to be near precious little four and five year old little girls without becoming overwhelmed with the loss of my own precious princess! I hate it! I don't want to feel this way. More over, I don't want others to avoid me due to this struggle. I struggled being around two of Sicily's little cousins who she adored and who adored her. After awhile, I was okay. I know my sister-in-law and other family members could read me and feel this and at the same time, continued to feel helpless. Like I said, I don't want to avoid situations. I don't want to alienate anyone or feel alienated myself. I guess it helps letting others know that I may be having a hard time. I know the level of compassion and understanding that is there for me so I will accept it! It also didn't help that it rained pretty much the entire day and altered our celebration. Another lesson in learning to just go with the flow ...

     The week ended with us traveling to Wellington, KS to be with family and celebrate Patrick's 25th high school class reunion during the famous “Wheat Festival.” It did my heart good. One thing that made me happy and permeated the pride I feel in my heart to be tied to a community such as Wellington was being a spectator for the first annual Wilm's Warriors Tot Trot. A dear friend sponsored this cute little run for children ages two to seven with the proceeds of the event going to Sicily's Memorial Scholarship Fund. Sicily was a very active little girl who loved to run with her daddy. She would have loved this! Honoring her in such a way truly brought me happiness AND I found myself loving being around all the kids...especially four and five year old little girls. God continues to heal me in little ways and big ways all the time! 

Thank you, Kerry, for allowing us to share a part of your story. Much love and many prayers to you, your family and to Sicily.

Friday, July 9, 2010

We're doing the best we can.

Nobody knew what was coming when we started this.

No one could have see ahead of us this mammoth mountain we'd be climbing.

And frankly, that was a blessing!

If we'd known how much work this was, well ... I think it would have been too intimidating. A friend on mine reminded me last week of not being too hard on myself when I'm doing the best I can. Maybe that's something you could apply to whatever is going on in your life, too.

You're not expected to get to the top of the mountain in one giant leap. You just have to take one step at a time. Just one foot in front of the other.  Baby steps upward.

Personally, the idea is to give more than we get. And when I type that, I really, really mean it. That's kind of the little pact we have with The Big Guy. We give our time, our ideas, our money, our connections, the best and the worst—whatever we've got. It's not a platitude. It's not just something nice to think. It's not something we say because it sounds good. We live it.  And if ever something comes along to try to tip the scales toward ego or pride or self-service, we've got sick children before us to correct that kind of thinking.

We do this because we know so few others are. Why doesn't the #1 cancer killer have the biggest army of fighters after it?

That said, by grace, so many wonderful do-gooders have saddled up with us. They, too—the ones who call us with an fundraising idea, the ones who put their lives on hold to come to a meeting, the ones who tap everyone they know for a donation to an event, the ones who actually come to the event, the ones who make the little details happen, the ones who inspire us with their humility and generosity—they share that deep-down, pure-heart, I-don't-count-the-cost altruism. Chad likes to call that "boots on the ground," meaning: God points you in the right direction, but you still have to do the walking. ;)

And if anything, the foundation may have been divinely created simply to offer opportunities for us to develop, deepen and act in benevolent service to one another.

It's hard to know these days with political spin, marketing hype and perception management what's really real, what someone's true intention, true motivation might be. Just know when it comes to The Kyrie Foundation, we're in it not for whatever notoriety may come from an event, not for the "'atta boys," not to look like "nice people," not for extra credit with God.

We're in it for Ethan. For Kyrie. For Anna. For Kate. For Taya. For Edouard. For Elliot. For all the children having a crainiotomy today. For the families at a child's funeral today. For the idea that someday a vulnerable baby's brain will not be attacked by cancer.

There will not be a giant round of applause when I publish this blog post. Nor has there been a Nobel Prize delivered to the tireless volunteer who keeps asking everyone she knows for an event sponsorship or for a gift basket. There isn't a sweepstakes van on its way to the artist in his shop late at night welding together a legacy donation. To those who give so much, nothing earthly exists that would compensate them equally to the flood of gratitude we feel.

Mother Theresa is known for her selfless care of others, others who were ignored and untouchable. In her service, she was always pointing upward, giving credit where the credit belongs. We take that example seriously. Until we find a cure, I guess the reward for this work is simply in the act serving and that heaven knows our hearts.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful that you'll be able to golf alongside KZSN 102.1's "Wake Up with the Antman" golf tournament team!!!

That's right! Cathy Carrier, Anthony "The Antman" Allen and Chase Locke will be on the course golfing it up for The Kyrie Foundation! Here's you chance to bend the ear of Wichita's new country pundits and swing with gurus of morning buzz.

Every weekday morning from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., you can hear the the morning team wake you up with country gusto! Antman creates the show each morning with thought, "You see, we're here to HAVE FUN!!!  Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?  OF COURSE!" So I can only image how much fun they'll bring to Sierra Hill on August 7!

We're really excited to have them spend the morning with us. THANK YOU, KZSN MORNING SHOW!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Did someone say "golf?"

I like the driving range, but I'm not very good at all. I like to blame it on the fact that I'm very tall, and the ball seems so very far away from me.




Once in a while club & ball will unite with a triumphant "thwack!" and the tiny white sphere zooms beyond my sight into a cloud or the sun or something. Someone else has to tell me where it landed and by that point, it's among a hundred other white spheres, and I'm lost.

So luckily for you, I won't be on your team for the Kyrie Klassic Golf Tournament!!!! In just a little over a month, you and your fantastic foursome can have a fabulous morning at Sierra Hills golf course in Wichita. And ... your entrance fee goes toward keeping babies alive and free from brain cancer. 18 holes. Grilled lunch. Great greens. How much better could it get on August 7, right? ;)

So go on. Register, already! Click over there on the right, and you'll be good to go.