"Our Little Trooper"

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

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Visit from Ranae Holland from Finding Bigfoot: "Scientist, Hugger, Hero"!

This week, Rowan had another HUGE surprise visitor...Ranae Holland from Animal Planet's show, Finding Bigfoot.  She called Rowan one day last week, and asked if it was okay to come visit him.  Just like when Bobo had called a few days before, Rowan was completely blown away.  He was so nervous, he said he would save his questions until she got there.  And yesterday it happened!

I met Ranae at the check-in desk and we walked to Rowan's room, but he didn't know that's where I went, so he was completely surprised when she entered the room and pulled the curtain back.

They met, hugged, and then sat and chatted for a while at first...

Then she brought out the most amazing surprise...a thermal imaging camera.  She wanted him to see the type of equipment they use on their outings.  It was so cool! 

We even solicited the assistance of one of the CNAs, who Ranae asked to play the role of a juvenile Sasquatch, while she and Rowan used the thermal imaging camera to find him.  He played along perfectly, and we all had a blast.

After that, Rowan asked Ranae if she wanted to do one of his laps with him. She graciously gowned up and obliged.

Rowan got a little tired half way around, so he stopped at his favorite window, the one with the best view, and sat down with Ranae.  Here, they talked some more and he asked her the only real Bigfoot questions he had for her.  Knowing that she was the skeptic on the show, he asked her "was there ever a time or a moment that you 'almost' believed?" or "when were you ever like...'wait a minute, maybe that really is a sasquatch' "?


I will cherish all of these photos forever...Rowan, sitting down in his robe and light-up slippers, with one of the stars of one of his favorite shows ever.  He has watched it since it began, 6 years ago.  This was truly a dream come true.

Back in the room, they had more in depth conversations, about what he believed, what she believed, what some other people believed, etc.  I distinctly remember Ranae asking Rowan: "What is Science?"  Rowan thought hard for a moment and then answered hesitantly: "People trying to figure things out?"  She told him, "Yes, exactly!" and went on to explain that Science wasn't black and white for man, scientists were human and had not figured every single thing out yet, they did not know the right and wrong answer for everything, it was trial and error, research, etc. but that is part of what she enjoyed the most.  I added that it was kind of like the clinical trial Rowan was just a part of.  Unfortunately, it did not work out as expected for Rowan, but they would learn so much information from his experience, and would be able to make even more medical advances for others because of that information.  It didn't mean that they had been wrong to try it.  It was all just part of the learning process. I think it was a good lesson for him, and a great reminder for us all.

Ranae gifted Rowan with some awesome gifts.  A postcard signed by all four members of the show, and a t-shirt for him and one for Ian, also signed by all members of the show.

But the biggest gifts she gave him was an awe inspired smile, a hug (and she's a really great hugger!), and most of all, she became one of his heroes...and mine. One definition of a hero is "Someone who sees something that needs to be done and does it no matter the cost to them selves."  Ranae must be a very busy individual, and she must get lots of emails and requests from fans of the show.  Yet she still took time out of her day to come spend an hour and a half with Rowan, at a very unglamorous place, with zero recognition or fame.  She was required to register at the desk, walk a quarter mile back and forth through the hospital, gel in and out of Rowan's room, don a lovely isolation gown as they walked outside the room, etc.  But she not only did that...she did it with enthusiasm, compassion, and tender loving care.  She constantly asked me, "Is this ok?" (about getting close to him, or handing him things), "Is there anything I should be sensitive about?", "Rowan are you getting tired?", "Rowan, let me know if you need a break, and I can come back anytime." etc. 

And with that, they said their goodbyes...but not without a few epic photo ops first:

(thinking faces)


(crazy faces)

(giant hugs)

(and super secret pinky promises)

I simply cannot say enough about the good that this visit did Rowan (and I), or the goodness of Ranae's heart.  This visit wasn't just a visit from a celebrity on one of his favorite shows.  It became a reminder that there are so many good people out there, who are not just worried about their own interests, but that will take precious, priceless time out of their own busy schedules...for one boy...one sick little boy, who likes to look for Bigfoot when he is out of the hospital.  Rowan beams when he tells his doctors and nurses about Ranae's visit, he even told the transport personnel on the ambulance today as he went to UW for radiation mapping.  He told me tonight, "She said I could call her any time, and that she wants to come back and hang out whenever I am in the mood...that's like she's actually my friend now, right?" 

Yes Rowan, I do believe she is now your friend.

Thank you Ranae, from the bottom of our hearts for your selfless acts.

Thank you Tanya and Khale for initiating this meeting.

Thank you Animal Planet for this show, Finding Bigfoot, which Rowan loves.

Thank you Ranae, Bobo, Matt and Cliff for hosting it, and for signing Rowan's gifts.

Thank you God for awesome reminders of the good in this world!

And I can't forget...thank you Tito for playing the role of 'juvenile sasquatch" in Rowan's room this week.


  1. Dear Carrie and Rowan. You two do not know me but I knew Brian when he was just a baby. I was a bridesmaid for your Grandma Judy when she and Grandpa Caleb married. I have a grandson, Jack, who is 10 years old, too. My prayer for you and the whole family is for Rowan to be healthy enough to look for Big Foot. For Rowan to be healthy enough to get into mischief. Comfort, blessings and love from Texas.