On Saturday, the Illinois Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America had our annual gala, “A Little Night Music.” The gala benefits CCFA’s ProKiids, which funds programs like Camp Oasis and pediatric IBD research. This year, there were plenty of kids on hand to help drive the mission home.
I was like a proud teacher in the audience watching Chloe and Brooke share how they’ve given back to CCFA and CCFA has given back to them. You might remember Chloe as the tough little cookie who ran a half marathon with us in Napa. At just six years old, Brooke was a little nervous to speak to such a big crowd of adults. I was beaming when she gripped the microphone tightly and said, “Hi, I’m Brooke. I’m six. I was diagnosed with ulcerated colitis when I was two. My family takes Take Steps and Team Challenge every year.” (long pause where I held my breath) “Thank you for coming.”
They were precious, and wonderful, and all kinds of awesome.
At the gala, we also recognized a Distinguished Physician and Inspirational Youth for 2012. You can read their bios here. I was so proud that both of this year’s honorees were connected to Team Challenge! Dr. David Rubin ran with us as part of Team Hope in Napa last season, and was even smiling after he crossed the finish line.
But the proudest moment of the night? Listening to Inspirational Youth Kyle give his speech. I cried. I’ll admit it. Come on, the kid called me, our Executive Director, and a former Endurance Manager his “best friends” in the speech. How can you not cry at that?! I was in awe of Kyle’s poise and grace as he accepted his award and explained how much we all inspire him. That kid inspires me like crazy.
Hanging with these kids made me oh-so-grateful for my adult diagnosis and that much prouder to work for CCFA, where we raise money to help send them to Camp Oasis (a summer camp for kids with IBD that has medical staff), and keep on searching for better treatments and a cure.
When I left teaching and my nanny job, I was sad to think I wouldn’t get to hang out with cool kids and make an impact for them any more. I am so happy to realize that’s not true at all.
Tell me about dressing up and getting fancy. Or some cool kids you know. Or why you love your job. You know what? Tell me whatever you like.