|Tyler's Aunt Cheri and Aunt Patty manning the front table|
|Alenna and Blake getting set up|
Our little ones - Lance, Billy, Lydia, Alenna and Blake had their tables set up. Duct tape purses, hot chocolate, bracelets that read "Keep Fighting Tyler", "Stay Strong Tyler", "Hope", etc lined the tables. And I cried.
ALL of the food was donated from various people...including salad, veggies, meatballs, pasta, sauce, desserts, ice cream, etc. There were 75+ baskets and auction items donated to the event to raise funds. Looking at all of them so neatly organized and given so freely made me...well, you guessed it...cry! Then there were piles of people coming in. I mean hundreds of people! We knew many of them, but certainly not all. These pictures don't do it justice because this was only the upstairs. There were more downstairs, I just didn't find a moment to snap a picture. People coming from everywhere. Family, close friends, friends of friends, people we've met in the ICU waiting room, people that didn't know us at all but have been reading the blog. It was so unbelievably overwhelming and we were all emotional about it.
When the evening started to wind down, our family sat around and enjoyed the feeling. We were so full of gratitude and for the first time in the last few weeks...we laughed and smiled and joked and stuck around and just hung out talking about how much love we had felt that night...outside of a hospital waiting room. It was a nice release. Again, I didn't have the opportunity to take too many pictures while we were sitting around, but here are just a couple.
I want to avoid writing specific names because there was so much generosity poured out over this event and I would be bound to leave someone off the list. But, I do feel we need a shout out for some that worked so hard to pull this thing off. First, Tyler's Papa Bill did an amazing job at coming up with the idea, promoting and selling tickets, and getting monetary and auction donations. And, Tyler's Uncle Don (who we've always referred to as the "social director" of the family) got auction items donated, organized the whole place, cooked the food and kept it coming (with a team of people). The entire family and some really close friends, worked so hard organizing, setting up, getting baskets together, cooking and running the show. We had so many compliments on how smooth things went and how organized it was even though there were hundreds of people around. We never even ran out of food for 400+ people. We cooked and went through every bit of 60 lbs of pasta! Whoa!
We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your prayers, time, effort, energy and donations. We are so very blessed. We raised a lot of money that will directly benefit Michelle and Tyler. Of course, Michelle didn't leave her son's side even for this event. I know she is grateful that you have made it possible for her to continue sitting at her son's bedside and not worry about bills or finding another job while this is going on with Tyler. That security is something that is irreplaceable. Thank you from Michelle, Tyler and the rest of us!
Much love (and in tears as I end this post),