Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Jolly Holiday Lights

I had planned on taking the kids to the Jolly Holiday Lights show in Des Moines. We had time after the New Years event, so I decided we would take them. It completed a wonderful day and I was so moved, because the car in front of us decided they would pay for the next four cars that followed them, which included us.  Pay it forward, we ended up giving them the $20 we were going to use anyway to pay for the four cars after them.

I love the message of Jolly Holiday Lights.  The money goes to the Make-a-Wish foundation, which grants the wishes of children living with terminal illnesses.  Businesses throughout Iowa donate money and sponsor a holiday lights display.  Before we went we bought hot chocolate and it was the perfect topping to our drive through the lights.  The kids were going crazy looking out of both windows at the same time.

Working at the hospital I get to know many kids who routinely come for some kind of procedure or are just ill and end up being admitted.  I remember this one little girl from when I worked in the surgery department.  She came in about once a month for surgery on her brain tumor.  She would come in with her mom and grandpa.  They were so close, he would tell me about their fishing trips, how she would be sitting out in the garage with him when he worked on the tractor, etc.  He would get so emotional, because he knew the procedures would only extend her life briefly.  The girl was only three years old and she was a doll.  The steroids they gave her made her head so swollen that she couldn't walk because it was so heavy.  She didn't talk very much, but I was always talking to her.  She tried to hide her smiles when we goofed on her grandpa.  I remember they would stay in the Ronald McDonald house for weeks at a time when she came to the hospital.  Every other day her mother and grandpa would come visit when she was in chemotherapy.  We would have lunch together and on Valentine's Day she brought us all Valentines.  It was like they bought everything at Walgreen's to bring to us.  She passed away when she was four.

Anyway, the point of this story is that the Make-a-Wish foundation granted her one wish, which was to go to Disney World with her family.  I remember when she brought pictures of her, sitting in her stroller, surrounded by all of the princesses.  They dressed her up like Cinderella, her favorite.  There were pictures of her swimming with dolphins and sipping tea with Alice in Wonderland.  I had never seen her look so happy, I cried looking through them.  The foundation does wonderful work, these kids look so happy, their dreams are coming true.

I highly recommend the light show, the kids had a blast.

 For more information on the Jolly Holiday Lights click here!

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