We had a very small turnout for the Heartwalk this year. The smallest we've ever had since we started walking six years ago. Since then, Andrew has been the ambassador, and that year we seemed to have the largest turnout to date. We've raised on average $2,000 every year. In case you aren't doing the math... that's over $10,000 we've raised for the American Heart Association in Andrew's life time.
We think that's pretty incredible. Recently, in a life changing cath procedure, Andrew directly benefitted from current research and education of CHD's. I am confident that in his lifetime, the dollars that we have helped raise will make more life changing events for him and countless other children. To say we've been a part of that is extremely rewarding and nothing short of amazing.
I'm going to admit, this year I was worried because I know how much Andrew loves having his family and friends surround him. I feel like the older he gets, the more he understands his special heart, and understands the support he receives. So, I'm not gonna lie. I was bummed this year when many of our loyal walkers couldn't make it. We usually have a big party at the house afterwards, with lunch and cake and lots of people. I always love it.
But I also have to admit, the day turned out to be pretty special, despite the smaller team this year. First of all, we still raised $1,300, so our loyal supporters did not disappoint. We know everyone was with us in spirit! Secondly, Andrew didn't seem to notice the team was about 1/10 of its usual size. He was happy as could be, and we were all so proud.
He was excited to see his special heart buddy, Andrew. These two have known each other since they were babies and his mommy and I have gotten to be great friends. There's nothing like other "heart moms" who just understand without even speaking words. We are so grateful for our heart support group and many families we know were out walking so we had a lot of fun connecting with them, instead of running around worrying about keeping all 30+ people in our team together! Ha!
Two special little survivors... I love their shirts!
This was Kerigan's first year supporting her brother. But I had to laugh because she was definitely there last year! As I waddled along, 36 weeks pregnant! Ha!
I love the sea of people... walking for one common goal.
We all laughed and laughed about this picture above- do you see
my extra belly button the stray cheerio? Ha! So typical of my life right now!
The funniest part about it was the fact that these two ate cheerios pretty much until they were stuffed. They give out bags of them, and also each kid had a bowl. They were spilled all over the wagon, sticking to everything, including every roll of Kerigan's legs! Ha! It was quite a process cleaning everything up. So the picture just made me laugh.
She's so silly!
Our team at the finish line!
After the walk there are always special things going on. I loved this- Andrew went right up and hugged this big heart! Ha!
He can't get enough of these bouncy slides!
He wanted to go again and again...
They were giving out all kinds of things- including beach balls! And in the background Jason Brown was performing a concert. It was so much fun and just a great morning! We enjoyed just going back home and not entertaining (don't get me wrong, entertaining is one of my favorite things!) But we enjoyed some family quiet time and relaxing afterwards, which we have never done before.
My little walkers!
We may not have had the numbers... but we had just as much love and support as always. Thanks to everyone who donated this year and helped make a difference in the lives of children born with congenital heart defects!
Together, we HAVE made a difference!