The weather was unseasonably cold, but thankfully did little to stop the crowd of supporters. Liv had her own little cheering section (Kiki, Tasha and Syd, Taunya, the Dickmans, the Matosich's). And let me tell you, it meant the world to me to have them there. I can't really figure out why it was such a big deal to me, but it was and their support reduced me to a grateful puddle of tears.
After the opening ceramony was the survivor lap. Brandon hoisted Liv onto his shoulders, she waved, applauded, and hooray-ed the whole way. And rightly so.
See her up there like she's star of the show? This girl.
We were honored to walk the survivor lap with my sweet friend, Jenny, and her family. Her daughter also had retinoblastoma, diagnosed just months before Olivia. So much love I have for her, we are kindred because of our trials and nothing bonds people like broken hearts.
My sister-in-law, Taunya, got a luminary for Liv and had her friend's daughter decorate it. Without ever seeing a picture of Liv, this is what she came up with. We all about died. Absolute perfection.
As much as we wanted to stay, the cold night was just too much for Liv and I sent her home with Brandon to bed. I stayed and walked for several hours with Taunya. It was a healing and therapeutic night, one I look forward to repeating.
It was, and will continue to be, important to me that she participates in this event every year. Not just because of the cancer but because of ALL of it. Her whole life. I want her to know what she has been through. I want her to know what she has overcome. I want her to know she had incredible courage and strength at such a young age. I want her to know that she has what it takes to summon the courage again when the time comes. And it WILL come. And I want her to know and remember that she has the strength to endure.