Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragment. We spent a lot of time preparing for this event and it was such a sweet time!
We hit some stumbling blocks before and even during the event, but all worked out well. It was neat to be able to talk with Rebecca about how Satan would love for us to be flustered, frustrated and ineffective - but that God was on our side.
We arrived early and set up and had the help of some of the atheletes too. Everyone was SOOOO nice to us! We were in a large room - and it was full! There were more than 100 - up to 150 student athletes, many of whom were freshmen there.
There was an intro and a gal from campus talking about community service opportunities. Then it was our turn. Just before it was our turn, I realized that I had forgotten to bring in my camera! It was too late to go get it too. I quickly called home and asked Christopher to call Roger (who was on his way with Eliana) to ask him to bring it in. Well, he couldn't find it. We do have some video though (which I'll try to post later once I get some blog problems figured out) and one of the staff took some photos (which I'll hopefully get soon).
I spoke first and talked some about our time with Duke Children's. Mainly about Eliana's heart. I got choked up. Why can't I share this story without the flood of emotions, even now? I wasn't the only one though. The pictures of our angel in the hospital are hard to see and I could see that on their faces. I ended with a more current picture though and it brought a lot of smiles! I also took some time to briefly share how her having Down syndrome has been such a blessing to our family and to many others that we know. I just wanted to plant a seed so that they can know that Ds is not a bad thing.
After I talked, it was Rebecca's turn. She was very nervous. It was a big crowd! She did an awesome job!!! I wish I could have recorded her. Can I just say how proud I am of my girl? She shared why she wanted to raise money - so that other children with heart conditions could get help at Duke just like her little sister. Her initial goal was to raise $100. She has to date donated over $8000 to Duke Childrens!
The next part was hectic. It was time for making jewelry. They wanted to help build up Rebecca's inventory so that she would be able to sell more and thus give more to Duke Children's. We underestimated what they would be able and willing to do! They made a lot (more than 100 pieces - earrings, bracelets and necklaces). They seemed to have a lot of fun doing it too. Rebecca was kept very, very busy answering questions and helping finish the jewelry. She did a great job.
Roger and Eliana came in after we talked. They thought it would be nice for the students to meet her. I considered bringing her early, but thought that having her around while we were setting up beads seemed like a recipe for disaster. We talked to many students. Many came up to meet her and talk with her.
Several shared cookies with her, which she loved. She gave out some hugs and lots of high fives and fist bumps. They seemed to really enjoy her. Many of them thanked us for coming and sharing our story. It was really a privilege to be able to be there.
I'm honestly always so humbled that anyone is interested in our story. Grateful for the hearts that are open to hear and the many that respond in a positive way. I was very impressed by the Duke athletes! Very! It was a wonderful night and I'm so thankful we had the opportunity to be there!
We have been invited to join one of the teams who wants to help make more jewelry. I'm excited and thankful for this next opportunity. Who knew when she made that first bracelet that it would ever come to this?
Here is a photo of my beautiful girls.
We are hoping to set up a "store" or website as we have been asked about this. If anyone has suggestions or advice for us, we would love to hear it!
Lastly, here is an article you can read about our night at goduke.com.