Tuesday, July 14th, 2015 will forever be remembered as a historical day for the Brave Will Foundation. Not only was it Will’s 7th birthday (and our niece Michaela’s 18th birthday!), which is always a bittersweet, yet special day for our family, but it was also Brave Will Day at Albany Medical Center, a day that turned out to be an amazing, emotional, awe-inspiring day.
As is tradition for our foundation, we started the day by hosting an ice cream social at the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center. It truly is one of the highlights of our year as we scoop ice cream for the children, family, and staff at Albany Med. To see a child’s face light up as they load the toppings on an ice cream sundae and for a moment, feel like a “regular” kid again is as good as it gets. It’s also a chance for our board members and our families to give back to the great staff at the Children’s Hospital who work so hard each and every day.
While we were serving ice cream, we took a quick break to officially cut the ribbon on the Brave Will Room–our dream finally became a reality. Three years ago, we committed $100,000 to have the room built and yesterday, we all got to stand in the space and see it for the first time. We were amazed by the little touches and details that will make the space so vitally important for children and families that are receiving palliative care.
After the ice cream social, we headed over to the Hilton Garden Inn across the street to take part in a ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of the Brave Will Room. We were touched to here the words of the hospital staff who have meant so much to us over the past six years. We were also able to hear first-hand from a mother whose son was one of the first to use the room. She displayed such courage and strength in telling us about how important that room was to her son and her family. There is no doubt that this room was much needed at the hospital. She also presented the foundation with a $5,000 donation, a stunning display of unexpected generosity. We are so happy that we are in a position to help these families and will continue to do so as they use the space.
Finally, to top off the night, we made a $50,000 donation to the Journeys program at Albany Medical Center, a program that is at the heart of our mission. This program does so much for children that are fighting life-threatening and life-altering illnesses and it’s a program that just continues to grow and grow. We are so happy to be financial supporter of this program as we have now contributed over $200,000 in the last five years.
Such an amazing day sparked by the spirit of an amazing little boy. To know that Brave Will’s legacy is permanently cemented at the hospital, a place he called home for five months, is such an honor. As we said in our speech yesterday,
You have accomplished more in your short time than we could ever have dreamed of in our entire lives. Thank you for allowing your mother and I an opportunity to find a purpose in all that we have gone through and for continuing to spark us to do more. We hope that this present we gave you today will make you as proud of us as we are of you.