"Our Little Trooper"

"Our Little Trooper"
"Let me live, that I may praise you!" Psalm 119:175

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Rowan representing Jalene at the "TOMS Style for Sole Event" sponsored by UIW Student Athletes

Some days, Rowan really does get to do some pretty cool things.  Today was one of those days for sure!  Student athletes from the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio provided plain canvas TOMS shoes and paint supplies today, and the Child Life staff from Methodist Children's Hospital invited frequent flyer patients from the hospital to the 1st ever "TOMS Style for Sole" Event.  Each child had a pair of shoes in their size, waiting for them.  They got to paint their pair of shoes however they wanted, and take them home.  It was so much fun!

Rowan had no idea what to expect at first...but he was excited that there would be other kids from clinic and the hospital there.  He was also feelin' good because this morning he picked out his Team Jalene T-shirt, his dog tags and his cross from his friend Briana.

They had a pair of TOMS in Rowan's size, waiting for him, and he chose his paint colors.

Orange, Yellow and Blue...

Then he got to work creating his masterpiece.

As Rowan started painting, his design idea started coming together...and what a great story there was behind his color choices.  His favorite color is orange, so he started with that in the front.  Then he wanted to use yellow to represent Jalene and her battle with brain cancer.  He said the blue was to match his blue eyes:)  He decided it would be cool to mix some of Jalene's yellow with his orange, for the second panel, and then some of her yellow with the blue too, for the third panel back, so there was "a little bit of Jalene in all of it".

Then came my favorite part.  Rowan said he wanted to do solid yellow on the back panel because it showed that Jalene was "watching over him", and that she "always had his back".

I think that idea was beautiful, heartfelt and perfect...and that Jalene would love it:)

This whole experience was so much fun! And of course, Rowan made it even more meaningful with his big heart, precious explanations, and his out-of this-world love for Jalene.  

And the end result was one pretty cool pair of TOMS...

...which Rowan was very proud of.  He said that they would "sell for $200 on ebay, or $2000 if people knew he made them in Jalene's memory":)

The event was more than just kids painting shoes though...MUCH more!

Rowan got to see a few of his friends from clinic, and to meet a few new kids, as well as all of the UIW volunteers...plus there were a lot of amazingly unique shoes to check out...


It was a great turn out for a first ever event, and it went so well that I heard they plan on doing it again next year, which is great news!


These group photos I took, show just how many amazing University of Incarnate Word Athletes were there today.  They held fundraisers to purchase the shoes for the patients and some of their siblings, and then showed up today to set up, clean up, and assist the kids with their shoe painting projects.  We cannot thank them enough for this wonderful day!

What a beautiful bunch of student athletes, with even more beautiful hearts!

Thank you UIW!

Two of my most cherished photos from the day are these two...

...and I'll tell you why...

The first photo is of Rowan with a young lady who has spent more than her share of time at Methodist Children's Hospital, yet she gives back to the current patients there now.  She arranged for Mickey and Minnie to bring goodie bags that she made, to Rowan and the other patients, just this past Valentine's Day, while he was hospitalized there at MCH.

The second photo is of a girl we just met today.  She also spends lots of time at MCH and getting her own infusions.  Her mother approached me today because her daughter wanted her picture taken with Rowan.  Why?  Because on some of her previous stays in the hospital, she has received gift items with Rowan's foundation's name on them.  This inspired her to give back too, and now she donates items for patients and their parents in the hospital too!

So humbling, and amazing, to see God at work in these children, who endure so much themselves.  What a beautiful circle of giving they have created.  It brings tears to my eyes.  When they could be feeling sorry for themselves, for all that they don't get to do because of their illnesses, for all they miss out on because of their hospitalizations, or even their loss of limbs...yet they decided to turn the bad into good, and to give back to other patients like themselves.  This is what God wants of all of us, to be like these special kids.  Rather than complain or feel sorry for ourselves, we should turn our focus on others, to keep things in perspective. 

Ladies, so nice to be with you both today.  Thank you for what you do for others!  Rowan will keep doing it, just like I hope you continue to do, and who knows how many more people you 3 will inspire!  God bless you all!

And finally, this picture seems like a great way to close this post...

We might all be just one person, but if each of us help even one other person...the ripple effect that begins reaches countless others...just as Rowan and I learned today.

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