Last Friday, we attended a Phoenix Children's Hospital fundraising event. We're on a list now, so we get called for things like this all the time. This one sounded fun.
PCH is building a brand new tower as an addition to their hospital. It's 11 stories high and has basically changed the Phoenix skyline. It's beautiful...and we got to go inside it!
This event was put on by the Walton family (as in the owns WalMart family) and is traditionally open to PCH's biggest donors. This year it was to celebrate the hope PCH brings to so many families by lighting a Christmas Tree outside the new tower, as well as officially lighting the building. This new tower has these cool LED lights that change color, as well as this rainbow light on what must be the top floor. You can see it from the freeway and it's spectacular. We were actually lucky enough to see a test lighting one night last month as we were driving by on the freeway, so we already had an idea of how amazing it looked.
We were asked to come an hour early (I had no idea why at the time...I just figured it was to give a lot of extra time to make sure we were all there and knew what we were doing.) Then we were ushered way off to a trailer because the donors didn't know we were there, we were going to be a surprise. See, the plan was to light the Christmas Tree while this little girl (who sings like an adult) sang a song. Then each of these PCH patients was to walk up on stage and hang a special ornament on the tree. And, it pretty much went like that...but it wasn't as spectacular as it sounds. The best part was that a girl named Carolyn, who has a rare disease where her bone marrow degenerates, told her story of spending Christmas quarantined in the hospital one year and how her family and the hospital staff went out of their way to make Christmas special for her anyway. And as she told her story and as they lit the tree, you could see the current hospital building in the background, with kids and parents standing in the windows watching and all their lights flickering on and off. It was as if they were having their own lighting celebration and we were all invited...instead of the other way around.
Once everything was lit, and everyone was done talking, we got to go inside the new building (just the lobby)...which was most of the reason I wanted to be part of this event. It was beautiful and shiny and sparkly. All along the walls, there is a strip of mirror at toddler height. So fun. And the elevator bay reminded me of the cruise ship we went on for our honeymoon. You can tell they spent a lot of time really making it beautiful (why didn't I take any pictures of it?! I don't know...silly of me huh?)
We walked around and admired the Christmas Trees they had inside, then we left before our child became too horrible. Her routine had been interrupted and she didn't like that instead of letting her go to sleep, we bundled her up and put her in the car. She screamed the whole way there. In fact, when we got there, there was valet parking (another wonderful feature of PCH that I take advantage of) and they thought we were in the wrong place and that we were looking for the ER! They kept directing and redirecting us, when really we just needed to stop and GET. HER. OUT! All that to say, it was good that we had over an hour to wait when we got there, because Sadie needed a nap! And she got one!! She was so out we had to WAKE HER when it was time to go! But by the time her and daddy had walked up and hung the ornament, she had listened to that little girl with the big voice sing, and she had gone inside where everything was bright and shiny and visually stimulating, she was ready to be done and back asleep.
The whole night seemed a little haphazard and unorganized and people kept apologizing to us for making us wait all the way far away in a trailer, it all seemed a little strange. Then I got an email late Sunday afternoon. We weren't the only surprise that was planned. Kurt Warner (retired AZ Cardinals Quarterback and recent Dancing with the Stars participant) and his wife were also supposed to come out on stage with us. And they had requested to spend that hour-long wait with us in the trailer visiting and taking pictures. Their family has a special needs child (I guess he's an adult now though) and are big supporters of PCH. But apparently at the last minute they had to cancel, leaving everything feeling disjointed and planned wrong.
Although I understand now why we waited where we did and for how long, I am SUPER bummed about not meeting Kurt Warner. I may have been more excited to see him than any of the children in that room. He is definitely one of my heroes and it would have been a great honor to hang out with him and his wife, who are wonderful people (so I hear). And the picture we would have taken with him, would definitely have been something worth framing and hanging in the living room. Someday, Kurt Warner...some.day.