This past weekend was the "Keep the Beat" 5k walk sponsored by the CHD organization, "It's My Heart". (I talked about Team Q and the walk here).
I am not even sure I can put into words my feelings on this weekend. It was incredibly emotional for me to see literally thousands of people all gathered for this walk. So many friends and families were joined together in "teams" rallying for the support for these precious children. I don't know what I quite expected from the event, but I did NOT expect so many people to be out there.
It was overwhelming & humbling all at the same time.More often than I care to admit, I get into my own "bubble" and forget how many other families are dealing with such serious heart conditions. But wow, Quinn is certainly not alone.
Some interesting statistics:
1 in 100 babies born will be diagnosed with a congenital heart defect (40,000 per year).
CHD's are the most common birth defect.
There are at least 35 different heart defects. (Quinn's specific heart defect makes up less than 1% of all CHD's - meaning she is a 1 in 10,000)
And this is the one that blew me away:
Nearly twice as many children die from Congenital Heart Defects in the United States each year as from all forms of childhood cancers combined. Yet funding for pediatric cancer research is 5 times higher than funding for Congenital Heart Defects.
Matt and I are so thankful that so many members of our immediate family & close friends were able to join us for this walk - and incredibly grateful for the prayers from all of those who could not participate. Besides the walk, a definite highlight of the weekend was finally being able to meet our newest niece, Ady. She was born just a couple of months after the twins, but it seemed everytime we would try to get together, there was a sick baby, sick child, sick adult, surgery over here in H-town, etc etc. Life happened.
So we FINALLY got to meet this precious girl (she is a joy!) and also spend some wonderful quality time with our niece Riley who is such a special little girl. We had so much fun hanging out with her as she helped us push the double stroller the entire 3.2 miles without complaint, played soccer in our backyard, threw around the football, performed cartwheels and attempted round-offs. Basically, we all thought we were 6 years old again. But Miss Riley had some amazing energy and outlasted all of the adults --- we kept having to "sub" ourselves in to keep up with her. And now my legs are aching because my 30 year old body just really shouldn't do cartwheels anymore.
After we completed the walk, everyone came over the house for a yummy meal of pulled pork sandwiches (Thanks for the recipe, L&G!), brisket, potato salad, coleslaw, andouille dip, and fufetti cupcakes decorated with green & white sprinkles & green candy hearts to match our T.Q. colors.
(Side note: for some reason I like to believe that I am crafty AND that I can bake - a dangerous combination. For the Super Bowl I decided it would be a wonderful idea to make a football shaped cake. It was just a hot mess and resembled in no way the football cake recipe I was attempting to duplicate. Then for this event, after trying to hunt down some heart-shaped cake molds and failing, I went with the cupcake idea. Of course, I saw these candy heart molds and just had to attempt it. I bought this crazy green color candy stuff, melted it down just like the instructions said and poured it in the molds. Let's just say I am still picking green candy off my counters and my hearts were more like deformed squares, but what-ev. I think they tasted ok at least)
We had so much fun just hanging out with everyone and relaxing. It has been forever since our families gathered for anything other than our father's funerals, so it was quite a treat to have almost everyone together. Oh and for the cutest moment, Riley walked in the door with the most precious skirt and top which Q just happens to own as well - Mommy & Aunt Emmy have the same taste! So as soon as the princess woke up from her long overdue nap, I changed her so they would be matching. I don't know if it was a girl thing or what, but Riley & Quinn were besties from that moment on and wherever Riley went, Quinn would look for her. Precious.
Anyway, the whole weekend was just a treat. Exhausting but worth every second. I am incredibly grateful to our families and friends who donated not only financially, but also their time and energy to be with us on this special day. I will remember it forever --- and already cannot wait to do it again next year when Quinn is a heart defect surgery SURVIVOR.
Here are some pics from the weekend --- I think Matt's brother got some better ones than me, so hopefully I will get those from him soon.
Matt and I
The babes at the beginning of the walk. They were so tired because they were missing their nap but they perked up later!
Kendra and I
Aunt Stacey, Uncle Christian, cousin Riley and cousin Adyson
Prepping for the walk
Terri playing with the babies of course!
The whole crew of Team Quinn
This just kind of melts me
As does this. You can see how they adored each other.
Such a happy girl! (and getting sooo much attention!)
Uncle Blaine & Aunt Christina
Matt and Ady - doesn't she just look like a baby doll?
Hanging out with our newest niece
Ummm, have you ever tried to take a picture with 3 infants and a 6 year old? Those kids were looking in every direciton but the camera.