Leading up to the Walk for Wyatt’s Warriors
, I was really consumed by ordering the hats, getting snacks for the kids and monitoring that beautiful red thermometer telling us we exceeded our goal and reached over $4000!!!!!
It wasn’t until the morning of the walk that it really hit me…
As I got our boys dressed in their walking clothes, packed the car and watched as our amazing friends and neighbours all gathered at our driveway, I was overwhelmed by the enormity of their gesture.
While all of these friends had given very generous donations, it was the act of waking up that morning, getting THEIR kids ready, packing THEIR cars and joining us on this walk in celebration and support of our Zackie, that truly demonstrated friendship. Our team put on their hats, poured their coffees, and we were off to the park as Zack’s Dream Team!
We met our family and more friends at the most spectacular venue- Heydenshore Park in Whitby (including a fully accessible park, marina, trails, etc.). It was along that beach that I met my email buddy, Wyatt’s aunt Laura for the first time. We got our shirts, balloons and gathered on the grass for a team photo. It was a moment I had been waiting for for several weeks, but it wasn’t until I saw our dear friend Michelle, her husband Chad and amazing Ben, that I was taken back to those first weeks at Sick Kids. Ben and Zack were roommates in the Cardiac Ward for over a week. Michelle and I would buy tea for each other, bought the boys their Halloween decorations for the cribs and we moved our rocking chairs close to talk about the wonder, fear and worry about the future of our two sweet boys.
I found it difficult to express my gratitude to the wonderful families who made up Zack’s Dream Team. No words could ever express how the shear act of them being there demonstrated a friendship beyond belief. We celebrated our kids birthdays, had bbq and drinks on the street- but this was an act of giving back that meant the world to our family. Paul and I were overwhelmed by the fact that these very busy families had chosen to spend their Sunday with us, raised money with us and cheered for our Zackie with us.
Our sweet niece Makayla was pushed in her wheelchair (listening to Beyonce all the way), while the littlest members (and Ty) took turns being pulled in wagons or pushed in strollers. My amazingly proud Mom and Dad hung out with Zackie and made the 5km look easy, while the kids walked on pure sugar rushes from all Ring Pops and candy. We finished that walk with a sense of having done something to not only give back to the place where Zackie was given his chance at life, but to inspire our children. The single greatest thing we can teach our kids is empathy and compassion for others. Learning to give back is one of the things that Paul and I work really hard to instill in our kids. Its not enough to talk about it, watch the programs on tv, and “like” a charity online. While the act of giving money is crucial, its not the only way to give. It is the DOING and the action in giving back that is the best way to teach charity to our kids. I truly can’t find a way to say thank you to all of you who sponsored our team helping us reach over $4000 for the Labatt’s Heart Centre at Sick Kids. Thank you to those who forwarded the email to build awareness of Congenital Heart Disease and especially thank you to those who took that walk with us.
The true measure of what we did, is in the eyes and face of our Zackie. During those 5km, we never lost sight of the fact that we were able to walk with our amazingly brave son, celebrate his victories and honour that he is still with us. While we cherish that fact with our whole hearts and hold him even closer- we won’t ever forget that Wyatt is no longer with his family, and that his short life allowed us to pass along a lasting lesson for all of us on Zack’s Dream Team.