As I see everyone post their ‘best of’ from 2018 on social media, and listen to the clock ticking down to the end of the year, I can’t help but think about what an amazing year we’ve had in the McYong household. We owe such a debt of gratitude to many different people.
More on that a bit later. I’ll start with a quick wrap on all our holiday festivities…
Addison isn’t sure about Santa, even sending him a letter asking him if he’s real. But she still left out cookies, milk and carrots…and she didn’t question his existence after she received exactly what she wanted (and more): Mercury and Venus. Aaron and I have mostly been working on the non-stat days but still found time to squeeze in fun. The girls enjoyed Grandpa’s visit for Christmas, though I am clearly falling behind in my role as family documentarian because I realized after he left I didn’t get a single photo – though to be fair neither did Aaron.
So now on to the year that was…
First of all, a huge thank you to everyone who donated, rode up a mountain, bid on an auction item, bought chocolate, ate burgers and drank beer with us this year. You helped raise more than $10,000 for pediatric transplant research!!
What are we doing with some of those hard-earned dollars? We have just launched a new pediatric research competition with the Canadian Donation and Transplantation Research Program and we are supporting members of the pediatric transplant team at BC Children’s Hospital to attend the International Pediatric Transplant Association conference, held in Vancouver in May. This is our biggest year yet for event fundraising, which we would not have been able to accomplish without the generosity of so many businesses and individuals. We are really excited about what we can do together next year!
Addison’s wish trip in October was an incredible highlight for the entire family. (You can read the entire post, plus watch the videos HERE!) It’s hard to describe in words what it was like to see Addison’s reaction to meeting Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, but I think the post-trip effects have been equally as powerful. The girls are both so obsessed with space and David Saint-Jacques. We regularly check out videos and photos from NASA and the CSA to see what our ‘friend’ David and his astronaut buddies are doing on the International Space Station. Charlie wanted a rocket for Christmas. Addison asked for two planet stuffies to round out her solar system collection. She has been working hard on the Saturn V LEGO kit she received under the tree, along with her industrious (and very patient) assistant Daddy.
Addison’s teacher has also embraced this unique opportunity to bring space into the classroom. They even watched David’s Soyuz docking live in class and got creative making their own ISS models. The impact of Addison’s wish has touched many people. A huge thank you to the team at Children’s Wish Foundation for making Addison’s dream come true. Wishes really do work wonders!
And of course, last but not least, we are so very grateful for another year with Addison’s gifted heart, and another year of good health. She continues to be strong and healthy, actively participating in triathlon and jiu-jitsu, learning piano and reading non-stop. We have an amazing team at BC Children’s Hospital who works with us to try and balance the complications and issues of post-transplant life (including those awful anti-rejection meds!!) with real life, and the journey is made so much easier because we are surrounded by loved ones who we know we can count on.
None of this would be possible without the gift of organ donation. We were fortunate to see Felicia, our donor mom, twice this year – once when she and her girls came up here for the Canadian Transplant Games, and then in Las Vegas when she and I were asked to speak at a conference. We always think about Audrey and her gift of life.
So what’s ahead for 2019?? A lot more adventures with the girls, dealing with the tantrums of a terrible two year old (but that all changes when she’s three right??) and emotional seven year old, fewer visits to the lab for bloodwork (yeah!!), continuing the daily struggle of working full time and attempting to make healthy(ish) dinners, new memories to be made, the excitement of more travel, and another World Transplant Games!
Wishing you a healthy and happy 2019!
Elaine, Aaron, Addison and Charlie