Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Today we head home - we're sad to go but I guess we have to return home! We had a truly wonderful time and we meet some really awesome families from New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Missouri, Maine and DC just to name a few. Our kids have made some wonderful friends. These children and their families are truly inspiring and their spirits are amazing. The folks we met from the Children's Miracle Network were some of the nicest people we have ever met and the work they do for all of us is just amazing. It was such a pleasure to meet everyone. We would like to thank Delta and our flight crews. Delta provides all the flights for the Champions Program which is great. We would also like to thank Walmart / Sam's Club - without them and their fundrising efforts, this program would not be possible. We want to give a final thank you to the Children's Miracle Network who made this all possible for us. Their efforts and support of all the Children's Hospitals across the country are greatly appreciated. We have been receiving medical treatment at a Children's Miracle Network for over 7 years now and they have provided us with excellent treatment and support. We can't thank all of these wonderful supporters for all they have done and continue to do for us and the 17 million other children they treat every year.
Today was the big day - we went to the White House to meet the President! We walked over to the White House together was one big group. Once we made it through security, we walked into the White House. Once in the hallway, we were met by David Archuleta from American Idol Fame - my kids were so excited to meet him. They could name every kid show he's been on! He was so very sweet and he greeted every family that came through. We were able to tour the library and sitting room - we even got to used the President's elevator. Once we made our way upstairs, we toured the State Dining Room, State Ballroom, Red Room, Blue Room, Green Room and the entry Hallway - it was amazing! After we toured the White House, the Champion kids lined up on bleachers to meet the President. They had to wait a little while to see the President so David sang "Lean on Me" to the kids. We had an actual sing-a-long in the White House! The President was awesome! He let the kids ask him questions and then he sat among them for a group photo. Evan sat next to him in the group photo! He shook hands with the kids and then shook hands with the families standing by. It was so awesome that he would take time out of his day running the country to meet with these Champion Kids! After our visit to the White House, we went to the Nationals Baseball Game for our farewell party. Walmart's employees were there again and they made a tunnel for the kids to run through as they announced them. It was awesome and the kids loved it! Each kid received an award from the Children's Miracle Network. Walmart's executives made an awesome speech and a Disney executive told us about the annual Children's Miracle Network Golf Tournament and our trip there scheduled for November! Disney even brought Mickey Mouse to meet the kids! David Archuleta sang the National Anthem and Zach, Champion from Idaho, got to pitch the first ball of the game and the Nationals won the game! It was a truly awesome, unforgettable day!
Today the Champion Kids had their photos taken in front of the Capital - It was great! After the photos at the Capital, we had a luncheon at the Capital with our Senators. Senator Udall from New Mexico was presiding over the Senate so he couldn't make it to the luncheon but I guess he had a good excuse! His staff did come down and meet with us and gave Evan a personal note from the Senator which was very cool. We had lunch with Frankie, Champion from New York, and his family. They were really nice. Evan was asked to give an interview for our local News Station which aired later that night - he was very excited about that! He was also excited to find out that the microphones in the Senate Hearing Room where we had lunch were live. He turned one on and started to talk to the very full room - thank goodness security didn't come for us! After lunch we had some free time so we went back the finish the Natural History Museum and visited the National Archives. We saw the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We also took a walk through the Sculpture Garden across the street from the Archives. We had dinner with my Aunt who lives in DC and then took the kids back to the ESPN Zone to play games. Another great day!
This morning we attended a Welcome Breakfast at the ESPN Zone and it was awesome! This was the first time we got to meet the other Champion Kids and their families. We were greeted by cheering Walmart employees as we entered the ESPN Zone. Evan "hi-fived" them all on his way in! Miss America had breakfast at the table next to us - she took pictures with all the kids and sang "The Colors of the Wind" for everyone. Mark Wills, Country Singer, also came and sang to the kids. Walmart's executives also came and spoke about their current campaign to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network. Walmart has raised over $15 million with their current campaign in just 6 weeks! After the presentations, the kids played video games. Moira, Evan's sister, played ice hockey with Miss America - Moira won and she was so excited! After the ESPN Zone party, we went on a bus tour of DC with the other families. We went to the Lincoln, Jefferson and Vietnam Monuments. After the bus tour, we went to the Air and Space; Natural History and American History Museums. We had a great day!
We departed for our Champions Across America DC Trip on June 6th from Albuquerque on Delta. The flights into DC were great. When we arrived at BWI airport, the flight crew welcomed Evan as the Champion Child on the plane and everyone on the plane clapped for him. Once we exited the gate, all the people in the gate area also clapped and cheered for Evan. It was so great and touching. Evan was so excited! We stayed at the JW Marriott in downtown DC and it was absolutely beautiful! We would like to thank Delta for the wonderful flights and the JW Marriott for the wonderful accommodations!