As wonderful as it was to be a part of the assembly process of the 7,000 Super Baskets of Hope on Monday, it’s been just as special to help deliver a few of them. Although most of the 7,000 baskets were shipped across the nation to the 32 NFL cities, Indiana got to keep a share of them for some of the hospitals here in our own state. In Fort Wayne, deliveries are being made this week at Lutheran and Parkview hospitals. We’ve personally had the privilege of accompanying some local celebrities as baskets and tote bags were delivered to children admitted to Lutheran Hospital.
We certainly aren’t celebrities or even anybody important, but I do have a nice camera and I’m not afraid to use it and so we tagged along to take pictures of the deliveries. We also took our children on Tuesday evening so that they could be a small part of the process and see what it means to love other people.
Tuesday night the celebrities were Jason Fabini (who played in the NFL, mostly for the NY Jets) and Tory Jackson, who is a current guard on the Mad Ant’s basketball team. We also had the Mad Ant Mascot himself… who has now traumatized our one-year-old for life by standing right next to us in the crowded hospital elevator and daring to give her a high-five. Thankfully after she finally took a breath after her lung piercing scream, Grandma was able to whisk her away to safety! Also thankfully, the other children on the pediatric unit of the hospital reacted in a much more positive manner to Mr. Mad Ant!
Mr. Fabini, Mr. Jackson and our team were able to deliver about 17 baskets and totes on Tuesday evening. It struck me that night that the smiles I saw on the children’s faces were reflected in the faces of the macho athletes. They seemed to be enjoying giving hope just as much as the children enjoyed receiving it. We also noticed the eyes of several fathers light up as they saw athletes they recognized and who gave them a few minutes reprieve from thinking about their suffering child. And as an added bonus, the Moms seemed pleased about receiving a Vera Bradley tote bag and U Designs Hope necklace. Smiles all around.
Thursday evening I charged my camera battery and met the next group for deliveries. This time it was current Pittsburg Steeler, Trai Essex, as well as some women’s basketball players from IPFW. Although we live in “Colt’s Country,” Mr. Essex was still quite the popular guest! First of all, he’s an offensive lineman and he’s sort of hard to miss! Secondly, his smile is as big as his jersey-size and he’s an all around nice guy. The kids, and especially some parents, really enjoyed meeting this guy. I have a feeling if a few Terrible Towels would have been laying around we would have seen some parents waving them enthusiastically… with the giddy nurses right behind them!
It was wonderful seeing those baskets and totes go from huge piles on the assembly floor at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse on Monday to the actual hands of children and parents this week. For me personally, as the Mom of a cancer survivor, I loved seeing those tote bags full of books and a Bible go into the parent’s hands. Although our visit in each room was brief, we were leaving ultimate Hope in the form of God’s Word. To me… that’s the best part of this whole thing!
That, and getting to watch the reactions of joy and hope… and hear the hilarious requests asked of these athletes. Like the Mom Thursday night who chased Mr. Essex down in the hall so that she could get a picture of him for “Uncle Chunky!” I’m still chuckling to myself about that one. It was fun to be a part of bringing a smile and some pictures for boasting to the Uncle Chunkies of this world!
What a week it has been! The full circle has been completed and hope is being delivered. I’m so thankful that I’ve had a front row seat. I’m also thankful that you’ve all been a part of the process by following me on Facebook and reading this blog. Thank you for the comments, prayers and encouragement. This has not been about us. It’s not even been about Tony Dungy, Kurt Warner or a giant Mad Ant. It’s been about bringing hope to families who are hurting. And most of all, it’s been about bringing glory and honor to the God of all Hope! …and Uncle Chunky is even going to get a picture!
NOTE: A 90 second special about Super Baskets of Hope will air as a part of the Super Bowl pre game show this Sunday, February 5th at 1:20 EST. Don’t miss it!