A Single Step

Image

Saturday marked the 4 month anniversary of when we lost my baby brother, Lee.  Nine months prior to that he had been diagnosed with viral congestive heart failure, and that diagnosis started me and my family on a journey.  It was a journey of knowledge, of discovery, and of love.  It was a journey that frequently left us with more questions than answers and with tears of joy, frustration and eventually, of loss.

There were days when things looked wonderful – when we knew that all was going to be okay – and then came the day when we realized that things would never be the same again.

One foot in front of the other and continue on with the journey.

Image

An important reminder to enjoy the path.

This weekend I literally put one foot in front of the other as I continued on my journey.  My family participated in the American Heart Association’s Annual Heart Walk.  There was no greater way to physically represent this journey than to walk a mile on behalf of my brother.

Let me stop a moment and give a huge THANK YOU to those that contributed to my fund raising efforts.  There were times that I was stunned when I would get an email telling me who made a contribution.  I tried not to have any hopes or expectations, but I figured that a couple of my friends would break down; imagine my surprise when I had friends and family members that I did not expect stepping up to the plate.  I struggle to fund raise, always have, and this was not different.  My jaw dropped when I hit $100, my mind was blown when I hit $200 and I was near tears at the generosity of my friends and family when I hit $275!!  I have thanked each of you individually; however, I’m sure my words were inadequate. I can’t express to each of you how much I truly appreciated your generosity.  An unexpected side benefit was that I got to know a little bit more about some of you, as you shared your story with me and the fact that you opened your heart in addition to your wallet gave me great comfort.  Again, thank you.

Back to my journey!  Friday night the family gathered at my parents house and we had dinner and picked up our shirts for the heart walk.  We were walking with the local hospital, at which my mom works, and she had picked up our shirts and taken them home and customized them for us.

Image

Our customized shirts!

Saturday, very bright and very early, we were up and on our way downtown to the Stockyards.

Image

Go Team Lee! 🙂

From L-R: Mom, me, Roshonda holding Bella with her sons in front of and behind her, Amy holding Joshua, Dad, Sam, Mr. T, friends of Jayman and Samantha and ending with Jayman (not releasing names of the minors that I don’t have permission to!)

Before the walk started it was amazing to have people from the hospital come up to us and stop to talk about Lee.  We might not have recognized each other, but they knew who Lee was.  I had one nurse bring me to tears as she told us how much she enjoyed getting to know him while he was in the hospital.  It was a very blessed moment.

Image

Joshua enjoying the bounce house before we walked.

Image

Jayman and Samantha and their friends.

Image

Selfie before the race with Mr. T

Image

Starting line!

Image

My view for most of the race – 🙂

Image

My partners. Bella is already asleep!

Image

Mr. T crossing the finish line.

Image

Me crossing the finish line – obviously I had a hard time getting me and the finish line in the frame!

Image

We finished the race! We earned these muscles! And yes, that’s dad throwing up bunny ears, because we don’t grow up in our family – a thought that pleases me greatly!

Image

I found a train for Joshua to ride after the race – he loved it!

Image

Sweet! Our walk was recognized 🙂

And thus ends this chapter on my journey.  Thank you to all of those who have walked with me, mentally, emotionally and physically.  Even if I haven’t mentioned it – the support has been noticed and appreciated!

As this new chapter starts I look forward to you being there with me and I am so blessed to be part of your journey, too.

Image

American Heart Walk and A Mechanical Heart

As a reminder, I am doing fundraising for the American Heart Association as part of the Heart Walk in which my family is participating in memory of my brother, Lee.

Image

You can donate here: AHW Kate’s Page.  Thank you in advance for your consideration.  You can donate as little as $25 on line and I know times are tight; however, below is a link to when Lee got his mechanical heart.  Some of you who were with me during my journey have read this; however, now you can read it again with the perspective of all the good the American Heart Association can do!

For those that haven’t read it, you get to learn all about how a mechanical heart works!  Please read A Mechanical Heart here and feel free to let me know if you have any questions or comments!

Again, thank you so much for your help, every donation helps.

In Memory of Lee: Heart Walk

heart walk

As most of you know, I lost my baby brother to heart disease earlier this year.  Most of you were there with me through this journey and I can’t thank you enough for for all of the support you gave me and for putting up with all of the medical terms I tossed your way!

My family and I are participating in the American Heart Association Heart Walk this year and our shirts have been modified to say that we are walking in memory of Lee.  Part of this is the fundraising effort.  The funds that are raised support projects that put up to the minute research into the doctors hands so they can better prevent and treat heart disease; groundbreaking pediatric heart and stroke research as approximately 36,000 babies are born with heart defects each year and research is the key to saving babies lives; and getting life-saving information to those who need it the most – information that can save a life, like how to eat better, how to recognize the warning signs of a heart attack and how to talk to a doctor about critical health choices.

IMG_1459

Little Lee – so strong!

I won’t single you out whether you donate or you choose not to.  This is a personal decision that only you can make – I am just here to give you the opportunity to participate and help if you want.

Donations can be made on-line for as little as $25.  I know that times are tough, but if you can see it in your heart to donate, I’d greatly appreciate it.  Please help me fund research so that no one else has to travel the path that I’ve been on.

For more information or to donate, please click here: AHA Kate’s Page.  Thank you in advance for your support, it is appreciated.

Last picture of Lee and I together.

Last picture of Lee and I together.

As always, if you missed out on the journey with me, you can go back and read the blogs – starting with my favorite one of all times: Then He Kissed the Back of My Hand