Sunday, December 23, 2012

The True Meaning of Christmas

People are absolutely amazing.  As much as this struggle has been hard to watch, from my perspective, and hard to live from Erin and Claire's perspective.... it is so astounding to see the good in people.

Duncan and Bennett, high school students and athletes coached by Erin's brother, Alex, started a fundraising campaign with some friends and fellow runners.  Duncan has shared that the money was donated from other cross country families, other students, as well as families from the school that do not know Coach Broughton.  Additionally, members of a local running club donated funds, too.  They received donations from people as young as 10 to senior citizens.  Awesome!  The guys collected numerous donations ranging from $5 to $1000 by one generous family.  AMAZING!  Duncan and Bennett presented Alex with gift cards to and Walmart, as well as a very substantial check.  I love seeing kids take the initiative to give back.  Alex, you must mean so much to these boys!!  Duncan, Bennett, and crew, thank you for looking out for your awesome coach.  This is the very essence of the Christmas spirit.  Your Spokane friends are so extremely proud of you!!

I called Erin yesterday and asked if I could come crash her house.  (Truthfully, I had some good news for her and a bottle of wine I was given, with the caveat I drink it with Erin and Claire.)  Luckily, Erin said to come on over, but that she needed a couple of minutes.  She said within seconds of hanging up the phone with me, the doorbell rang.  She wasn't quite dressed yet and went running to the door, throwing on mismatched sweats and a marines knit cap.  Erin's guests were a local boy scout troop that "adopted" Erin, Claire, and the family for Christmas.  The boys delivered presents and a meal.  That is so incredibly awesome!  I just wish I had been a little faster and could have seen it, too.

Yesterday, a friend of mine, Ginger, texted me to say she wanted to pick up a ham for the family for Christmas.  What a fabulous idea!!!  Well, she called the "Honey Baked Ham" company near North Town Mall in Spokane, to order a ham.  In talking with the owner, she shared a bit about Erin and Claire's story.  The owner, Shawna, said that she rarely watches television, but caught the interview on KXLY a couple of weeks ago.  She was moved by the story and is donating an entire Christmas dinner from her company to Erin and family, complete with side dishes and all the fixings.  AWESOME!!!!!  It is heartwarming to see companies going above and beyond to help support friends in the community.... or in this case, to support complete strangers.  Thank you so much to Shawna and Jeff with Honey Baked Ham.  Your dinner will make their Christmas extra special and a whole lot easier to prepare.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

So.... how are they?  Claire is really doing well - at least from my naive perspective.  We shared some wine and laughs yesterday.  I was surprised to see her up and about, just like normal.  She has found that staying on top of the pain med regimen really is the key, as well as being gentle with her arm during this healing process.  With the help of Erin and Terry, she is making it work.  She also was planning on braving the stores and doing a little Christmas shopping yesterday.  Unbelievable.  I guess I never really thought about the recovery time for a mastectomy, but I never would have imagined she would be up and at 'em this quickly.  I know she is tired and sore, to say the least, but I am encouraged by how active she is.

Erin is in very good spirits, actually acting a touch goofier than me at times, shocking, I know!!!  She was truly a sight yesterday, in red, sock monkey pajama pants, a bright pink sweatshirt, a blue-green nightgown hanging out of the sweatshirt, and alternating hats between the marines cap and a penguin hat.  Although, my favorite was the platinum blond wig, pushed waaaaaayyyyy back on her head, leaving a monk-like forehead.  Awesome.  And, the best news of all, wine finally tastes good to Erin again.  Whew.  I was worried our friendship wouldn't make it through that little speed bump.

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