Wednesday April 1, 2015

Bring on April... we might get to 70 degrees here in Rochester this afternoon.  Woo hoo! We've got Mayo Girls Golf practice on the agenda today and we're looking forward to it.

Erin is back in the fold after a cruise that exceeded her expectations.  They had good weather and lots of fun.  Grandma and Papa enjoyed their time with Erin and said she was a delight.  Erin said the highlights were swimming with the dolphins and playing beach volleyball.

Erin also met a group of teens on board and they spent a lot of time together.  There were activities specifically for teens, and while they all were reluctant to sign up because they thought it would be "lame", the teen club cruise director told them to give it a chance.  Erin was glad she did.

She met kids from Miami and Canada and Ohio.  Boys and girls all between the ages of 13 and 16.  They played games together on the ship, had a teen dinner one night and spent their last night having a pajama movie party.  With no cell service or wifi, they got to just hang out and talk.  What a concept!

Gwen and Chuck enjoyed watching Erin interact with the other kids.  We are glad they got to see Miss E in action, mature and social and engaging.  Dan and I are so grateful to Grandma and Papa for giving each grandkid this experience.  We are lucky to have generous people in our lives.

There have been many reminders lately to enjoy each day.  If you didn't catch 60 Minutes on Sunday night, look it up online.  Reporter Scott Pelley did a feature on brain tumor treatment and the new innovation of immunotherapy to treat cancer.  While the study they profiled is one at Duke University, this is the same type of research being done here at Mayo Clinic by the "Shannon Group".

This research is so important.  New ideas are needed to improve treatments.  I've been in contact with two families recently who each have a child diagnosed with DIPG, just like Shannon.  I try to offer support and a little guidance, only giving them what they ask for.  Each family must choose their path and how to spend the time they have left with their children.  My heart aches for them.

Having Erin take her 13th birthday trip makes us reminisce about Shannon's trip as well.  She was sick that summer, but she was determined to build up strength and go on her adventure.  I'll be damned if she didn't do just that.

We continue to be inspired by Shannon - to live with purpose, and to enjoy what's right here, right now.  We carry her with us always, even to the Bahamas...