Friday, July 10, 2009

Hemi Reunion - Friday

We made it to the hemi reunion in Baltimore this morning. Blondie was very excited about meeting kids "just like her." I was looking forward to connecting with families I've spoken to online, and seeing how far other kids Blondie's age have come.

We got there in time for group pictures:

Then we dropped the girls off in the child care area. Big Al decided to volunteer there because there were a LOT OF LITTLE PEOPLE running around (and she needed the service hours for girl scouts). They had a bouncy house, art supplies and bubbles. Blondie bonded with one little guy playing a DS (she showed him how to play with one hand).

Brian and I went to a few seminars. One was the doctors from Johns Hopkins speaking about hemi's in general. Big Al was very excited to get Dr. Carson's autograph because she just finished reading his book "GIFTED HANDS." He was very accomodating, and spent a few minutes chatting with her. We were lucky to catch him, because after he spoke (about 10 minutes) he was headed straight to the airport to fly out to Germany.

Another seminar was a panel of teens/young adults talking about their lives. We've met a bunch of the young adults we very much admire such as Jody (studying early childhood ed.), Christina (studying Speech pathology) and got to meet Emily (very cool young woman - she can hunt and bagged a pretty good sized antelope), and Lisa who is a stay at home mom to the sweetest little girl.

At dinner the girls participated in face painting, and Blondie hooked up with Hannah, Cameron and Jessie for this picture:

After dinner we watched a presentation of one-handed gadgets (some AWESOME ideas from Emily and her mom). Jody showed us how to make a ponytail with one hand:

And then they asked for volunteers to show how to tie a shoe with one hand. Well, Blondie jumped right up and walked up front with the young adults and showed her version (I think Emily's is MUCH easier). I took this picture and later showed it to Blondie - she told me she felt like a ROCK STAR. She was quite proud to have something to share.

After the presentations we ran upstairs and jumped into our pajamas, but we weren't done yet! Cheesie, Blondie and I went back downstairs to dance and have a fashion show, listen to bed time stories, and enjoy cookies and milk before bedtime.

Everyone is now sacked out, and looking forward to tomorrow. I will try to post tomorrow night, so stay tuned. I can't say enough how wonderful it is to see kids in all stages of recovery, with so many possibilities for their future. We have families here trying to decide if they will do the surgery or not, one family who just had surgery and is less than a week out of inpatient rehab, and then others who are 10 or even 20 years post hemi. There is a lot of support in this group, and I'm proud to be a member of such a caring bunch of families.

1 comment:

Holly said...

i love seeing the pics you took. We will miss your family sooo much