Wednesday, September 21, 2011

2011 Heart Walk!

Yay!! We were able to make the heart walk this year. Something we have made an effort to do every year since I found out about the American Heart Association's Start Heart Walk here in Sacramento. Last year, we were so sad we had to miss out. Ava had her tummy surgery just a few days before the walk, and though no pain was expected, because of various reasons, there was a significant amount of pain and I made the decision as Ava's mommy to keep my girl home. It was such a bummer and I know a lot of people were disappointed, but Ava's health and comfort came first. This year though, Team Ava was back out there! The first year we did this walk, there was literally NO mention of the little kiddos affected by heart disease and stroke. But thanks to all the wonderful parents who have been raising awareness for their babies born with Heart Disease and suffering stroke(just like my Ava), CHD has such a presence at the Heart Walks. Not only that, but all monies my team, and many of the other teams, raise goes directly to funding for research on congenital heart disease. It's fantastic and makes me SO happy to see how far we have come in raising awareness for our tiny little heart heroes. Without this awareness and funding and the advances being made, not that many years ago the combination of complex CHD Ava was born with would not have been operable. YEAH for brighter futures for our babies! This walk has always been a very special day for me. The first year we did it, my goal was to gather family and friends to show our support for Ava but also to help make a voice for our heart kiddos. Just a few years later, Ava gets SO jazzed about the walk and you can just SEE how special it is to her. She may not fully grasp why we are all there but she KNOWS it is for her and her incredible little heart. Ava went to bed the night before the walk talking about it and woke up picking up right where she left off. Her eyes were so wide and she was so happy and had a blast running around from tent to tent, getting face paint, balloons, and participating in hula contests after the walk. Ava saw her best friend Miss Maddie, who is the same age as Ava, was also born with the exact same genetic disorder as Ava and though different, was also born with congenital heart disease. Their little lives have mirrored each others so many times, I feel so blessed to have Maddies mommy Michelle there exactly when I need her because she knows EXACTLY what I am going through. She can relate. She gets it. She just knows. And she has been a lifesaver on more than one occasion. Ava and Maddie hardly get to see each other thanks to ridiculous schedules on both sides, but they have some kind of amazing bond, and each time they do see each other their eyes light up and smiles come out along with great big hugs. It's adorable and I know this family was put in our lives for a reason, this little friend of Ava's is going to be there for her as she grows and much like her mama has done for me, will be an unparalleled source of strength and understanding. I need to again thank ALL those who have come out year after year(with even a few of you amazing people showing up last year in our spot). For understanding why this is so important to me and special for Ava to be a part of and look back on. For making time in your very busy schedules for a few hours once a year to walk for a little girl who has gone though so much in her life and has so much love and joy and happiness in everything she does, and for everyone she knows. Thank you for helping me raise Ava to be proud of her journey, that beautiful scar, and realize how incredibly strong and admirable she is. I couldn't do it without you all! xox, see you next year!! :)

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I am just seeing this post for the first time, and it brought tears to my eyes. We love you guys so much, and the feelings are completely mutual. You are the only person on this planet who "just knows" my fears, pain, worry, anxiety, joy, elation, etc. I am so thankful that we found you guys, and I am so looking forward to seeing these incredible girls grow up together.