This past Saturday we had a Kadyn's Krew walk in Fayetteville. This is my thank you:
When people ask me how I know Kadyn and Katie I always pause because I don’t know how to adequately express our relationship. No, we are not relatives, but they are my family. Growing up I always considered my babysitters my big sisters. They were my role models, and I was blessed with an unbelievable group of babysitters who became like family. I was so excited when they stayed in Springfield and began having families themselves. It was perfect timing because I could babysit for their babies!
On April 17, 2009 Katie had her twins, Koy and Kadyn. I was beyond excited. I was able to visit them in the hospital and got to cuddle them and love on them. Everything was perfect and I just imagined the relationship I would be able to have with them, much like the relationship I have with Katie. When we heard that Kadyn had Cystic Fibrosis it was like a punch in the stomach. I didn’t exactly know what CF was, so I googled it. Bad idea. Sitting there at my computer looking up information about Cystic Fibrosis was the most helpless I have ever felt my whole life. I vowed that I would never feel that way again. I would do something to put an end to this horrible disease.
I was so excited when I was able to participate in our first walk! Kadyn’s Krew was so much bigger than I expected and we were able to raise money for the CFF. Seeing how many people loved Kadyn was overwhelming. There are so many good people, with big hearts. After the walk was really when I started babysitting for Koy and Kadyn. I would go over once a week and we would play. It was a highlight of my high school.
When I went over there it was hard to remember that Kadyn was sick. She didn’t look sick. She didn’t act sick. One day, Katie asked me to give Kadyn her vest treatment. This was the first time I remember realizing exactly what CF meant. The first time I gave Kadyn her treatment was one I will never forget. I did not know what the vest did and Kadyn was younger and didn’t like her treatment very much. Needless to say, it was rough on both of us. As time went on we got the hang of it, and Kadyn graciously decided to give me a break and never gave me any trouble during her treatments.
Sometimes when Kadyn wasn’t feeling well and she had to do her treatment she would say, “Claire, will you hold me?” These are the times when I felt the least helpless. When I could hold her, take some of her pain/stress away. Little did Kadyn know that she was helping me, she was holding me.
Throughout the next four years I would continue to go over to their house cherishing my time with Koy and Kadyn. We would play, laugh, sing and dance. These two taught me so much. I continued to look forward to the walks and Kadyn’s Krew just kept getting bigger. They raised more money for Kadyn, and each walk my heart was so happy.
When it was time for me to go to college, I was dreading saying goodbye to all of the kids I babysit for. But I especially dreaded saying goodbye to Kadyn. I was bummed because I thought she and Koy would forget me. I didn’t want to stop going over and playing with them!
Shortly after I got to college Kadyn had to go to the hospital. It was the trip where she was rushed into emergency surgery after she started showing signs of infection. I felt isolated in Arkansas, I had made some friends, but I didn’t have the prayer warriors that I had in Springfield…or so I thought. I went out on a limb and texted some of the girls I had met asking them to pray. Not only did they drop everything and pray for Kadyn, but they tweeted, facebooked and forwarded the message on to others. They kept checking on Kadyn, they had become attached to this little girl that they didn’t know.
Before I knew it, first semester was over and we had come back for second semester. I came home one weekend and had seen on instagram that Kadyn was back in the hospital. My heart hurt for my sweet girl, but I assumed it would be like the other times and she would be out in no time. Then on Sunday, January 27 I got a text message that said, “Kadyn is being moved to the ICU. Please pray for her.” My heart broke. I immediately sent out my text again, and those girls (and boys) came through ten-fold. I also went out on a limb and emailed my whole Kappa email group (440 girls). I began to get texts and messages from Kappas that I hadn’t met telling me that they were praying for Kadyn. Kadyn was put on so many prayer chains and there were so many people praying for her.
Then I received an email from the CFF that said there was a Fayetteville Great Strides walk. I thought how cool would that be if we had a Kadyn’s Krew team. I thought it would maybe be me, my roommates and a couple of friends.
Fast forward to Saturday, May 4. It was 31o and rainy/snowy. We had around 60 people register (which is awesome!!!!) but I didn’t expect anyone to come. After all it was May and 30 degrees outside. Then the first people showed up, and then more came, and then more, and then more. These people had never met Kadyn, but had come to walk for her. My heart was overwhelmed. It still is. Kadyn’s Krew raised $3500 for our girl this year. Throughout the walk people said they couldn’t wait to meet Kadyn and couldn’t wait to walk next year. The Kadyn’s Krew walk was the highlight of my freshman year. I had hoped I would make friends, but never imagined the amazing people who I would meet.
From my roommates, Lizzie, Lane, and Anna, to the 211 girls, to Murielle, and Emily, to Evan (who made a huge donation), to all of the Kappas who prayed for Kadyn: thank you. Your support has meant the world to me this year, and thank you is just not enough. To Karis and Elle: thank you. This walk would not have gone on without you. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you two this year!
Thank you all for loving Kadyn and for coming together to bring a cure to this horrible disease.
Cystic Fibrosis may be a strong opponent, but it is no match for Kadyn’s Krew.