(written by Eric Saarela)
The bowling fund raiser on Sunday was an enormous success!! Thank you to everybody who supported Kevin by contributing to the event. Kevin had a great time, and as many of you saw was full of energy. He enjoyed picking out the winning tickets for the raffles...I think he felt like it gave him some power or control, which is something he's sacraficed with his battle with medulloblastoma. Not only did we all have an exceptional time, but the money that was brought in was astonishing. Personally, I've always been a bit private if not reclusive, but the way several communities of people, some of which i've never met, have opened their hearts has been an incredible growth experience for me. Ron, Sue, Judy and the rest of the crew put forth so much effort. I want to give an extra special thanks to Judy Paczek. I had my speach all planned out, with a special thanks to her included, but speaking in front of 300 people turned out to be a daunting task, which unfortunately lead to me forgetting to publicly thank Judy or Kevin's mother Rachel (both of whom were a rehearsed part of the thank you). So, Judy your work will forever be appreciated. You're one of the most kind and selfless people I've come to know. I also planned on thanking Rachel for the enormous sacrafices she's made in being a constant presense for Kevin down in Memphis TN. None of this could have worked without your sacrafice and committment.
One of the most enjoyable parts of the bowling event was re-connecting with so many dozens of friends and ex-coworkers. As we get older we usually only keep a handfull of friends or so in our communicative circle. However, after seeing so many people I care about again, I regret not having kept better contact with so many of the extraordinary people I've been close to. Thank you all for attending.
Kevin and I will be returning in just shy of two weeks. Until then the objective is to eat as much as possible, so he can start his chemo off at a healthy weight. He's been with Rachel since the fundraiser on Sunday, so I'm eager to see how his appetite is over the next four days with me. Like Rachel, I too have so much trepadation with our return to Memphis. It's been so magical having Kevin home these past 2 weeks. Returning back to the world of MRI's, Spinal Taps, labs (blood drawn), and finally starting 5/23 chemotherapy. It has occurred to me that Kevin's current health is probably the best we're going to see him for quite some time. On the positive side though, I'm very optimistic that at the end of the day Kevin is going to make a grand recovery. He has the heart, courage, resiliancy, and stubborness so see this journey through. I look at him with great awe sometimes. His strength and courage makes it that much easier for me to be strong, and I suppose it's a full circle as the stronger I am the better for Kevin. I've been researching with great fervor, the upcoming chemotherapy process. I try to tempor my optimism with the reality that the treatment will be far from easy for all of us, especially kevin. I really don't think he has a grasp how tough high dosage chemo is going to be on his body. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, but we're only 1/4 of the way through the tunnel.
Everybody's support has been such an enormous booster to our attitude and optimism. Nearly 300 people in one bowling alley was an incredible accomplishment, and will forever be appreciated. It also served somewhat as a going away party for Kevin, Rachel and I. I plan on spending all of Kevin's inpatient time in Memphis with him at the hospital. At any rate, thanks again to everybody and we'll try to keep everybody posted for the rest of the journey.