Monday, October 29, 2012

Oh what a night!

This year’s Arthritis Foundation Bone Bash was a blast! The venue was beautiful and decorated like a mad science lab complete with bubbly beakers full of potions on the tables. Med students in lab coats welcomed you as servers offered test tubes filled with delicious drinks and appetizers.

I met with Beth who gave us a quick run down of the evening. I also got to introduce Ed to the other great ladies at the local Arthritis Foundation that I’ve been working with. (Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo with Miss Beth…she was very busy bustling around all evening making sure the event was the HUGE success it was!)

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We had the pleasure of being part of the VIP reception which meant that we got to meet one of the Honorees for the evening, L.C. Greenwood.

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For those of you who aren’t from Steeler nation L.C. Greenwood was with the Steeler organization for 13 years and was instrumental in four Steeler Super Bowl wins. It was truly an honor to meet him!

We also met with the Emcee for the evening, Anthony Griggs. Anthony was also a pro football player and while he played for the Eagles and the Browns (boooooooo!) he also worked as Director of Player Development for the Steelers. He spoke to me about the evening and when I admitted that I was nervous to speak to so many people he assured me that I would do great. He also told me that he had seen my blog. To be honest I thought he was just being polite but then he said he saw the photos of me in a mask and gloves with a butcher knife cutting peppers! While I was a bit embarrassed about the photo I was so pleased that he really had read the blog! Thank you, Anthony, for being a true individual and for helping me feel more comfortable that evening.

It was so great to see how many people came out to support the Arthritis Foundation. I believe there were well over 100 people in attendance. What was even better was that the majority of them came in costume! I love when grown men and women can kick back and have fun and come up with amazing costumes. I will admit though, Ed and I had a favorite. A man walked in looking JUST LIKE Zach Galifianakis from The Hangover. Of course I had to take his picture! 

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When it was time to sit down and eat we found ourselves at a table with two of the pediatric rheumatologists from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Neither one of them are one of Monkey’s doctors but it was really great to sit and talk with them. We, and the families in the surrounding area, are so blessed to have such amazing pediatric rheumatologists!

Dr. Brian Klatt, MD took the stage and said a few words of introduction for Honoree Dr. Lawrence Crossett, MD. Dr. Crossett is the Chief of the Adult Reconstructive Division within the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. He is very well known in Pittsburgh and has been consistently named on of Pittsburgh’s Top Doctors by Pittsburgh Magazine. Dr. Crossett spoke of his work but also spoke of how he admires the rheumatologists here in Pittsburgh.

Anthony then introduced L.C. Greenwood. It was great to hear L. C. talk about his days with the Steelers and tell us some great behind the scene stories. He also spoke of how arthritis has affected his life and encouraged those in attendance to help in whatever way they could. He spoke true words when he said that someday each one of us will be affected by arthritis in someway so we need to get up and move while we can and do what we can to help.

Then came the moment that I was so anxious about….Anthony got up and spoke such kind words about me and asked me to join him up front. I had plans of following my note cards and keeping things ‘professional’ but then I got up there…just me and a mic…in front of over a hundred people…with a slide show of my Monkey running behind me…that’s when I decided to go with my heart. Forget the notecards and just tell them all our story. I looked out and found Ed…there was so much support in his eyes…I knew that no matter what happened he loved me and thought I was pretty awesome. Thanks for being there for me, Babe!

I took a deep breath and talked to those in attendance like they were my friends. I told them all about Monkey and how he was diagnosed. I told them how scary it was and how we felt alone at times because JA is not something many people know about. I also spoke about how I came to find the local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation and how Beth, Caitlyn, Allison and Kristina had all been so kind and helpful. I talked about the SAK program and encouraged them all to keep giving because their donations were making a real difference. I tried so hard to keep my emotions in check but as a mother it was hard. When I found myself getting emotional I looked around at the faces in the crowd and saw tears in their eyes as well. When I was finished Anthony came up and gave me a hug and thanked me. I found my way back to my seat where Ed hugged me and told me how proud he was of me. That’s when I couldn’t control the tears anymore. What can I say, I’m an emotional momma.

So many people came up to us and thanked us for sharing our story. They said that Monkey’s story touched their heart and that they would pray for him and that they wished the best for us. If you were there that night and are reading this now….Thank you! Thank you for your support both monetarily and emotionally. Because of you the event was a huge success raising $56,000! You are making a difference in so many lives. Thank you so much!

I’ll be honest, knowing that Monkey has this disease and will live with it for the rest of his life sucks. It’s scary and sometimes really intimidating especially not knowing what lies ahead. That said, I know that God is with us every step of the way and I’m so thankful for nights like this where I am able to share our story. To know that while we go through this we are learning things and that we can take that knowledge and possible help other families. No family should feel scared or alone. My hope, and my goal, is that families have a support network all across the country. Even if they just have ONE family to talk to, to ask questions of, to seek support. Just to know that they have some one on their side who’s been there. Sometimes that alone makes things less scary.