April 28, 2003
Well we finally made it to Yosemite last week. (see pictures) It only took us a year and a long, bumpy road to get there. Our first stop was Fresno where the Destination Imagination team I coach and Kelly participates on competed in the State tournament. And, guess what they won! The team will now compete in the Global Finals in Knoxville, TN in late May. We are so proud of their accomplishments and I am now busy working on fundraising efforts and logistics to get the team and me back to Tennessee for the tournament.
Our family spent several days in the Yosemite area and enjoyed some snowy weather. The waterfalls were running high and Brad pushed Kaitlyn's wheelchair up some tremendously bumpy and steep paths to get her close enough to feel the mist on her face. We had to wrap her breathing machine up in plastic to protect it from the elements. It was a lot of work traveling with all of the necessary medical equipment to sustain Kaitlyn, but we did it. I can't say it was without problems - her oxygen tanks froze in the cold weather and stopped working, and we had a small battery fire in the car...
We had a nice Easter. Kaitlyn couldn't run all around the house on an Easter egg hunt like she used to nor could she eat all of her Easter candy, but she did crawl around the living room floor searching for eggs and she got a new Easter dress (see picture) from her Grammie, so she was happy.
We have a couple of exciting event coming up to benefit Kaitlyn. The "First Annual Kaitlyn Langstaff Benefit Golf Tournament" will be held May 5 on Cinco de Mayo at the Silver Creek Valley Country Golf Club in San Jose. And, Kaitlyn has been invited to be the Honorary Captain along side Brandi Chastain of the San Jose CyberRays (women's soccer) at their May 10 game. For more information on both of these see Events.
Also on the calendar - Kaitlyn and her friend Kestrel are participating in a school Talent Show this evening lip syncing a Brittney Spears song.
April 8, 2003
Today is the one year anniversary of when Kaitlyn became ill and was hospitalized for Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis. What an incredible journey this has been and in many ways one that we are just beginning. We could not have made it through this last year without the love, prayers and support of our friends, family and community. Thank you! Our lives have changed forever in ways never even imaginable, but we still have our Kaitlyn with us and in the end that is all that really matters. We will endure whatever challenges we are faced with. We're looking forward to celebrating spring and summer this year as we missed four months of our lives last year sitting inside dark and dreary hospital rooms. Personally, I'm looking forward to hearing birds chirping this summer instead of monitors and ventilators!
As I write this we are preparing to head back to Fresno. Kelly's Destination Imagination team will competing in the State Finals there on Saturday. We never did make it to our camping trip in Yosemite last year, but we will this year. We're planning an overnight stay in the Yosemite Valley (at a hotel not a tent)! We will describe to Kaitlyn all of the beautiful things that she can not see. It won't be the same, it won't ever be the same, but we're not going to stop living life.
Attention golfers and soccer fans, there are a couple of exciting sporting events in the works to benefit Kaitlyn. The "First Annual Kaitlyn Langstaff Benefit Golf Tournament" will be held May 5 on Cinco de Mayo at the Silver Creek Valley Country Golf Club in San Jose. The event is being organized by a former colleague of Brad's. Here is the Entry Form if you would like to play. There are great raffle prizes (dinners, hotel stays) and it should be a fun day for all. The proceeds will go to benefit Kaitlyn.
The second event is for soccer fans. Kaitlyn has been invited to be the Honorary Captain along side Brandi Chastain of the San Jose CyberRays (women's soccer) at their May 10 game. Miggs will play at a pre-game Tailgate Party concert and Rachel Lauren will sing the National Anthem. They will play Kaitlyn's song "I Am the Same Inside" at half time and sell her CD's at the snack bar. The game is being coordinated by Soccer for Hope, a nonprofit organization that helps children with life-threatening diseases, and the Silicon Valley Children's Hospital Foundation. Here is the Registration Form.
Kaitlyn participated in the Braille Challenge last weekend at Stanford University. See photo It was her first opportunity to meet other kids her age that are blind. She competed with kids in grades 1-3. The other 4 children had been blind since birth and were very skilled at Braille. They were all walking with the aid of a white cane and very mobile. Kaitlyn was the only one in a wheelchair and the noise of her biped machine bothered some of the kids who did not understand what it was. All in all it was a good learning experience. Kaitlyn held her own though and was pretty amazing for having only been learning Braille for 6 months now. There was a spelling test, a proofreading test and a reading comprehension test. She was most happy about the fact though that she won a raffle prize!
Kaitlyn continues to write beautiful poetry. Check out her latest verses at Poems. She also continues to draw and I have put Braille letters on her markers and crayons so she can identify the colors. She also has become very fond of Lego's.
Take a moment this week to step back from your busy lives and cherish the everyday stuff - picking the kids up from practice and meetings, going to McDonald's, helping with homework, snuggling together under the covers, making dinner together. It can all be gone in a flash and you don't realize how precious it all is until you don't have it anymore. We feel so blessed to have our family together under one roof and to be able to wake up each morning and see Kaitlyn and Kelly's smiles!