Peyton’s Adventure :: Part 3

You know those moments in life where you are totally and completely stopped in your tracks?  I had one of them last week.  There I was, standing in the waiting room at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center, surrounded by gobs of people and with so much energy and excitement filling the air.  To my right were dozens of local media reps – with their shiny cameras and stiletto heels, and to my left were families that reminded me so much of my own – only while mine were at school, their kiddos were fighting the absolute biggest battles of their young lives.  And then there was me.  The slightly awkward and over-emotional mama gripping her cracked iPhone, wearing flats, and wiping tears of admiration and awe from the corners of her eyes.

Over the past few months, I’ve had the absolute pleasure of introducing you to the courageous and beautiful Peyton, who is currently battling acute lymphocytic leukemia {ALL}.  Through this series, we have been able to share her powerful story from diagnosis to where she is today.  And we have even give you a glimpse into her hopes and dreams and the amazing adventure that lies ahead.  But to see it all come to fruition there in that waiting room at Texas Children’s just about brought me to my knees.

Peyton's Adventure - 2.1

You see, our partners at Northwestern Mutual will once again be the presenting sponsor of the Rose Bowl Game. The theme of this year’s Rose parade is Find Your Adventure, and they are dedicating its float design to Peyton’s greatest adventure and dream – to see the performances of the distinguished ballet companies of the world.  And on this morning, they presented Texas Children’s with a check for $25,000 to continue funding childhood cancer research, and they finally unveiled the absolute stunning design that their visionary team had put together just for Peyton.  And y’all.  Just the rendering is absolutely breathtaking.

Peyton's Adventure - 2.3

So after all of the perfectly posed photo opps and once the crowd started to disperse, I had the overwhelming privilege to sit down with Peyton and her mom to hear all about the float directly from the star herself.  Now, I could ramble off all of the most beautiful words I know, and I could go on and on trying to piece together the details I remember from that day.  But nothing I type could possibly compare to hearing Peyton describe the float herself.  So excuse my wobbly camera skills {since I was probably still dabbing the corners of my eyes}, and witness as Peyton explains how her hopes and dreams are coming to life in this beautiful and great and amazing adventure…

After our chat, I patted Peyton on the arm and gave her sweet mama a great, big hug.  Then, I walked to the other side of the room, and before walking out of those doors, I left a piece of myself to ride on that float as well.  Everyone at the unveiling that morning was asked to sign a vial that will be used on the float with the names of friends and loved ones they wished to honor.  So of course, I did.  And I cannot wait to see the Northwestern Mutual float boldly and proudly on display next month in the Rose Parade.

Peyton's Adventure - 2.2

“And so…the adventure continues.”

Please Note :: We can’t wrap up this post without giving a BIG shout out to Northwestern Mutual for graciously sponsoring this series and for all that they are doing to spread awareness and provide support for childhood cancer.  We are so proud to call them our partners!

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