Recently our younger two children (on the right below) swam lots and lots of laps to raise money for CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) Oncology Research so they can do more research to end childhood cancer. The dear friend on the left was on the sofa during last year's swim-a-thon recovering from major surgery on her left leg because she suffers from a very rare form of skin cancer. It was so good to swim with her and not just for her this year.
I have a hard time talking about this event without crying. I get that "I'm so proud of my kids" swell in my throat, oh no, I am going to cry feeling. So, I just nod my head but I can't talk about it. Thankfully, I can talk about it here because I can cry all I want and you won't make fun of my blotchy face, inability to speak audibly and weeping mascara!
This boy pictured below had a goal. He swam 132 laps last year - essentially 2 hours for a distance of 2 miles. He wanted to swim 200 laps this year so he wrote the number all over his arms and hands just in case he forgot his goal.
Sweet Pea didn't have a goal. I figured she would swim about 30 and be done like last year. Boy did she surprise me!
These two girls suffer from the same skin cancer, DFSP (Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans). The girl on the left goes to a local high school and has been a huge support to our friend who is going in to 5th grade.
Thank goodness my niece was with me because my husband was out of town. I get a little distracted so we brought the pitch counters along to ensure an accurate count.
Buddy decided he would get started a little early for his age to be sure he could swim the 200 laps (5000 m) so he hopped in the water at 5:45. With only a couple of breaks he swam until 8:15. At 7:30 the pool manager was ready to clean up for the pool closing at 8. To him the event was done. Buddy wasn't going to stop so I explained his goal and got his blessing for him to continue swimming. At closing time the guard got out of the chair and approached Buddy to stop. He kept swimming and another guard, Ashley, jumped in the chair and told Buddy to keep swimming. She wasn't getting down until he finished. After the swim I found out that she lost a friend to cancer this year. She wasn't going to make him get out until he finished. At 8:15, after 2 1/2 hours of swimming, he finished.
The Big Finish ( the main voice you hear is his teammate with DSEP)....
Not to be out done, Sweet Pea swam for just about 2 hours, with a break for some chicken fingers, and completed 100 laps. What a surprise. We were begging her to finish and she did flip turns ( something we didn't know she could do) to avoid our pleading. She finished up just before her brother. Apparently she too has a future in freestyle endurance swimming!
At one of Sweet Pea's turns I lamented to my niece that my children were stubborn because they were avoiding me and wouldn't stop. She corrected me with, "Let's replace stubborn with determined!" I think she is absolutely right and I can't wait to see where their determination takes them in their lives.
Together my children raised $1,750 thanks to very generous donations from Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles, cousins, and neighbors. I wish everyone could have seen their faces when they realized what they did and how much their swimming and hard work made a difference to children with cancer.
Now that I've told this very long story, here is my question. I would love for them to send thank you cards to their donors made with several photos and a big thank you. Anyone know where I can get something like that made? I looked at Minted and they didn't have exactly what I was looking for and I'm not sure about the quality of Shutterfly. Any other suggestions?