Thursday, June 3, 2010

What's a Powerful Kid Look Like

**Please see update and prayer request for CJ at the bottom in red!!!**

What does a powerful kid look like?
Probably not like you would expect!

I wish I could post a picture of what was taking place in our car early yesterday morning as we set out to attend a corporate breakfast to benefit the Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

I wish I could post a picture of what was taking place in the lobby of the Chris Evert Children's Hospital later that morning when we arrived for the interviews and announcement of the winner of South Florida's Most Powerful Kid Contest.

That picture would be a true testimony of what a powerful kid looks like, but I bet it would not be what you would expect. It would be a picture of CJ throwing up! Yes! CJ was sick and throwing up throughout this whole amazing experience yesterday. As sad and difficult as it was, we believe it was God's wonderful mercy to allow that to happen. It kept us humble and made us depend on Him throughout the entire event filled day.

The whole family headed out at 7am because CJ and I were scheduled to speak at the Hyatt 66 for a Corporate Breakfast hosted by the LLS for Light the Night. CJ has been blessed to be chosen as their "Honored Hero" for this years' Broward Light the Night Walk. We were asked to come and share our story and share why the Light the Night walk is worthy of these corporate executives investing their time and resources.

We got about 15 minutes from the house with just enough time to make it there on time, and CJ, who had been feeling poorly all morning, started retching in the back seat. I tossed him a bag and he started throwing up (probably a mix of chemotherapy and nerves). We considered turning around and calling to tell them we would be late or not make it at all. But after throwing up, CJ felt a little better and seemed determined to keep the commitment, so we kept going.

The 40 minute drive was difficult. We had CJ not feeling well and two little ones who both needed to use the rest room very badly. Thankfully, we made it on time, and after a quick bathroom stop and quick clean up, we were in the room full of corporate execs. CJ was still really not feeling well and could not manage to get one thing down.

He was introduced as the 2010 Honored Hero and I shared our story on our family's behalf. When I finished, I introduced CJ. He was brief but what he said was extremely powerful. He said something to this effect, "Thank you all for being here. On the way here, I was not feeling very well. I thought about going home, but then it hit me that this is why we are here this morning. We want to encourage you to raise support for research of childhood cancer by participating in Light the Night so other kids won't have to be sick and suffer. Thank you again for coming and letting my family share our story."

Needles to say, my ten minute speech will not be remembered but that 30 second heartfelt and thank you from a little guy who has been throwing up just an hour before, and yet was still standing there, was powerful.

So proud of you CJ! When we are weak, then He is strong!

After the breakfast, we headed about 10 minutes down the road to the Chris Evert Children's Hospital to attend the announcement of the winner of the Most Powerful Kid Care Contest he was a finalist in. We knew CJ would have some interviews to do beforehand but we had no idea how big this event was going to be. We arrived and as we were waiting in a lobby with other families, CJ began not feeling well again. Within minutes, he was hiding in the phone booth throwing up into a garbage can. Poor guy! I found it interesting that we were there for the results of the Most Powerful Kid Contest and CJ was at the mercy of the Lord while he had no control over his stomach or pounding head. The Most Powerful People are those that are able to use their weakness to depend on God and bless others! That is CJ's story of what a Most Powerful Kid looks like.

Once again, after a quick clean up and shirt change, he was upstairs giving a news interview and encouraging the other finalists. I was watching him as he was being interviewed and I just kept thinking that none of these people could imagine that he was downstairs throwing up 10 minutes ago. But God knew, and He was with Him. It was so evident to me and I even became grateful that CJ was not feeling well. I knew it was keeping CJ and all of us humble and dependent on Him for strength.

Soon we were ushered into a large room full of balloons, media and lots and lots of people. We got to spend some time with one of the finalists named David. CJ came to me at one point and said, "Mom, I really hope David wins." I already knew he was thinking this because I know him so well. So I replied, "I know CJ, me too! Either way, no matter who wins, as long as God is glorified is all that matters." Then CJ said, "Mom, if for any reason I win I think I will give David....." Yes, he was already trying to give away his prizes just in case he won.

While we were waiting, CJ had to give more interviews and smile for LOTS of pictures. I kept wondering how he was feeling and if he was going to throw up again in this huge room full of people with no way to escape. He still had not eaten a thing and his head was hurting, but somehow he held it together. We were waiting quite a while as the room continued to fill more and more. The excitement and tension was palpable in the room. Everyone was so nice to our family. We met Chris Evert the famous tennis player and Pam Giganti of NBC 6. They were both very kind to our family. We met the families of the other finalists and many of the Chris Evert staff who were so amazing!

After a while, CJ and I sat and prayed together and just asked God to use this day for His glory and that whoever wins would be according to His will.

Finally, the ceremony began and they introduced the three finalists and shared their individual stories. Chris Evert was there to announce the winner. When she came up I noticed that all the cameras gathered around and got their lens' focused and ready for that big announcement. They all settled their cameras on David just as she was getting ready to read the winner's name so I thought that was a dead give away that David won. I looked over at Chris and said, "Good, it's David, that is awesome." As I brought my hands up to clap for David, Chris Evert suddenly said, "CJ George." My hand flew to my mouth instead of clapping as you can see in th Sun Sentinal.'s capture of that moment. I was honestly stunned!

The camera thing really threw me off and we had pretty much been sure that David won. We really felt that David deserved to win. His story is AMAZING! If you did not get a chance to read it, this is a 17 year old gentleman that went from a double felony charge at the age of 9, while living in the foster care system, to now being an honor roll student and going to Harvard this summer for their summer intern program. He wants to be a lawyer and advocate for other foster kids who get in trouble. Truly amazing!

Back to the live action........We were truly stunned and very humbled. I saw tears in many eyes. There were tears in Chris's eyes (CJ's dad) and tears filling in my own. But the tears that really got me the most were when I turned around and saw the flood of tears in the eyes of my friend Sue Gonzalez, Mackenzie's mom.

She was there with her troop of four little kids to support CJ! They had been encouraging others to vote all along through Mackenzie's caring bridge site. But that is not why her tears were so powerful and heartfelt to me. Her tears are the tears of one cancer mom to another who knows that those moments in our children's lives are priceless and precious and an amazing gift from God. We are so grateful for them and know there is no guarantee of another one. We know that not too long ago we never thought we would even get this far or have this moment. As good as some of these kids appear to be doing, us cancer moms know enough and read enough about other families to know that these kids lives are always a scan away from..........I won't even bother to type the word. Anyway, it was her tears that really got me and that is when mine spilled over.

The rest is a blur. There was suddenly a bigger frenzy than before. There were so many people who wanted to congratulate CJ. We took lots of pictures. We wanted to get it up on facebook for all of you and say thank you as soon as possible for voting, so we were frantically typing away on our phones.

All of this has been followed up by more interviews and radio broadcasts today and in the coming days. We just see it as more opportunity to share his story and encourage others to trust God amidst difficult circumstances and look to the interest of others more than ourselves.

We are grateful for the team of judges that selected CJ as a finalist. But the ultimate victory was won by all of you! CJ's team. You have been his team from the very beginning. You have seen him through so much. The other day I was looking back over the blog and some of the things we have experienced. There are no words! Thank you for voting and spreading the word. Encourage those you shared it with to read this testimony of what they helped accomplish through a weak but willing vessel.

Thank you for voting and once again carrying our family to victory!

Above all, we are most grateful to our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ! We want Him to receive all the glory and honor due His great name.

I have a confession for all of you....even though we are so grateful for these past couple days and we had a blast over these past couple weeks voting together and spreading the word, our main hope is that somewhere along the way you caught the truth in all this that......CJ is not a powerful kid.....he just serves a Powerful GOD! All you are seeing is his Lord reflecting through him. To God be the Glory!


Lastly, CJ goes in for CBC's (blood counts) tomorrow. We ask for prayers that his blood counts are in a safe range and that the vomiting is ceased for good.


***UPDATE
*** JUST FOUND OUT CJ has an ANC of 300! So he is severely neutropenic (at high risk for infection) . For some reason this is no surprise anymore. It always seems to be that when we are around a million people doing a million things we find out his blood counts are extremely low. They are going to hold his daily chemo that he takes at home and re-check him next Friday. So please adjust your prayers to reflect the need for protection for CJ with all the exposure he has had over the last few days and for his counts to come back up!

OH AND I ALMOST FORGOT.....MANY OF YOU HAVE ASKED WHAT DID CJ WIN?????
THE CONTEST WAS FOR AN EXTREME DIGITAL MAKEOVER

First Place (CJ) Won:

MacBook Lap Top
iPad
iPod touch
iPod nanno
Flip HD video camera
Wii system
Wii fit

The other two finalists also won....

Wii system
Wii fit
and other prizes

Praise Him from whom all blessings flow!


Don't forget to pray for Mackenzie and other kids battling cancer. Thank you Sue for being there for our family yesterday. That meant a lot to us and I know first hand how difficult that is with four little kids.
Here are some pictures of Mackenzie and her adorable siblings from yesterday.



More Pictures


CJ and Chris Evert


The finalists Jordan, CJ, and David

Here is a link to the Chris Evert Facebook page to see the exciting events unfold.

11 comments:

Shannon said...

CJ,

You have no idea how many lives you have touched and what an encouragement you are to so many people. I'm always humbled at how you face your challenges. Your attitude and perseverance spurs me on to stay focused on God and His plans. Thank you for putting a smile on my face by keeping yours, even in the face of adversity. You're a powerful kid because you faithfully serve a Powerful God! To Him be the Glory and the Power forever! Amen!

God bless you and your precious family,

Shannon Helton in Maryland

Anonymous said...

CJ and family,

We were so excited to hear you were chosen! You have been a huge example of selflessness and giving to others. What a joy to have you be on the receiving end as well. Unfortunately we missed the interview. Any way to see it on a particular site?
Blessings to you as you speak to so many who desire to hear your words.
Mrs. Pino

Cory Mulligan said...

Congrats CJ!!!
Everyone in my office was happy to hear the good news. They were reminded every morning for weeks to log on and vote from there computers!
Hope you all are doing we'll. I will keep you in my prayers!

Nan said...

God is soooo good!! CJ, I am so very happy for you. I can almost see the Lord smiling as He watches and listens to your heart attitude. You honor Him in so many ways. I'll be praying for good blood counts tomorrow.

Sweet blessings to you,
Nan

Anonymous said...

What a major blessing. He is a powerful kid because he lets God shine through him and he has just become "anointed" to pass on the Word of God to others in things he says, in things he does and the way he lives his life in spite of adversity. I am so pround of this young man. He could be any of our kids or grandkids or even great-grandkids. But he's yours. And he's special. Thank you for sharing him with us. May God richly bless you. We continue to pray and uplift your whole family and Kenzie's family, too and all the rest you come into contact with. We believe God for healing and restoration and for what He is doing in their lives and how they are giving back to Him.
Love and Prayers,
Mary B. and Family.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations CJ! And congratulations to you Dawn and Cris! Thank you for sharing your journey in this way...I can almost feel your emotions as though I was there. You and your family well deserve this moments of joy. Congratulations!
With love,
Wilma and family

Anonymous said...

So Happy for all of you, but also so proud! Not because you won, well ok that too :}, but because you are always thinking of helping others no matter what!!

We are praying for the blood counts and send lots of love
Nicole, Ana Alberto

Kevin Abegg said...

Congradulations CJ!
You continue to be a great witness to the Lord who is your strength. You are an encouragement to me personally and many others. We prayed for you and your family at Home Group and Wednesday and continue to pray for you daily. Keep up the good work. We love you and are blessed by your friendship!
-Kevin for the Abegg Family

Resie said...

Congratulations CJ! i will share the news to my friends who voted for you. I was hoping & praying that you win this contest and you did! I am more encouraged by your selfless desire for David to win, you have a big heart for others and what a living testimony for Christ! Dawn, thank you for sharing the details of this story. Amen! we serve an Awesome & most Powerful God & nothing is difficult for Him. He is most glorified in our weakness, dependence and satisfaction in Him alone. I have been praying for CJ, for you and your whole family.

Love &prayers,
Resie

Janet said...

CJ, it does not surprise me one bit that you wanted to give some of your prizes away. You are always thinking of others.
I am so happy that you won, CJ.
You are always in our prayers!
sedanos

martha said...

Congrats to you my liltle friend!!!!!!! Amazing and awesome news!!!! I am so happy you won!!!!

With love,

Martha