A lot of time has passed since I last gave an update on Brennen. He continues to receive his different medications each day at home and once a month goes in for treatment to Children’s Hospital. We thank God for his continued health. If he does not have a reoccurrence, there are 9 months left until the end of treatment. On one hand it feels like an eternity away, yet at the same time, it doesn’t feel that far away.
On Monday (6/19) Make-A-Wish Wisconsin had their annual golf tournament to raise money to help grant more kids’ wishes. I believe they said they have over 300 kids waiting for their wishes to be granted. We are grateful to Make-A-Wish and how they have blessed Brennen and our family through this battle with Leukemia.
A couple months ago one of the Make-A-Wish employees had asked if Brennen would be willing to share about his Wish Trip to the participants of the golf tournament. He was a bit tentative while preparing but he did an amazing job in front of over 200 people. I cracked up when he said to me, “I’m not scared. But for some reason my knees are shaking.” Afterwards, he received a standing ovation. It was such an encouragement to see the support of everyone who was there.
Thank you to each of you for praying and supporting Brennen and our family. We never want to presume on God’s mercy but, instead, remain fervently prayerful and dependent upon Him.
Day 7: We got up early in the morning and got dressed. Then we got off the boat at Castaway Cay and went to get our snorkel stuff then went snorkeling. I saw a hidden Mickey Mouse. Then we went to lunch on the island. Then went to swim out to the water slide. Then went back to the ship and met Captain Mickey, then met Lizeth, the cruise line Make-A-Wish ambassador. Then had ice cream. Then went to dinner at Animator’s Palate. Then watched an amazing show, “Dreams.”
Day 8: We said goodbye to the amazing ship. We were sad. Got off the ship. We rode a bus back to the airport
Day 5: We got up from sleeping and got dressed. We went to midship and got on a little boat to go to shore. We took a bus to swim with a dolphin. I felt it. I danced with it. I swam out to the middle of the pool. The dolphin came to me. I got on its belly and it swam. Then I took a boogie board and (the dolphin) pushed me fast. I had so much fun.
Then we took the bus back to the boats and got on one of them. Went to the ship and had lunch Lumiere’s. Then we went swimming. Then went to dinner at Carioca’s Restaurant. Then went to our rooms and went to bed.
Day 6: We got up from sleeping and got dressed. Then went to breakfast at Lumiere’s. it was a great breakfast. Then we went to watch Moana at the Disney Theater. It was so cool. Then went to lunch on deck 9. Then we went to the kids club. We went to our rooms and got dressed and went to dinner at Lumiere’s. It was a good dinner. Then we went to the theater to watch Tangled the Musical. Then we went to our rooms and went to bed. It was a good day.
Day 3: We got up from sleeping and watched a movie. We got dressed and cleaned the 3 hotel rooms. I colored a picture on the little desk. We went to breakfast downstairs. This was the most best breakfast I have had for a long time. I had a great time having breakfast. Then we went back to our rooms and got packed then we went back downstairs and waited for our car. Then the car got to the hotel. We got in the car then we prayed for safe travel. Our driver took us into a tunnel under water then back out. We drove past some cruises then we got to our cruise ship. We took our suit cases and rolled them with us. We checked in and got our kids club bracelets then we got our “key to the world” cards and our number was called.
We went on the ship and went to deck 9 and got lunch. Then we went to our rooms. Our room numbers were 6018 and 6016. Our suite cases were not there so we walked through the ship.
We went back to our rooms and our suitcases were there. But we did not get our swimsuits to swim. We went to the castaway party. There were a lot of shines then we went to dinner and after we went to the theater and watched a show. Then we went to our rooms and got dressed and went to bed.
Day 4: We got up from sleeping and got dressed. We went to breakfast and had a good breakfast. Then we got to go to our rooms and got our swimsuits on and went to the swimming pool. I went to the aqua dunk (water slide). It was so fun. We went to lunch then we went to our room sand got dressed and went to the kids club.
Then we got supper and went to the theater and watched a show. Then it was time for the Pirates of the Caribbean party. We sat by the aqua dunk. I sat on it. Then we went to our rooms and went to bed.
We got up from sleeping and got dressed and went downstairs and got breakfast. Then we went to the boats we got on to it.We got a tour of the Miami River. We went to lunch at Chili’s.Then went shopping for sunglasses. We went to 5 places to find them. Then we found them. Then we went back to the hotel, watched a movie. Then got dinner. Having fun.
Each day of Brennen’s Make-A-Wish he journaled about the things he was able to do, see, and feel. Over the next few days I thought it would be great to share the trip through his perspective.
The first day we got up from sleeping and got dressed. Then we got our suitcases in the garage. I was so excited to Miami Florida to go on a cruise ship. We were going to travel on a airplane. We got on the plane. When we went down to the ground it hurt my ears bad. When we landed we went to get our suitcases. Then we got to ride in a car to the hotel. Then we went for a walk. The city is pretty. That night I could not sleep I was so excited.
We got a limo bus
After the flight we met the pilot. His name was Brennen.
We are blessed by your continued faithfulness in prayer for Brennen. Though we have not had any big updates, it doesn’t mean that your prayers are not important. In fact, it is times like this that diligence in prayer is essential.
Brennen continues his treatments through daily medications at home and monthly visits to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. We are thankful that he has stayed healthy and that there have been no reoccurrences of his leukemia.
In the middle of December we made a big road trip to Idaho and California to see family. While we were in Fresno, Brennen and I were able to visit his doctors and nurses at Valley Children’s. We love our new hospital but Valley Children’s will always hold a special place in our hearts as they walked through the diagnosis and intensive parts of Brennen’s treatment. As we were walking in to visit I asked Brennen, “Are you nervous?” He replied, “No. I’m not getting accessed (poked with needle).” 🙂
This week is a big week in Brennen’s life.
It’s the week we leave for his Make-A-Wish trip!
Over a year and a half ago, in another state, we were recommended for a wish by a nurse at Valley Children’s Hospital. Due to the need to get everyone passports, our move to Wisconsin, and AynsLeigh’s birth, his wish was delayed on being granted. Waiting for this day has made it even more of an anticipated day!
We are so grateful for the staff and volunteers at Make-A-Wish Wisconsin who are making Brennen’s wish come true. There is no way that we could be doing this trip if it were not for them and all those that have partnered with them to raise money. (Like Top Hat Logistics in Lake Geneva! Check out my precious post)
Jenny and I were talking the other day that we would gladly give this trip up if it meant not having to walk through cancer in one of our children. Yet, we trust the Lord’s plans and are thankful for the provision of this trip.
Brennen’s wish was to go on a Disney Cruise to the Caribbean. We are all headed out for a 5-night cruise from Miami. Due to an error when Make-A-Wish was making our flights, we have an extra play day in Miami beforehand. 🙂 we will have the opportunity to visit Grand Cayman and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.
We are thankful for the opportunity to go as an entire family. Even though the other children have not been facing leukemia they have been greatly impacted by our family’s schedule and focus on Brennen. Through the counsel of a friend, who has been through leukemia with his daughter, we have tried to include the other children when going to doctor appointments.
Please pray for safety as we travel. We are enjoying some fresh snow as we pack our shorts and flip flops! Our prayer is that this would be a time of celebrating God’s kindness in keeping Brennen cancer free. We look forward to sharing stories and photos of Brennen’s special trip when we get back!
In my last update on Brennen I shared about his wish and how Make-A-Wish of Wisconsin was helping make it become a reality. Recently, we learned that a local company, TopHAT, that takes care of delivery for many stores around the United States, was working with Make-A-Wish to help fundraise. What was even more personal about it was they were fundraising within their company to help underwrite some of the costs of Brennen’s Disney cruise!
When we found out about it we asked if there may be a chance that we could meet some of the people from the company and say, “Thank You” for their generosity. Yesterday, we were able to do just that!
Everyone was so welcoming to each of us. It felt like they rolled out the red carpet for us with some tasty treats, gift bags for all the kids, and they even arranged a visit from Mickey Mouse (with theme music). We were able to share a bit of Brennen’s story with the TopHAT staff while Brennen and a couple of the boys played some indoor volleyball with Steve and Brian. 🙂 We were so thankful for their support of Brennen. It is humbling to see all that they did in promoting it within their company in the photos on their Facebook page. They actually raised over their goal and the extra will go to help other wish recipients. The photo above is Brennen with two of the owners Brian and Steve along with Courtney, who helped coordinate the fundraiser.
As they days get closer to Brennen’s trip (67 and counting) we continue to thank God for the health that He has given Brennen. Even with the daily chemo and other medicines he takes we don’t ever see him slow down. If he could have his way, he would be outside playing every moment of the day.
Brennen goes on Monday for his monthly treatment in the clinic and it will be one in which they put him to sleep to put chemo in his spine. We appreciate your prayers for Brennen as he does not like the “falling asleep” part.
This Thanksgiving, as with each day, we have so many blessings to thank God for. We pray that this Thanksgiving each one of us can say with the wise King Solomon, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.””Lamentations 3:22-24
The last few months have brought a bit of normalcy in the rhythm of Brennen’s treatments. He takes his usual medications daily and every 28 days goes in to Children’s for a treatment. We are thankful that he has been very active this summer doing the things 8-year old boys love to do. He and some friends even took a 21-mile hike around Lake Geneva!
Over a year ago Brennen sat down with Make-A-Wish volunteers in San Luis Obispo, CA. When they asked him if he could do anything his answer was, “a Disney cruise to DisneyWorld.” He had seen magazines talking about how you could do a short cruise and then spend a couple days at DisneyWorld. The volunteers said that sounded like a lot of fun but Make-A-Wish let him know that it is a policy between them and Disney that they can’t do the combined trip but could do one or the other. Brennen thought about it and decided to wish for a Disney Cruise! (keep reading below photos)
Fast-forward a year. I was contacted and asked to make a “little visit” to Make-A-Wish Wisconsin’s offices. Upon our arrival they surprised Brennen with a scavenger hunt around their office. As Brennen and the rest of the kids hunted around their offices for clues, each clue contained a piece of a puzzle that when he put together and found out that they were granting his wish. He is going on a 5-day cruise to the Caribbean at the end of January and the rest of the family gets to go too! We will be stopping in Grand Cayman and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island.
I can’t begin to tell you how excited he was to find out about the cruise. From time to time he’s asked me if I’ve heard anything or if I think his wish might be able to be granted. He understood that a wish is something special and we never know if it’s possible to have it happen. To see the amazing staff at Make-A-Wish work so hard to make it happen makes me so grateful and humbled.
As Jenny and I have talked about the cruise we thought how amazing it would be to try to do the part that Make-A-Wish is not able to. We have spoken with Make-A-Wish and they have said we can extend our flights to allow us to go from Miami up to DisneyWorld. We are excited to start saving and fundraising to make this “surprise” part of the trip happen!
Thank you for your continued prayer and support as we trust our gracious God’s plan for our lives!