Sunday, December 7, 2008

Steve loves a parade

Last year for the first time our family of four attended the Neiman Marcus Adolphus Children's parade in downtown Dallas. The Smith family has been going for years, and they invited us to join in their tradition.

During last year's parade, we had no idea how ill Steve would become. We were just days away from the MRI that showed the tumor. We loved the parade and talked about it all year long.

With great faith, we bought bleacher seat tickets again this year. (Anyone can go to the parade for free, but the bleacher tickets guarantee a spot with a good views.)

Two weeks ago, before we knew that there was new tumor growth, I started worrying about how Steve would walk from the parking lot to our seats outside City Hall. I contacted Jessica with the Children's PR department (Steve works for Children's) to ask if she could help us solve the problem.

She didn't hesitate to offer a golf cart.

After we learned Tuesday night that the Damm Spot is growing with live tumor cells, we weren't sure if Steve would make it to the parade. We were even more unsure Thursday, after he received Avastin and CPT-11. He was so exhausted -- we didn't know if he'd even be able to leave the house.

But, as you know, Steve is determined.

He rested all day Friday and skipped a neighborhood party so he could store energy for Saturday morning.

He woke up Saturday feeling strong enough to go, so we bundled him up, picked up his parents (Kris gave us extra tickets) and drove downtown.

As promised, Jessica (who had many important tasks that day) picked us up and dropped us off at our seats. The six of us sat in the first two rows and enjoyed the joyous parade.

Steve smiled more than any of us. He kept saying, "I'm so glad I'm here."

Cooper and Steve


Steve has a soft spot for marching bands (he played trumpet in marching bands for W.T. White High School and the University of Michigan), and clapped especially loud for all the kids who performed just feet in front of us. He hollered a lot, too -- not an easy task with his raspy, faltering voice.

When the parade ended, most folks walked away from the plaza quickly. We waited for the crowds to thin and for a plan to get Steve back to the car. (Ack! I hadn't thought about how to get him back!)

Cooper and Grandma

Hero Layne Smith took charge. He asked around until he found a golf cart. The Children's volunteer wasn't sure how to drive it, so she scooted over, and Layne took the wheel, driving most of our party back to the car.

Steve, Layne, Katie and Papa

We are incredibly thankful for everyone who helped us get to and from the parade. We are even more thankful for miracle drugs that allowed Steve to feel better after less than two days of treatment.

Steve is tired again today, probably in part because of our morning outdoors. His voice is extremely weak. But his spirits were bolstered by watching a Christmas parade with his family, by continuing a tradition we started just a year ago.

Steve and Tyra


Sweetest Whimsy said...

I'm so happy you all got to go! How fun! And who wouldn't be determined to go out and have some fun?!

Paige W. said...

I'm so glad you were there too!