Okay, so this is actually a three-part post about how Greg, Zoey and I participated in two different charities on the same day and have an AWESOME time. If you haven’t read the other two parts, you might want to give them a go before getting into this one. Read about Zoey’s and my adventures at the Lupus walk here and read about Greg and I getting ready for the St. Baldricks Event here.
Here we go.
So when we last left off, Greg and I and the rest of Team Carol Freeland were on our way to Kitty Hoynes pub in Syracuse to take part in a St. Baldricks Event. For those of you who aren’t familiar with St. Baldricks: this charity raises money for research to eliminate cancers commonly suffered by children. Participants raise money and then get their heads shaved in solidarity to children who are fighting cancer daily. St. Baldricks is such a fantastic organization and it’s completely worth it to donate money or time.
I had heard about St. Baldricks last year when a friend I had from my childhood passed away after a long battle with leukemia. Through Facebook, I learned that a lot of his family and friends were planning on participating in the St. Baldricks Event at Kitty Hoynes in his memory and I thought the whole thing was just completely awesome. And what a wonderful way to memorialize someone.
Then we lost Greg’s mom, Carol, to cancer in November of last year. It was an incredibly hard time for the entire family–and pretty much anyone who knew Carol because she was just such an amazing person. As the months went by, I started thinking about the St. Baldricks Event and Greg and I talked about how he could get his head shaved in memory of his mom. Greg talked to his cousins, Cory and Pete, and they volunteered to participate as well. Even one of Cory’s friends, Mike, said he’d do it. And that is how Team Carol Freeland was born.
And do you know how much doing this in Carol’s name would have meant to her? For one, we were honoring her and her long, tough fight against cancer. We’re talking breast cancer, liver cancer–the works. She stood up to cancer for YEARS. Fight like a girl, indeed. And two, Carol loved kids. For the boys to be participating in something that benefits kids who are sick? Absolutely wonderful. She would have been so proud of them.
When we got to Kitty Hoynes the place was completely packed. I mean, we could barely get in the door because there were people EVERYWHERE. Some already shaved, some clearly waiting to lose their hair. We got the boys signed in and then our party went off in search of beer while I hung out near where they were going to get their heads shaved–and listened to a man on a loudspeaker giving his testimonial.
Oh dear God. He was KILLING me with the story about his young son, who was battling cancer. He said that after his son had surgery, the doctor told him that his son HAD to wake up as soon as possible. He had to come out from under the anesthesia. So, the man told his son that he could have whatever he wanted if he just woke up. A soda? Candy? What did he want?
Then the guy said that he heard this weak little voice say, “a puppy.”
Pictures on the wall of just some of the kids that benefit from the proceeds from St. Baldricks Events. The kid from the puppy story is on this wall in a picture with the puppy his dad and mom got him as he recovered.
Of course, the story got me. I mean, how could it not? And the story the man told after that about the mom and young daughter that were getting their heads shaved for the girl’s sister, who was at that very moment in the hospital about ten minutes away. The girl in the hospital had no idea they were doing it for her.
Seriously. My eyes kept tearing up the more the guy talked and by the time Greg got back with his beer, I was pretty much on the verge of just turning into a big ball of crying. I took a sip of Greg’s beer, informed him it tasted like Doritos and then kept taking sips off of it to calm my nerves. I did eventually give it back when it occurred to me that I don’t even LIKE beer.
After the guy was done making all of us cry, it was time to get back to the shaving. And let me tell you, they move people in and out of there like nothing. There was a platform set up in each room with about five or six chairs on it. Teams of shavees were announced, they took their place on the chairs, volunteers shaved their heads and then the next team was announced.
And then it was Team Carol Freeland’s turn to take their seats.
The whole thing took (at the most) ten minutes and all four members of our team had cleanly-shaved heads.
After the boys were shaved, we decided to leave to make room for shavees with later appointments. We headed to a nearby bar–PJ Dorseys–and had a celebratory drink there. At the bar, some guy in a kilt was giving out green beads to all of the ladies. I’m assuming it was all in support of St. Baldricks because, you know, Irish, green all that kind of thing. But when Christa asked me if I wanted any beads, I made sure to clarify that I didn’t have to show anything to get them (a la Mardi Gras) because I am, after all, a lady. I gave my beads to Zoey to play with when we got home.
So, after our drink at PJs, our team decided to walk down the road to Dinosaur Barbecue to get dinner. If you’re heading to the Syracuse area, check out the Barbecue. You will not regret it. In fact, it’s so popular, it has been on Man Vs. Food with Adam Richman and every time I’ve gone there, I’ve had to wait in a huge line. And actually, that’s the reason we ended up not staying long the night of St. Baldricks. There was an hour wait to even get a table and Greg and I were starting to anxiously look at the clock on our cell phones because we didn’t want to pick Zoey up from Kim’s house too late.
The group decided to go to another bar back up towards Tipp hill, so Greg and I said our goodbyes, ordered take-out from the Barbecue and headed home to pick up our little girl.
As soon as Zoey saw us pulling in the driveway, she burst into tears and didn’t stop until she was all cuddled up in my arms. Kim and Lisa told us that she had been fine all afternoon, except for one point when she talked them into taking her outside and she headed straight for Kim’s van–like maybe she wanted Kim to bring her home. And Zoey was so happy to see us. She walked over to Greg and when he knelt down to her level, she gave him a kiss, said, “Hi!” and then kissed him again. Then she became fascinated with touching his newly-shaved head, running her hand over the prickles of hair.
The three of us headed home and ate Barbecue for supper before it was time for Zoey to go to bed. Then Greg and I sat in the living room and stared at the TV like zombies because we were both so exhausted.
It was a crazy, chaotic day, but it was awesome. Greg and I got to honor both our moms on the same day and do a little something to show our support for two causes that mean the world to us. I know that Zoey and I will do the Lupus walk next year, as it’s important to me that she grows up sharing that experience with not only me, but also my mom. And as for St. Baldricks–there’s already plans in the works to double or triple the size of our team for next year. And maybe team t-shirts. The team raised close to $1,800.00 this year. Maybe next year we’ll be able to do double that. For the kids. For Carol.
She’d be so proud.