27 September, 2017

Cenzy's 100 Years of Memories

In our Quinn's List nomination form, we ask "Why are you nominating this child?". We learn so much about our babies and their families from this one question, I always love reading the answers - you can feel the love and admiration for these children just leaping off of the computer. 

One of my all time favorite responses came in April from Cenzy T's mom:

I'm nominating our daughter Cenzy
because I want her to be able to experience
100yrs of memories in the short time we have with her. 

THIS is exactly what our goal is, why we exist. And oddly, the second I read it I had visions of roadtripping through the country.

After 'meeting' Cenzy and her mom over a video call and learning about their passion for all things outdoors and Jeep-related, we decided to do just that! An RV trip: Phoenix > Sedona > Grand Canyon > Lake Havasu. They even braved the Arizona August heat, like the warriors they are. It was a big challenge - a ton of planning and research went into this Quinn's List experience, and it is one of the best ones we have done to date! 

Kristen, Cenzy's mom, was so kind and basically wrote this blog post for me, so I'm going to leave the narration to her words and awesome photos. Cenzy had a medical incident during the travel over to AZ but thankfully recovered well and swiftly, and the family was off and running on schedule.

Leavin' on a jet plane...

"Once we picked up the RV the next day it was smooth sailing.  Our girls loved being able to stretch out as we drove, while still able to look out the windows at the scenery so different from home.  Sedona was a great town to walk around and tour.  Once we parked the camper we spent the next few days walking and exploring the small town and stores.  The Pink Jeep Tours were great and Cenzy loved feeling the breeze through her hair as we toured.  The weather was a little warm walking around town but not bad once we were in the jeeps touring."

Look at this gorgeous family!!

If you haven't been to Sedona - GO! Amazing beauty, everywhere

Pink Jeep Tour

"The next stop was the Grand Canyon for 2 days.  We got to travel on part of Route 66 and stop at some of the small towns to walk around.  We saw a shoot out in town after eating dinner at one of the local restaurants." (Eileen interjection here - Whaaaaat???) "It was really neat how they shut the whole street down in the middle of town for this shoot out every evening.  The next morning we got up to do our Grand Canyon tour, it was more then just seeing the Canyon.  The tour guide was very knowledgeable about the area and history of the Canyon. We stopped along the way to the Canyon and he discussed different animals and foliage that lived in the park surrounding the Canyon.  Once at the Canyon it was an amazing site for our whole family to enjoy.  Even though our 8year old said its just a big hole in the ground lol."

Grand Canyon

Oh! So this is a shoot out. The costumes comfort me a bit ;)

Love love and more love!

"Lake Havasu was our family's favorite spot though.  It was simple and relaxing.  We enjoyed spending our first night there in the lake until the sun went down.  It was very calm and relaxing - even Cenzy enjoyed a little splashing and lounging in the lake all day.  We decided to do a guided boat tour the next evening around Lake Havasu.  It started just before sunset, so we got to be out on the lake for a sunset tour.  They pointed out the light house replicas around the lake, copper canyons and took us into a small corner of the California border.  We also got to see the London Bridge and drive across it as well, I would definitely recommend this tour to others if they go out."

Chilling in the lake

Boat tour of Lake Havasu. Look at those awesome smiles!

"This trip could not of been planned any better!  Our family enjoyed our time together and the memories we got to make with Cenzy.  It was a perfect trip for all of us our 17yr old and 8yr old both found things that they enjoyed about being out west.  We want to try and make another family trip out to that area again in the future."

Daddy's girl! 
Warning: Cuteness OVERLOAD!!

Thank you Kristen, Cenzy and the whole family for allowing us to play a small role in this amazing life you are giving sweet Cenzy. 100 years of memories is exactly what life is all about.

(And thank you to our awesome partners at Sand Highway RV in Sun City, AZ for all of your help!)

Want to help other children like Cenzy? Donate today, or visit our Events page to learn about upcoming fundraisers in your area. The nominations are not slowing down, and we need your help to continue making Memories For Life!

05 June, 2017

Tori meets Minnie Mouse! (and Snow White and giraffes!)

It is our great honor to introduce beautiful Tori to you! Tori was born on July 30, 2014 and was diagnosed with Krabbe disease in January 2015. In her short time, she did more than most do in a lifetime. She marked dozen of fun things off of her Bucket List and visit 15 states!! Sadly Tori left earth for heaven on March 27, 2016.
Sweet little girl 

Thankfully, the Quinn Madeleine Foundation was able to grant Tori a trip to Disney World, which was one of the main things on her Bucket List!

Look at that sweet little Minnie Mouse!!
Minnie is a favorite among sweet little girls-Quinn also got to meet her!

Tori took her 17th (!!!) flight to get to Disney. Tori invited her mom, dad, grandma, Uncle Tony, and Aunt Daun on her trip with her. We made sure they all felt welcomed and had her room all decorated for her.

Tori and her crew entered into Disney World in style-with Tori dressed as Minnie Mouse! They had a fun day planned and met so many characters. Disney was very accommodating with Tori and all her gear and let her skip the lines! She even got to meet Minnie Mouse!! They look so cute together.

On the Brackbill's 2nd day at Disney, they visited Animal Kingdom. They even got to take Tori on a safari and see real giraffes! This was extra special for Tori because she loooves giraffes and has an impressive stuffed giraffe collection.

Have you ever seen more stuffed giraffes?!? Or a cuter sweet little girl?!?

Tori ready for the day in her adorable giraffe outfit

Tori added this cute little guy to her collection

Tori could not end her trip there! First she was Minnie, then a giraffe, but the best was yet to come....Tori was also a princess!!! Tori celebrated her last day at Disney dressed as beautiful Snow White.

Tori almost missed meeting the real Snow White. But thanks to the help of some friends, they were able to dash across Disney World and get there just in time to meet her. Tori and Snow White had so much fun together!

Tori got to meet some other princesses too!

We are so thankful that we were able to grant this magical wish for Tori and her family. She was such a beautiful little girl and we are so sad that she is no longer with us. You can learn more about Krabbe disease and Tori's Bucket List on her mama's blog-The Adventures of the Brackbill Family or on Tori's facebook page here.

To help grant more wishes for terminally ill babies like Tori, you can visit Quinn Madeleine Foundation for more information-www.quinnmadeleine.org

03 December, 2015

Can you tell Talynn how to get to Sesame Place?

Well, here it is December and I am now catching up with our May Quinn's List trip. For shame!!

Shameful mainly because I have kept this unbelievably adorable, want to hug her little self and eat her cheeks little girl from you for all this time. That was very selfish of me, and for that I apologize. To make up for it... here is the story of dear sweet Talynn.

Can you EVEN?!

Waaaaay back in March, a cousin of mine directed me to
Talynn's Facebook page asking if I could help the family. After connecting with Talynn's sweet mama Taylor, we were off and running!

As it turned out, Talynn, mom Taylor and dad Chad were heading from their home in North Carolina up to Maryland for their cousin's graduation in May. Since they would already be traveling, Taylor thought that would be a great time for their Quinn's List experience, and mentioned their hope to bring Talynn to Sesame Place.

Say no more!

We were able to connect with Sesame Place and, after much conversation convincing them that we could not, in fact, go through Make-a-Wish but rather were our own organization helping a separate population, they turned out to be most generous benefactors of Talynn's trip. Sesame Place donated the family's tickets, arranged special seating for the "Let's Play Together" show and surprised us with a private Meet & Greet with some Sesame characters. QMF was also able to arrange for Talynn and her family to spend their rest periods in a private cabana at Count's Spash area.

(Prepare yourself for the ridiculous cuteness ahead.)

Sporting her Quinn's List Kid shirt

I think the characters were as enamoured with Talynn as I am!

Sweet Sweet Girl!

After an overnight stay at the Springhill Suites directly next door to Sesame Place, Talynn and her family were ready for another adventure! Philadelphia Zoo was just a 40 minute drive from Langhorne PA, where Sesame Place and their hotel were located. The zoo was another amazing partner to this trip and really went out of their way to make it special for Talynn and supplied the family's entry tickets free of charge! Unfortunately due to some unforseen traffic, the family was not able to make their private tour. Talynn, mom and dad still had a great day at the zoo.

"Talynn was chosen to be a part of the Quinn's List Kid [program].
This foundation is AMAZING!!!
They made it possible for us to take a much needed family vacation."
-Taylor, Talynn's mom

Thank you, Taylor & Chad, for allowing us to be a small part of Talynn's big life!

Aaand... want to know the most fun update ever?! Talynn is now... a BIG SISTER!! Baby sister Tinlee was born just this past Friday. Check out what 6 months will do to a gal like Talynn - she's a legit Big Kid now!

Big Sister Talynn with Little Sister Tinlee
Follow Talynn - and Tinlee! - on Talynn's Facebook pageAlso check out the Bohring-Optiz Syndrome Foundation to learn more about this disease and what you can do to help, founded by none other than Talynn mama Taylor along with another amazing BOS mom.

18 September, 2015

Paxton's Canadian Warm Waters

So many months have gone by since our last post. That is not to say that we haven't been busy fulfilling Quinn's List dreams - quite the opposite, actually! These months have seen an enormous uptick in activity, from our first annual Feel the Breeze 5k in May to fielding ten new Quinn's List nominations!

Unfortunately while we were doing that, our recap of the Quinn's List trips fell to the wayside. But we are getting back on track (very thankful for Google calendars and reminder alerts!). 

And with that, I present to you... Paxton's Canadian Warm Waters!

Paxton was the very first Quinn's List Kid who found us. His sweet mama located our organization and contacted us for our help. And while we hate that she had to, we are so glad that she was able to!

Paxton was also unique in that he was our first Canadian Wish Kid! I used to work with many Canadians and developed a strong affinity for their kindness and sense of community. Kassie and Graham, Paxton's awesome parents, did not disappoint!

When we connected, Kassie expressed Paxton's love of warm water. Mind you, this was the winter. In Alberta. So, not so much warm water to be had. But there was another piece of information in Kassie's email; that is, Paxton had some cousins in neighboring British Columbia who he had not yet had a chance to meet.

That's all we needed!

We found an amazing partner in the Best Western PLUS Kelowna, a beautiful resort town in southern British Columbia, not too far from Paxton's local family. The wonderful Group and Tour Coordinator, Ginette, handled everything beautifully and became a true partner in this Quinn's List Wish. They were honored to be selected as the venue for Paxton's Wish (more of that Canadian goodness!).

The hotel closed the indoor pool for upwards of an hour and a half each day that Paxton and his family were visiting. This allowed sweet Paxton and his mom and dad time to revel in the warm water of their now-private indoor pool.

Paxton with dad Graham
with his mama, Kassie

And revel, truly, is not quite the word as Paxton really started showing off... when he began walking in the water!! For the parents of a child who will never walk on the earth, this is just a true gift - especially as it had been quite a while since Paxton had done this. Check out fantastic video below!

Paxton, Kassie and Graham spent some time together alone - and some time together with a whole big family! Yep - Paxton got to meet those adorable cousins and aunts and uncles (and really, more importantly, they got to meet Pax!).

Check out Pax's hand <3

Big Man on Campus, just hanging with the big kids
so much love!

From mom Kassie, after the trip:

Thanks again,
we definitely made some amazing memories!

Thank you, Kassie, for letting us be a small part of Paxton's life. A life that was cut way too short. 

Just two months after Paxton completed his Wish Trip, he joined our Quinn and Bryce and all of the other angel babies.

It's what makes this job simultaneously the best and the hardest job ever. But it's why we persist in making Memories for Life. Tomorrow is not promised.

Shout out to Laura, General Manager at Okanagan Limousine for donating the limousine transportation to and from Kelowna Airport for our sweet family. A special thanks to our amazing donors - without you all, none of this would be possible. To learn more about Quinn's List, and how you can help make a Wish Trip possible for other children like Paxton, please visit our site.