March 2003

March 26, 2003
Week of March 10, 2003
Week of March 17, 2003

March 26, 2003
Kaitlyn came through her Endoscopy procedure well, although she did spend a night in the PICU as a precaution. But, any hospital stay is a traumatic experience for all of us. Kaitlyn drew a picture of herself with all of the tubes sticking our her body. See “Me Being Tortured.”

Last Saturday Kaitlyn threw out the first pitch at the Campbell Bobby Sox Opening Day. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house.  It was an emotional scene for both parents and players. Jackie Morris introduced Kaitlyn and Kaitlyn read a poem about softball she had written the night before See “Softball”.  She was helped out of her wheelchair by her friend Casey Morris and she stood on the pitching mound and threw the ball right over home plate to her teammate Summer Anderson who was calling out "right here Kaitlyn" so she would know the direction.  Then Kaitlyn got back on the mike and using her Cooper-Rand said very clearly "Play Ball!"

Saturday evening our family attended the Saratoga High School 2003 Benefit Fashion Show and Donation Drawing that benefited Kaitlyn. The kids did a super job with the Fashion Show.  The decorations were great and they modeled the latest in teenage fashions from cities around the world. It was a very fun event.

Kaitlyn has joined a Lego Robotics Club after school with other 3rd graders in the GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program. They meet once a week and build moving Lego machines. Her Dad is helping her with the projects.

In April our family will be attempting our first road trip in a year.  We are going to Fresno for the California State Tournament of the Destination Imagination creative completion. Kerry has coached this team of five 7th grade girls for the past four years and Kelly is a member. We are also going to try and make it all the way to Yosemite this time around. Most of you know that it was this same exact circumstances just a year ago that Kaitlyn became sick.  This will be a very emotional trip for the family, but something we want to try and do.  How we are going to manage the logistics of carrying enough oxygen, supplies, etc. we have not got all figured out just yet.

In May there are three events planned for Kaitlyn's benefit. On May 5 the 1st Annual Golf Tournament for Kaitlyn will be held at Silver Creek Valley Country Club in San Jose. If you want to sign up to play see Events.  On May 9 Rolling Hills Middle School will hosting their Global Connections event and there will be a raffle drawing as a benefit for Kaitlyn. See Events.  On May 10 the San Jose CyberRays women's soccer team in conjunction with Soccer for Hope and the Silicon Valley Children's Hospital Foundation is holding a Clinic, pre-game Tailgate Party and game. Miggs will be there to perform and play Kaitlyn's song and we will be selling her benefit CDs. I believe Kaitlyn might get to go out on the field at half-time. See Events

Week of March 17
Kaitlyn is looking forward to throwing out the first pitch at the Opening Ceremonies of the Campbell Bobby Sox this Saturday.  We have had her out on the field twice now practicing her pitching.  How you may ask is she going to do this? Well, we get her out of her wheelchair while she is still attached to her oxygen tank, and she stands on the plate. We aim her in the right direction and she throws. So far she has actually bounced it off of the plate once!  Her best friend Casey and her mother are going to speak, as well as Kelly and Kaitlyn want to address the crowd and thank everyone.  Brad and I have given up on public speaking after our ordeal at her concert where we were both just too emotional. Saturday evening is the Saratoga High School Fashion Show being held as a benefit for Kaitlyn. We are looking forward to that event as well.

Kaitlyn is having surgery next Tuesday to try again to remove her esophageal strictures. Please be thinking good thoughts and prayers for us on Tuesday!

In April Kaitlyn is going to participate in a Braille Challenge Tournament being held at Stanford University.  It is a Braille competition for children.  The categories include reading comprehension, spelling and proofreading.  She is really looking forward to it because she has never met another blind child. She has mastered Grade 1 Braille which is the alphabet and numbers and is now learning what they call Grade 2 Braille which is more than 180 contractions or abbreviations of words and symbols.  She has left Brad and I in the dust!  She is starting to be able to read beginning reading books such as Dr. Suess and this week she will start to do some of her class homework in Braille. She is also learning the Nemeth Code which is mathematics and she can do simple additional and subtraction in Braille. Last weekend we went to see Agent Cody Banks, a new kids movie that just came out in the Described Audio Format. One of our local theaters offers this special service where blind patrons can wear headphones that have a second audio track describing what is happening on screen. It is nice to be able to do something as a family that each of us can enjoy. I have put information on her web site about Braille and the described audio service at Blindness

Other than school and special events, she continues to have many doctors appointments each week.  She is starting to draw again.  I put Braille letters on her markers and crayons so she can tell what color they are and she colors pictures along with writing poetry and songs. Click here to read her new poems.

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers.

Week of March 10, 2003
The "I Am" concert for Kaitlyn was just a perfect day. We had lots of sunshine, great music, inspiring poems, good food and more than 700 hundred friends, family and community members in attendance! It was a true celebration of life and everyone who attended had a wonderful time. The Vice Mayor of San Jose presented Kaitlyn with some special items, 10 students read their winning poems written for Kaitlyn, 5 bands played, and Kaitlyn signed autographs! For photos, to read the poems and more go to Concert. You can purchase the CD's featuring Kaitlyn's song "I Am the Same Inside" online at CDs. The concert received a lot of local media coverage.  Kaitlyn was featured in several newspaper articles, two radio stations talked about the concert and played her song on air, and two local TV stations covered the concert.  To read the articles go to In the News.

On Saturday the Destination Imagination team that Kerry coaches and Kelly participates on competed in the Regional Tournament and won first place in their category of Improvisation Theater.  Destination Imagination is a nationwide creative competition. The team also won a special Sprit of Discovery and Imagination award for their perseverance this year.  The organization presented special engraved medals to the team and to Kerry and Kaitlyn! Kerry has coached this team of 7th graders for the last four years.  Now the team moves on to Fresno for the State Tournament in April. As many of you know this is where our family was last April when Kaitlyn first got sick.  We are so excited for the team, but it will be a very emotional trip for the family to go back to Fresno almost exactly one year later...  See Photo of the Destination Imagination Team

Kaitlyn spoke this weekend to the Young Writers of the Peninsula club.  She read her "I Am the Same Inside" poem and then they played her song. Don Miggs, the lead singer of Miggs, also was there and spoke to the students about writing songs. Kaitlyn read several other poems she has written recently. She was just a fabulous speaker. See Photos of the event.  She used her Cooper-Rand and spoke into a microphone and was fairly intelligible. She has been writing a plethora of poems lately.  I have posted four of her new poems. See Poems

Kaitlyn and Kelly are playing Bobby Sox girls softball again this year.  Kaitlyn is the "Assistant Manager" on a team.  She is actually an official player on the roster and although she cannot play she will be in the dugout with the team, wearing a uniform and cheering them on. On March 22 she will throw out the first pitch for the Opening Day ceremonies.  This weekend she practiced throwing a ball for the first time in more than a year.  Kelly is also playing volleyball for her Middle School team. 

Coming up on March 22 Saratoga High School is holding a Fashion Show and Silent Auction to benefit Kaitlyn. The entire family will attend.  If anyone has items to donate or want to attend see attached flier of more information.  There are also plans for a Cinco de Mayo (May 5) benefit golf tournament for Kaitlyn at Silver Creek Country Club in San Jose.  (more details to come soon).

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