Sunday, June 4, 2017

Gloves for Grace

It takes more than a little rain to keep us from raising more awareness for INAD, this time, hundreds of miles from Montgomery County.

The inaugural Gloves for Grace event was planned for Saturday, May 20, at Elmwood Park High School near Chicago, and the girls and I had the chance to head north to meet the team and head coach, Dylan Mack, who has become part of our family over the past few years.

Hanging out with the Vosses on Pizza Friday.
It started back in December, when we were in Washington DC for my brother's promotion ceremony at the Pentagon. Dylan is married to my brother's wife's sister, and we have been blessed to get to know them at family functions. Since Kyle writes high school sports for our paper and Dylan coaches both high school softball and football, the two got to talking at one of the parties about all kinds of things sports related.

Grace was all smiles when she got to meet the Elmwood Park Tigers.
At one point, Dylan mentioned to Kyle that he was interested in hosting a Grace event at his school. Emily's entire family has been so supportive of A Grace-Filled Journey since even before we knew Grace had INAD. And it was wonderful to have the chance to see them again.

Grace got her picture taken with the whole team!  

Grace loves her new autographed softball.

It was the beginning of May, and Dylan's wife, Malory, emailed to ask me about the event they were planning. She said not to worry if we couldn't come and that they would take lots of photos.  As luck would have it, that was probably the only weekend in May that I didn't have anything to cover.  Kyle on the other hand had regional softball and baseball championships to cover, and didn't get to join us.

So, the girls and I made it an adventure with Grandma and Grandpa Galer.  We headed north to Lombard on Friday after Grace was finished with physical therapy.  Charlotte slept nearly the entire three-hour drive north and Grace watched Moana on her DVD player.  We met up with Emily's mom and dad for pizza Friday, and then headed back to the hotel.

Mommy and Grace checking out her new ball and reading all the names.
After storming all evening and projected rain in the forecast all day on Saturday, Malory called me first thing in the morning to tell me the game had been cancelled.  However, the team still wanted to meet Grace!  We met them at the school, where the softball team and most of Emily's family was there to greet us.  Grace had lots of smiles for the girls, and they gave her an Elmwood Park Tigers softball shirt and a ball, signed by the whole team.  Kyle and I are still working on a display case for Grace's autographed balls, and this one will be such a great addition!

The Voss and Galer families together to #beatINAD.
Grace Lou with the Voss grandkis (Zoe, Arlie, Lincoln and Mila)
 We made sure to take lots of photos with the team and tell them a little bit more about our story.  They were all wearing purple Gloves for Grace shirts that said #beatINAD on the back.  Even Emily's nieces and nephews had little purple shirts, and there was even one for Charlotte!

Since the game got rained out, we enjoyed lunch with Emily's family before heading home, but we definitely missed having Johnny and Emily there with us to celebrate.

Although the game got rained out, the home run derby was played on Monday!
Part of the Gloves for Grace event was a home run derby that was originally scheduled after the softball game. It got postponed until Monday, and we didn't get to stay, but Malory sent me plenty of photos. She also texted me to tell me they raised $750 for INAD research and were hoping to raise even more next year.

Snapshots from the home run derby.
The team helped to load the pitching machine.
Coach Dylan takes a swing in the home run derby.
We are constantly amazed and humbled by the generosity of people that we know and those that we don't.  These girls and their families at Elmwood Park High School had never met us or heard or story before Gloves for Grace, but they are now a special part of this Grace-Filled Journey.

Little fans make a big difference too!
Zoe helped out with the home run derby too!
Although INAD continues to steal so many of Grace's abilities, our journey will continue to raise awareness and funding for this terrible disease. And we will be forever grateful to each and every person along the way who helps us to #beatINAD.


No comments:

Post a Comment