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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

2012 Laurel's Army Night With the Astros {Fundraising for Texas Children's Cancer Center}

I just copied the post written by Steven Batchelder {Laurel's dad} on her CaringBridge site, because he says it soooo much better than I ever could.

2012 - Laurel's Army Night with the Astros

Laurel from the 2010 and 2011 events:


We wanted to go ahead and get started on the 2012 version of Laurel's Army Night with the Astros. Hang with me please, this is a bit long.

The game is going to be on Saturday September 15th at 6:05pm - the Astros are playing the Phillies that night.

One of the things I mentioned last week around her scans was wanting to talk to you guys about "what the 2012 game will mean to us...." and what I mean by that is that I want to talk to you guys about why we continue to do this.

When we first came up with this idea in 2010 - the support was incredible and we were able to raise nearly $20,000 for the Cancer Center - a phenomenal amount of money to help directly at the Texas Children's Cancer Center. At the 2010 event there was still the Shock-and-Awe with Laurel. She was only 7 months into being "a cancer kid" and she sure looked the part when you saw her. And by the way, not a day goes by that I don't look at the picture of her on my desk with her little bald head and I don't just smile a little bit.

In 2011 - we reaffirmed our decision to use a baseball game at Minute Maid Park as the backdrop to our BIG annual fundraiser - we again sold almost 250 tickets to the game, and the outpouring of support was so amazing as the final tally was about $17,000 raised for TCCC. Laurel was on the mend, her hair had come back strong and she finally started to look healthy again. We lost the element of shock-and-awe in 2011, but the level of support from you guys was just as strong and truly awe-inspiring. In 2011 it certainly was just as amazing to have the support from “Laurel’s Army” that we had.

As we move forward to this year's game - things feel different for us and I'm sure they do for you too.

What is different for us - every time we go up to TCH for scans or other appointments - most all of the staff up there is the same - but all of the patients and their parents are not.

That said, all of the new patients sure have a very familiar look - You can tell EXACTLY where someone is in their treatment process - newly diagnosed, half-way through treatment, almost done, etc. etc. Nothing will ever make my stomach churn like seeing parents with the “newly diagnosed” glazed look on their face.

Just because the faces are new and the kids are new does not mean that they are any less deserving of our love and support. None of these kids deserve to be handed such a terrible hand of cards, but all of them always ante up and give it their all to beat this horrible disease.

What I think is different for you guys is that Laurel continues to be cancer free – but her transition back to being a normal kid continues to move forward and as that happens she probably becomes less of a cancer-kid and more just a normal suburban 5-year-old who is about to start kindergarten just like any other kid.

The challenge for us, and for you guys, is to never forget that her life and our lives as her parents have forever been changed – and it’s certainly no less motivating for me in 2012 than it was in 2010 to try and do everything I can to provide resources to the Texas Children’s Cancer Center, their amazing staff and their amazing research teams.

In the past we have referenced other families we have been so incredibly blessed to meet along the way - Preston, Aiden, Carson, Devin, Lauren, Grant, Alana, Halie, Michael - and the list goes on-and-on. Well, we still maintain contact with many of those families, but we no longer see them in the same environment that brought us all together in the first place. We don't see them on the 14th floor in the Clinic Building; we don't see them on the 9th floor of the West Tower. It does not mean that they are any less special to us, it just means that as treatments have wrapped up, or new chapters have been written in people's lives that we don't see them in the same environment or in the same light.

I would also be remiss if I didn't face the harsh reality of the fact that a few of these kids we got to know have earned their angel wings - which does not do anything but further ignite my passion to help. It has never been something I have been entirely comfortable talking about, but it doesn't change the fact that it's a VERY REAL part of this battle.

The one thing we pledged when we got to know so many of these AMAZING kids was that we would never stop doing what we can to help find an ultimate cure to this awful, awful disease. And let me tell you what, it doesn't stop with the kids - it also has to extend to the AMAZING staff at Texas Children's. Those people go to work every single day to manage and treat sick kids and they do it with a huge smile on their faces. They go to work every single day facing what amounts to about 50/50 odds with their patients - and all the while they persevere and stay-the-course as not to do anything to swing the emotions on that floor any more than they have to. Their kids-first approach is amazing and I do not know how they can compartmentalize such emotion day-in and day-out.

OK - That's a long way to get to "why we do this" and our focus around the 2012 event. Whether it's a friend-of-a-friend in Austin or a neighbor of a colleague at work or the coolest 8 year old future PGA tour star who has 1 eye after battling ocular cancer - I feel like we're continuously facing more and more stories of new kids rolling into this world. Even though the faces and names are new it does not mean that they don't deserve our support just the same.

 What we are asking is that you please consider coming out to the ballpark on September 15th and come have a hot dog, coke and some peanuts with us and help us raise some money for the amazing kids and staff up at the Texas Children's Cancer Center. 100% of the money we raise will stay in Houston to fund both research efforts as well as support for the child-life team. The child-life team's sole responsibility is patient care in difficult situations. They are an amazing group and their patient care efforts are off-the-charts.

Let's get down to business - or better said, let's get down to baseball.

Tickets to the game are $16 - and $4 from every ticket we sell will be donated to TCCC. My representative from the Astros has indicated we should have the upper corner of the mezzanine all to ourselves this year - FINALLY !!!

If you are interested in coming out to join us - you can buy tickets here: https://oss.ticketmaster.com/html/go.htmI?l=EN&t=astros&o=6958736&g=335 Password: LAUREL

 Just like we did with the 2010 and 2011 events - We have again set up two ways you can make a monetary donation in Laurel's name if you would like.

1.) You can make a fixed price donation directly to Texas Children's Cancer Center. If you would like to mail a check - you can fill out THIS form: http://www.txccc.org/txch/assets/File/giving-form.pdf and mail it to Texas Children's Cancer and Hematology Centers
Attn: Development Department, Lisa McCoy
6701 Fannin, Ste. 1410
Houston, Texas 77030

If you prefer to donate online you can do so here: https://waystogive.texaschildrens.org/SSLPage.aspx?pid=1064

2.) We have also in the past set up a bit of a "game" where you could pledge to donate a certain dollar amount per ticket that we sell to the game - the more we sell the more help that is given!!!

 If you would like to make a pledge, we’re going to do the same thing we did last year and ask people to pledge an amount to be donated for each ticket we sell. For example, if you pledge $1 per ticket and we sell 250 tickets, your donation would be $250 to the Cancer Center.

No amount is too small, either fixed price or "per ticket" and every penny helps!!!

 If you would like to make a pledge - please just let me (stevebatch@yahoo.com) or Melissa (melbatch@sbcglobal.net) know and we'll put you on the list and we'll get you the exact number of tickets we sell after the game.

OK – I know I’ve said it 6 ways to Sunday, but your continued support of our efforts and our cause is so amazing and so awe-inspiring. I can’t tell you how much it means to me, our family and Laurel.

Please feel free to pass the invite along to anyone else you think may want to come join us at the ballpark.

Please let me or Melissa know if you have any questions and we look forward to seeing you at Minute Maid Park on Saturday the 15th.

With Much Love,
Laurel, Steven, Melissa and Grant

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