the original idea for the fundraiser came from ruby's first favorite teacher at daycare, ms misty. misty has been ruby's "daycare mom" since she was just three months old. she held, rocked, & carried ruby through hours of crying (ruby had a tad bit of trouble adjusting to daycare) & ruby was attached at her hip for much of the daytime hours of her first nine months of her life. she has always been a kind & supportive person to me, but the lengths that she & several other people from the daycare (and some not even) went to for ruby left me (and T) speechless. (and brought me to tears. of course.)
the fundraiser consisted of a car wash, a raffle, & a plant sale, as well as a Wildtree party that a friend of mind held. it was a lot of planning & hoping & preparing so that the event would go well & it certainly surpassed all of our expectations.
what i loved the most about the day, though, was meeting people & telling them about ruby. it was the first time that i had told her story to strangers & done it so many times, over & over. it became somewhat therapeutic for me. to say the words out loud & then to repeatedly have strangers genuinely wish us well & tell me they'd be praying for us was overwhelming at times. many people went home & got their other cars to bring back again for another wash. i met nurses & doctors, who knew what SMA were & were truly empathetic. i met people who have family or friends who suffer from other forms of muscular dystrophy, one man who suffered from French polio when he was a senior in high school. although it is a different ailment, he showed me the scar from his trach & the braces he still wears on his legs & ankles. we talked for a while about how these sorts of experiences have a way of putting things into perspective in life. i met a man who works for channel 12 news & said that the next time we do an event to call him & he'd have them plug it on the news.
friends from work showed up. some i expected, while others i did not & it still chokes me up thinking about them taking time out of their day & supporting ruby. a friend who I haven't seen in at least 5 years came with her beautiful daughter. she bought a couple raffle tickets but more than that, she was THERE. another friend washed cars with us all day. and my RA from college, who i haven't seen in TEN years, showed up, with her girlfriend's son & they spent their entire day washing cars. a family from the daycare had made a donation earlier in the week & still made it a point to come get his car washed. family & friends who couldn't make it the day of the event, sent donations for ruby. and of course, the teachers & staff from the daycare came out in full force. they got sunburns & sold raffle tickets. they brought their kids to wash cars & hold signs. one woman, while she is in the midst of dealing with horrible sickness within her own family, came AND bought pizza for everyone who volunteering. ms misty spent the entire day playing with ruby & introducing her to people who came through. they flagged down cars (and almost got hit by a couple! they took their job very seriously.) everyone was on their feet from the time we started until the time we left.
i still just don't have the right words for how grateful i am for the support we have. to see people not only emotionally support us but to actually walk the talk & DO something for ruby was humbling & overwhelming. still, i just can't believe it. i have spent so much time saying thank you but i know that i will never be able to truly express our gratitude.