Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gettin' muddy for a cause!


I should have known that the appointment would take a lot longer than I anticipated. This one always does. The little guy is quite an enigma in so many different aspects, and not seeing many (or really any) quite like him, our local doctors often try to soak up as much information as they can about him each time we visit. He's quite used to these long, arduous appointments, but he is still a 4 year old who gets a bit stir crazy from time to time.
In the midst of the seemingly endless conversation between me and his doctors about his life, a mischievous and ornery glint in his eye made me realize that Nate had reached that point where he was about to start bouncing off the walls. One of our favorite nurses poked her head into the room at the absolute perfect time, asking if her buddy needed a break and could take a walk with her. They know him so well...and seem to love him so much. These are just a couple of the many reasons why we love Shands Childrens and everyone associated with this hospital system.
He returned to the room some time later with a rejuvenated patience and arms completely full of toys and stickers to take home. I laughed as soon as I saw him and uttered the same phrase I have uttered countless other times we have been to doctor appointments and hospital visits: "My goodness Nate, they spoil you here!"
In the true definition of the word, Nathan is not really being "spoiled", but the numerous gifts, toys, stickers, crafts, games, and stuffed animals he has received from care givers associated with Shands over the past 4 years have made the hard times much easier for him to handle. IV pokes and blood draws are usually followed with trinkets or toys, enduring scary tests usually prompts a new stuffed animal, stickers are given at the end of vitals, and toys or games are given to him to help him endure the countless hours of sitting between 4 white walls during appointments while doctors try to figure out how to give him the best life possible. Most of these precious little gifts...gifts that are so big and rewarding to a little boy...are often made possible by donations to Shands Hospital through the Children's Miracle Network, whose funds are appropriated to "research, state-of-the-art medical equipment, patient education, and diversionary items". It is an organization that truly affects Nate and our family personally.
Over the past couple of months, we have been involved in a fund raising effort for the Children's Miracle Network, specifically donating all proceeds to Shands Children's Hospital. The fund raiser ends in a mud run...4 miles, 20 obstacles...a race that will make us push ourselves through pain and exhaustion in order to cross the finish line, much like a metaphor for children treated at Shands.
Our team name even stems from our many days spent with Nathan inpatient...Team Natester. You see, one of Nate's favorite nurses has always calls him "Natester" when he is there, and the name has stuck. The funny thing is that he doesn't like it when anyone calls him that outside of the hospital walls...its his "hospital name". We thought it was quite fitting to use this as our team name as well.

Thanks to the generous donations of others, Team Natester is currently the top fund raising team for this event. Seeing how many people have given so graciously to this cause has been quite humbling and exciting. If you desire to help Shands Children's Hospital and Team Natester, you can donate here or here


Thank you so much for your support!

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Translation: My name is Nate, and I love Shands Children's Hospital. Thank you for supporting Team Natester in the swamp dash and bash. Gettin' muddy for a cause!"

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