Today is your birthday. If you were still with us, you would be 8 years old. As I write this, I realize this means that after this year, you will have spent more time away from us than with us. We still miss you every day. Your friends have gotten older. They are almost unrecognizable as they move up in elementary school. You never made it to Kindergarten. I still see you as a four-year-old preschool princess but your friends are going to be in third grade in September. That is difficult for me to comprehend. I sometimes try to imagine what you would look like as an eight year old.
When I think about how much we lost when you died, I also think about what you have inspired. In four years, we have given away over $60,000 to families who need our help. This money goes to kids just like you who need support in their time of need. Every week for the last year, we have also served meals on the 7th floor at MCV where you spent so much of your time in 2009. We have supplied almost 3000 meals in a year’s time. Now we are working with the Ronald McDonald House in Richmond to supply meals and entertainment for families as well.
|Butterfly Get Well Cards made by Troop 19|
There is more to the story than the work that CJSTUF does, though. You have inspired so many people to do good things in the world. You have inspired Girl Scout troops to make get well cards for kids in the hospital and volunteer their time to help other families. You have inspired hundreds of people to give donations, big and small, to our organization. Kids just like you save part of their allowance for us. Other children (and adults) dedicate their birthday or other special days to our organization so that friends will make donations instead of bringing presents. People often tell me that your story (our story) has inspired them to appreciate life more fully (even the yucky parts).
Do you remember Mr. Charlie “I Cry” Taylor who worked with your dad at WHAN Radio? He was the one who named you CJ the DJ when you tagged along in the afternoons to Roger’s radio show. Well, that nickname was the inspiration of our next big fundraiser. CJ the DJ’s Bluegrass (Mostly) Boogaloo is going to be a blast! It will be a full day of Bluegrass and Folk/Americana music that will have people of all ages dancing and groovin’. Yes, dear Charlotte, you continue to be our inspiration.
Today, we will eat one of your favorite foods (pizza) at a CJSTUF fundraiser at California Pizza Kitchen. We will raise our glasses in a chocolate milk toast and celebrate you and all that you have inspired. Thank you for choosing us to be your parents. We will always love you!