Thursday, November 3, 2011

November 3, 2011: On the road again...


Angelique, Julian, and I depart for Minneapolis in the morning while Ali departs for school, then a weekend trip to grandma's!  We are attending Children's Cancer Research Fund's annual Dawn of a Dream gala dinner.  This is their flagship fundraiser that began 31 years ago as a way for some friends to support and honor their friends and the loss of their daughter.  Simple enough, right?

This is their story:

It Began with a Simple Request...

Katie HageboeckIn December 1979, Katie Hageboeck lost her 16-month battle with leukemia. She was only 13 years old. Before she died, Katie made a special request of her parents, Diana and Norm Hageboeck. She asked that Children’s Cancer Research Fund® be named as her memorial fund and that the money she had been saving for a new 10-speed bike be donated.
Diana and Norm did much more than donate Katie’s money. With the help of friends, they began organizing the first Dawn of Dream® benefit concert in 1980. The event, which was then held in 1981, raised more than $50,000 for Children’s Cancer Research Fund.
For our first 15 years, Children’s Cancer Research Fund raised funds for world class research at the University of Minnesota as part of the Minnesota Medical Foundation (MMF). Donors grew to 2,000 to 3,000 each year, and annual program spending on research and education grew to close to $1 million. In 1995, Children’s Cancer Research Fund became its own 501(c) 3.

...And Grew into Something Amazing

In 1999, Children’s Cancer Research Fund made the decision to take its inspiring mission to a national audience, and grow its donor base by investing in a national direct response fundraising program through direct mail. This resulted in a four-fold increase in funds raised in just 2/3 the time. Since then more than $50 million has been raised for cancer research, which resulted in an estimated $500 million in additional NIH funding for the researchers we support. An additional $21 million has been raised for patient support and education initiatives.

Angelique and I had the honor and privilege of having dinner with the Hageboecks when we were in MN in June, and it was THE most inspirational meal.  In the end, we're just parents who 1. fought tooth and nail for our children's lives and 2.  when that was no longer possible, fought tooth and nail to make all other children with the same condition's lives better.  I know we all fall into number one, but apparently not everybody falls into number two.  

Here's the best part, though... as parents, we are simply inspired by our own children.  Katie's request set in motion a tidal wave of events... and for me, watching Bella's strength, wisdom, and grace has set in motion a new wave of events... it may only be a ripple in the pond right now, but our promise to her is that it becomes a tidal wave.

I have the honor of being one of three guest speakers at this year's event, albeit a very short speech.  Nevertheless, I get to share Bella and PUCK with EVERYONE there, and as a proud papa, I am so grateful to share my family with this much larger family that has been giving of their time, talent, and treasure for decades now.  It really is an honor.


There is so much to get done before getting to bed tonight, but I have to tell you two short stories from the past 24 hours that illustrate God's Providence at work.  Remember the Providence Story of the Day? For those who followed this blog when Bella was born, you remember.  For those who have begun to follow this blog after August of 2009, during Bella's first 3 months of life, I blogged daily about witnessing God's Providence in action in our family's life.  This is the entire basis of my book, Bella's Blessings: a humble story of Providence.  All the stories are chronicled in it, and they are amazing.

Yesterday, I had the honor of playing graveside for one of my patients from the hospital.  When I first met her, I played Iz's version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on the ukulele.  When I did, the whole family became very tearful, and when I attempted to process with them, they were really quiet and wouldn't explain why they all got so sad.  I felt really bad that I had opened up these emotions and then wasn't able to process them, and felt like I really let them down.  

Lo an behold, on Monday I get a phone call from the hospital saying that this patient had died, and that the family asked if I could play at the funeral.  I left a message on an answering machine and didn't hear anything back.  Then at 10:30pm Tuesday night, I get THE voicemail.  The funeral is the next morning.  

The reason for the tears?

The patient - for the last TEN YEARS - has been telling her family she wanted THAT version of THAT song played at her funeral, and then this music therapist pops into her her room and plays it for her.  To them, it was God's gentle way of saying it was time.  

If the funeral had been on Tuesday or today, I wouldn't have been able to do it, but thanks to some wonderfully flexible coaching clients, I was able to be there at graveside, playing my uke, singing THAT version of THAT song... just as the patient had always wanted.

Well played, God!  

This morning, I had a patient who is literally missing half her brain after major brain surgery.  The doctors said she would never walk again.  The night after her surgery, she recalls that she heard God command her, "Rise up, my daughter, and walk."  So she got up in her hospital bed and started to get out of bed.  Unfortunately, no one had told her she was supposed to be paralyzed.  ;-)  The doctors came rushing in with the nurses genuinely proclaiming a miracle.  There was no "scientific way" that she should have been able to get out of bed.  Today, she drove herself to her treatment, and is a ball of light, joy, and energy, despite her circumstances, which she has quite a few of.  

She gets to share God's power every time she opens her mouth.  Talk about credibility!   She is missing a GIANT portion of her brain, and you can tell; her right temple is completely caved in, and you can see that there is some serious brain matter and skull missing, but it's not causing her to miss. a. beat.  

Folks, you can't mess with that.  That is a good old fashioned, real-deal miracle.  Because of her faith, everyday, she gets to tell others about it, and thereby bear witness to God's power.  She gets to bring God right into people's faces, and confront their doubts and fears head on.  She is so filled with gratitude for this opportunity, by the way.  

Circumstances don't dictate whether you feel blessed, cursed, or just stressed.  You do.  

God night.


  1. Love your God's Providence stories and Bella and Ali's picture.
    Have a good time in MN.
    Lots of love and blessings,

  2. Love the stories of the workings of God. What a blessing to the family that you played for at their loved one's funeral. You are such an inspiration and devoted guy. Enjoy your trip to MN and have a safe trip. I'm sure Ali loves to stay at Grandma's house. She is such a sweet and beautifil young lady. The picture of her and Bella is so precious, you can really see and feel the love. Lots of blessings to all.

    All Our Love;
    Myrna & Dwight, CA

  3. Awesome Tim. Go dazzle them with Beautiful Bella!!! She is looking at you so proud!