Monday February 2, 2015

If one of our hopes is that Shannon is remembered, then this weekend should have filled our cups.

The final weekend of the Shannon Cup brought 20 teams to Rochester, girls ranging in age from 8 to 13.  We spoke with many of the teams, and really connected with the Rochester girls.  They are carrying Shannon's legacy forward.  They wanted to hear stories about Shannon and they wanted us to watch them play.

They taped their sticks and helmets and painted their faces in lime green.  They wrote Shannon's name on their sticks.  They skated their hearts out.

Nothing is cuter to us than seeing a bunch of girls running around the rink in their new Shannon O'Hara Foundation sweatshirts.  Thank you to all the parents who shelled out money for your kids to get some new Shannon swag!  It was a hugely successful weekend as we raised over $6000.  That money will fund the scholarships we will give out in two weeks.  Amazing and humbling...

During the 10A championship game yesterday, Dan and I were cheering like it was our own child out there on the ice.  While the Rochester team lost in overtime, it was a great day.  Seeing those kids work together and give full effort was wonderful.  Connecting with those parents made us feel good about our message and our desire to make a difference in Shannon's memory.

I heard one mother tell her daughter - "maybe someday you'll be applying for the Shannon scholarship."  How cool is that?

It's also a relief.  I lay awake at night worrying about how to sustain this long term.  What will constitute a success for the SOF?  Can it survive my lifetime?  I am pouring my heart and soul and time into making this work and Dan, Erin and I show up and share our story whenever possible.

The Shannon Cup has become a wonderful vehicle for us to expand our reach as each year, new girls are introduced to Shannon's story.  I guess that gives me hope that we can continue to carry the work of the foundation.

Today, we are exhausted from being on all weekend, connecting with people and watching a dozen hockey games... uff da...

Our Shannon stuff carries on as we are busy reading this year's scholarship applications.  Less than two weeks now until we award this year's recipients.

Hockey and the work we do with these kids and the scholarship process is a huge part of Shannon's legacy.  The other piece - the brain tumor research - is also on our minds this week.

I did an interview last week along with Dr. Richard Vile, and our local Fox affiliate will be running a story Wednesday.  Research they are doing on Shannon's cells right here at Mayo Clinic is showing promise and heading into the next phase.  What if someday treatment is different for DIPG kids because of what they learned from Shannon's cells?  I can't even fathom that, but I guess it's ok to dream.

So, I hope you can catch Shannon's Story, Wednesday night on the 9pm Fox47 Newscast.  If nothing else, you'll get to see her big brown eyes and sweet smile again, if only for a moment...