*all photos taken by Maria!
A couple months ago we were contacted inquiring as to whether we would be willing to attend and speak at 2013's Terp Thon. I had no idea what it was. I looked into it and then immediately said YES! It is an event put on by University of Maryland. Students fund raise throughout the year, and at the annual event they pledge to stand/dance for 12 hours to represent what it takes to care for children in the hospital. Every penny raised goes to Children's National Medical Center.
As you all have heard so many times, CNMC holds such a special place in our hearts, as it is where Luca was flown to when she was 3 days old, and ultimately the reason she is still here today. While financially we cannot help much, we can certainly raise awareness and share our experience with what an amazing institution CNMC is.
We arrived and stayed for a few hours, as much as Luca could tolerate. They had a room for all of the miracle kids (the kids being featured this year). They had activities and treats and food and toys for them to play with for the day. One student was there to "host" us (hi Alyse!) and help keep Luca occupied for the event. The event was held in the previous basketball stadium so we headed out to the "court" to see everything going on. There were over 1500 people there. We walked around in awe of the energy and enthusiasm these students have for helping children. I could not stop smiling. Luca stared in confusion as to what the hell everyone was doing there, and while I expected her to be super overwhelmed, she was generally in her own little world and un-phased by the crowd. She actually spent the majority of the time going up and down the stadium stands and was pleased with that!
In fact, when it was my turn to go up on stage to speak (while Ian hid off-stage - he is so shy at these events!), Luca came up on stage and put her hand on her hip and looked out at the crowd like so:
Everyone laughed which made her smile for everyone and clap for herself.
Then she noticed that Mama was speaking and promptly interrupted me and wanted up!
Ian watched as I finished telling Luca's story.
I had requested that Lady Gaga's Pokerface play when I finished my speech, as Luca is obsessed with it. The group came through with the request, and Luca was pleased! Alyse took her off my hands and a bunch of students joined them on stage to dance with Luca.
After sharing our story, we were able to walk around some more, and hear some other patient stories. It was such a rewarding experience. And the even more amazing news - these students raised $306,735 for CNMC. So honored to have witnessed this event! And to all of the students and people involved, including those who donated, thank you!
We do not normally get so many pictures at such events, but the lovely and talented Maria was there.
To see photos of the rest of the event, click here.