Wednesday, October 29, 2014

2014 AHA Heart Walk

The Heart Walk is always one of the highlights of our year. We feel so incredibly blessed to have Max and that he lives a normal, healthy life, so we love helping raise money for the AHA and participating in the Heart Walk every year. We know that funds that have been raised in the past have directly affected our family and we are so thankful for that. Every year in October, we round up our friends and family and walk a 5k around Vandy's campus. There are usually around 13k people that show up and I feel like it's incredibly inspiring and instills a sense of hope in me for the future of these kids and other heart patients. This year we had an amazing team of supporters! Aunt Paula, Grandmama, and Dede and Pop all drove in town to help support Max and walk with us. A lot of our friends showed up to walk as well as some of Mom and Dad's friends. We've been through a lot this year, it really meant so much to us to have a team of people that we love show up to support Max and our family.

Below is the letter that Tyler sent out to all our friends and family that donated and helped support us this year...


Max, Amy and I want to thank you so much for supporting us this year in our fundraising efforts. Through the generocity of 117 people, Max's team was able to raise $11,656 while the Middle TN team at Regions Bank raised roughly $35,000.

This has been a big year for our family.

#1 We will be welcoming a baby boy to our family in January 2015. There is a higher chance that this baby will have the same heart condition as Max, but thanks to the technology and expertise at Vandy, we monitor baby #2's heart every week and everything is looking great. We're past the point where the heart condition typically shows up so we're all very optimistic that he'll be born without a heart defect.

#2 Max had his second surgery this year to replace his pacemaker and lead that he received at only 7 days old. Although, Amy and I would agree that the surgery was emotionally tolling on both of us (and obviously physically tolling on Max), surgery couldn't have gone better and Max was up and running around again within a week of surgery. We're hopeful this new pacemaker will last 7 to 10 years and we're excited to see what happens with pacemaker technology in the meantime...which is where your donations absolutely play a huge part!

I can't stress how thankful we truly are for your support. Thank you so much for continuing to generously support our family through your giving. We also want to thank you for you're notes of encouragement. They mean so much to us and we actually save each one in a file to show Max once he's old enough to get it. We want him to see (1) the generocity and support he's had over the years from folks that he knows and lots of folks that he doesn't know and (2) we want him to see the impact he has had on folks as well as our community simply by being a heart survivor and the importance of being grateful and giving back as we have been given so much.

Thanks again,
Max, Amy and Tyler

Max and his Pal

Grandmama and Aunt Paula

Dede and Max

Dede and Gail

Our cut out from an AHA event last year

The Alexander's 

Lara and Jane Bug

The Moses family
The sweet Moses family all wore our shirts and came to visit before the walk for a few minutes. Laurel couldn't walk because she was due to deliver her baby in a few weeks, but we really appreciate them making the drive to Nashville just to help support us. 


Max is ready to roll in his decorated wagon

Pam and Susan

Tyler and Jack

...finishing the race

I love this pic of all the kids; it's so sweet!

After the walk, the Alexander's, Grandmama, Aunt Paula, Gail, and Tyler, Max, and I all had lunch together at  Chuy's. Max enjoyed some rainbow sherbet afterward.

These are the lego hearts that we made for Dr. Radbill and Dr. Mettler, Max's physicians. Max put them together and we sent them along with thank you cards as a small token of appreciation. They are so special to our family and will always have a special place in our hearts.

Fall - Our Favorite Time of the Year

Max and I go almost every Saturday morning to the Farmer's Market to shop, listen to music, and get fresh donuts. Max's second love right behind cake is donuts, so he thoroughly enjoys them. 

A Max and Mommy date to Sweet Cece's for blue ice cream. Max had a very difficult transition after his surgery back into his normal routine. The first few weeks of Mother's Day Out were a nightmare and he had severe anxiety while he was there or anywhere other than home, for that matter. So, one day I promised him that I would take him to get ice cream after school if he had a good day and participated in all the activities. He agreed and held me to it. After getting his first good report from his new teacher, he promptly asked me if he could have his ice cream. We celebrated his success with a giant cup of cake batter ice cream with m&m's in it. He insisted on blue ice cream since blue is his favorite color, but they didn't have it. We decided to make our own with blue m&m's and he was very happy with that. He actually ate the whole cup by himself too! I didn't even care because I was so happy that he had a good day at school after a few weeks of pure misery.

One of our favorite Christian music artists, Matthew West, put on a free show in the Kroger parking lot one afternoon. Tyler and the Bailey's met us there for a picnic dinner and great live music. It was awesome and the kids loved it!

Matthew West 

Daddy surprised Max with tickets for all of us to see Disney's Frozen on Ice at the arena downtown. Max was incredibly excited and he loved every minute! We sat in the box and had such a nice evening as a family. The show was really amazing and all three of us enjoyed it. While other kids were jumping, running, singing and full of energy, Max just sat completely still and silent the whole two hours and intently watched the show. When we would try to ask him if he was having fun, he would tell us to be quiet so he could hear and then occasionally look our way and smile. For the whole next week he talked about how much he loved seeing Frozen on Ice. 

The next day, Grandma Nancy, Aunt Paula, Dede and Pop came in town to help support us in the 2014 AHA Heart Walk. It also happened to be Mimi's birthday the week before, so we celebrated by having a bonfire that evening and visiting with family. 

Max absolutely loves playing in Mimi and Pal's yard whether its riding cars, swinging, exploring, riding the tractor, or throwing sticks in the woods with Pal. 

Why are sticks so fascinating to boys?

A birthday photo with Mimi

One of Max's favorite things to do at their house is ride his truck off the driveway, down the hill, and into the woods. He just giggles and giggles the whole way down!

Snuggle time with Grandmama

Max loves his Aunt Paula too! Aunt Paula helped us raise money this year for Max's team and we were so appreciative of that!

When Eric and I were little, Grandma and Grandpa Alexander bought Eric this Case Tractor and trailer. It eventually was given to Dad, and a few weeks ago he cleaned it up for Max and Tressa Kate to play with. It's still in great shape and what a special toy to pass down from a few generations!

The kids love having a fire in the fire pit, so we roasted hotdogs and s'mores. It was a perfect evening for a fire.

Max and TK eating dinner together

I think Max would consider it a sin to celebrate a birthday without cake, so we had cupcakes for Mimi's birthday and sang Happy Birthday to her. 

The next morning we all went to the Heart Walk together and had an amazing time. Later that afternoon, someone Tyler associates with at work invited us to his property for a cookout and party. 

Max loved the big tractor even though we missed riding the hayride. 

He liked taking the ATV down to the pond to see the fish jumping in the water.