Okay, here’s the super amazing story I wanted to share with you. I still cannot believe this happened!
You may recall that I recently mentioned Pink Night, an event held every October, sponsored by Conway High School Lady Cat Volleyball coaches and players.
I was shocked to learn in late August that I had been chosen as the recipient for this amazing event.
Equally as special, this year, the CHS dance team joined with the volleyball team and those dancers and volleyball players (and their coaches and parents) made this night extraordinary!
501 Life, a magazine published and circulated in Central Arkansas, covered Pink Night in their October issue. You can read the article here for more details.
Also, our local newspaper published a story about Pink Night this weekend. You can read that here.
For those who do not live in Conway, or did not see either article circulate on Facebook this weekend, I want to share with you just how special this night was to our family.
For almost two months I watched literally hundreds of people, many of whom I didn’t even know, work so very hard to make this night possible. My family and I have been so humbled and honored by the efforts of these hardworking girls, their parents, their coaches, the faculty and staff of Conway Schools, friends (from near and far), local business owners, the outstanding ladies on the Pink Night committee, led by Tammy Solberg, and so many more, who have all generously given their time and resources to make Pink Night 2016 a reality.
Specifically, I want to thank CHS Lady Cat assistant volleyball Coach Andrea Fournier, who has given countless hours to this cause for eight years. She does this just because she wants to make a difference in her community, and teach her volleyball girls how to do the same
Also, I want to thank Sonya Stephens, CHS dance coach, who joined efforts with Coach Fournier to involve the dance team this year. (Maddie is privileged to be a CHS dancer under the leadership of Coach Stephens.)
And I want to thank all of you who donated an item for the raffle or silent auction, gave monetarily, worked at the event, bought and/or helped sell any of the over 4,000 raffle tickets sold, purchased one of the 562 Pink Night shirts sold this year, or prayed for me and my family.
It has been absolutely surreal to be a part of this event and watch this exceptional community come together and rally around our family.
I want each of you who were a part of Pink Night to know something very important.
You have done more than bring awareness to a devastating disease that takes mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, and friends away from those who love them.
You have done more than just inspire those around you as they watched you sacrificially give your time and resources, even when you didn’t have to, even when you might not have even known me.
You have done more than just make your school and/or your community stand out as one of the most generous and compassionate in all the world.
You have done more than just sell a raffle ticket, buy a raffle ticket, contact a local business, donate an item, given money, purchase a Pink Night shirt, or decorate the arena.
You have done more than just help ease some of our burden as we walk through this daunting fight again.
You have quite possibly saved my life.
A few days before we received the call that I had been chosen as the recipient of Pink Night 2016, we traveled to Boston for a second opinion from an Inflammatory Breast Cancer specialist. We learned that I really only had one option if I wanted treatment locally, and if or when, that option didn’t work, any other possibilities would require travel, most likely to Boston, for a clinical trial.
The Thursday after consulting with my doctor in Boston, I had an appointment with my oncologist in Little Rock. He told us what my only local option entailed, (it is the oral medication that is currently working very well, and we are praying and believing it continues), and then he gently explained that he concurred with Dr. Beth Overmoyer from Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston; if Plan A didn’t work, my best hope would be to participate in an immunotherapy clinical trial in Boston.
In the hours after that appointment, I alternated back and forth in a cycle of peace, then worry, then peace, then worry.
My mind was frantically trying to figure out how I was going to travel to Boston if my oral medication didn’t work. I was over-thinking and worrying, when I should have been praying and trusting.
I was using my very limited, finite mind, and I could not figure it out. Can you relate? A situation arises and immediately you stress yourself trying to come up with a plan, maybe even try a few things that do not work, and sometimes it makes the situation even worse. Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this.
(I can think of a few of our heroes in the Bible who did this. Read the account of Hagar and Ishmael in Genesis 16. That story is a perfect example of trying to come up with a our own plan instead of trusting God to make it happen.)
That Thursday was a self-induced day of stress and worry for me, despite Patrick constantly telling me to give it to God and rest in His peace.
Easier said than done, but I knew Patrick was right, and I could clearly see he had a calm peace only God could give.
Then early that evening I got a phone call…
At first I protested, not feeling like I should be considered for something as special and sacred as Pink Night. However, after I ran out of reasons I should not accept this honor (which ultimately turned out to be God’s plan for our situation), I got very honest with Maddie’s dance coach, Sonya Stephens, who was the one who called to tell me I had been selected as this year’s recipient.
I told her about my oncologist visit that morning and how I had cycled through faith, doubt and worry all day. “I believe this could be the miracle that you need Tina,” she said. “At the very least, it could be a start. I’m sure enough will be raised that would take care of a couple of trips to Boston if you end up needing to go there.”
I don’t think Coach Stephens, Coach Fournier, or I could have imagined at that time what God would do through the efforts of so many who gave so much on this very special night.
Please know this, you have done so much more than raise money for my continuing treatment.
You have given me an opportunity to continue to be a wife to my husband, a mother to my children, a daughter to my parents, and a sister to my three sisters.
You have also given me the inspiration and desire to spend the rest of my life paying it forward.
How do I say thank you for that?
Although I have tried very hard to articulate how grateful we are to all of you who have prayed for me and/or had a part in this unforgettable night, mere words cannot fully convey the love, appreciation, and admiration we have for you precious people.
God has used you to help extend my life and be here for the ones I love.
And you know what?
I can’t even pretend to be calm about this; frankly, I am just freaking out over here!
Maddie filmed and edited a video of Pink Night, and I want to share the fun and excitement of that special night with you.
Also, I’ve included a video of a very special performance the dance team surprised me with that night. (And yes, it made me cry.) I love watching my Maddie dance, and this will probably always be one of my favorites!
I hope you enjoy the highlights of Pink Night 2016.
So much love to you all!