I was blown away by the surprise that my big brother and sister-in-law cooked up for my third and final j-pouch surgery. In fact, I still can’t believe it!
I have been trying to find the right way to explain the overwhelming gratitude I have been experiencing since the eve of my surgery. I know this sounds extreme, but honestly the widespread generosity that I have received truly restored my faith in humanity. In a time when the evening news consists of senseless violence and tragedy after tragedy, I am reminded that people are inherently good and the horrible things that make the news only do so because they are exceptions to the rule and are shocking to the average person. So now I want to share a story with you that deserves recognition.
On the eve of my final surgery, I was talking with my sister, Mattie, at her apartment in Chicago about how I didn’t think that my brother would make the 3 hour trip up this time around. I said something along the line of “It’s my third surgery, how long can I expect people to make a big deal out of it.” Little did I know my brother was not only planning on making the drive up to see me, he and my sister-in-law, Sarah, had ordered and distributed t-shirts to friends and family to show their support for me. I was shocked when I logged onto FaceBook that evening to see a photo of my brother, Dan, and Sarah wearing t-shirts with my face on them!! As I was looking at that photo I got a notification for a photo of my nephew, also wearing my face and showing off his muscles! At that point I thought it was just a small family thing, and I was so touched that I teared up a bit. Then, a photo from NY popped up. It was a close friend of my cousin, Jane, whom I had only met once (love you, Doug) and I realized it was much bigger than I expected!! After that photos started coming in from Seattle to Louisiana and Portland to South Carolina (and I understand that Dan had to make two additional t-shirt orders after my surgery because more people wanted to show their support for me)!
I want to publicly thank everyone who purchased a “MaryStrong” t-shirt. The shirts were beyond anything I could have imagined, but then my brother handed Kyle and me an envelope with the proceeds from the t-shirts and extra donations. I mentioned that I teared up when I saw the photos, well at this point I was full on crying. We used the money to cover food, gas, and parking while in chicago, but had a little left over. I am excited to announce that Kyle and I are going to use the remaining funds to empower sick and disabled children through the TinySuperheros organization. Also, I want to thank everyone who has shown me support in any way, be it through your thoughts and prayers or just a like on FaceBook. I appreciate it more than you will ever know.