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.

28 January, 2015

Piper + Dolls (and Food!) = Love

Way (waaaay) back in September, we had the amazing honor of working with our second Quinn's List family. This one was a little different from the first - this family lives in California and Piper, our Quinn's List Kid, was not one of the Niemann-Pick children. This was a new family, a new horizon and one that - while we wished with all our hearts we didn't have to - we welcomed.

To see Piper's photos is to love her. Penelope "Piper" Collins' fierce personality shines through her dimples and big grins, and makes you just want to laugh with her until your belly hurts. She was a scant 13months old when she took her Quinn's List Wish Trip, and by all accounts, loved every moment.

That Face!
Photo courtesy of facebook.com/TeamPiper

When I spoke with Katie, Piper's mom, she said there were two things in the world Piper loves most - Dolls and Food. Living in the Los Angeles area, it was a no-brainer: a day at American Girl Place. This Wish was near and dear to me because it was one of the adventures Quinn got to go on, and I know how wonderful the memories are from that day. 

Happy faces, beautiful memories with Quinn at AG Place NYC.
I just know that she and Piper would have been a force to be reckoned with!

Along with Katie and Piper were Big Brother Evan and a family friend. The mini-posse enjoyed lunch at the American Girl cafe before embarking on a tour of the store. Big Brother even got in on the fun with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle "doll" to accompany him. After lunch, Piper picked out her very own American Girl Doll and brought it to the 'salon' to get a new hairdo.

Piper and her beautiful mama at lunch, celebrating Piper :)
I think she liked her cake :)
Piper checking out her options
Stylin' her new baby doll - with purple ribbons, of course ;)
so sweet!

From Katie, Piper's Mom:

It was a perfect day for her. She was able to eat lunch with a doll next to her, pick out her very own doll to take home (which was not an easy decision), and her new doll even got a new 'do! The staff at the store said they  had never seen such a young baby so enamored by dolls. It has almost been a year since Piper's cancer journey began, and in this year I have seen the good, the great, and the amazing in people. Words will never be able to express our gratitude to Quinn Madeleine Inc.

Katie, we feel equally as speechless in expressing our honor of being part of Piper's happiness, even just for one day.

Learn more about Piper and follow her journey and that of her amazing family at Facebook.com/TeamPiper.

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 Piper, please visit our site.

18 October, 2014

The Great Adventures of Bryce Allen

Starting a wish-granting organization is kind of the best job ever.  Think about it - spending your time setting up experiences and trips designed solely to make small children and their families smile?  Seriously - Best.Job.Ever.

My first foray into this arena under Quinn Madeleine was for a little boy very near and dear to our hearts here at QMI.  Bryce was just 21 months old when he had his Wish experience in June. He is afflicted by Niemann-Pick Disease, Type A - the same disease that stole our Quinn.

Bryce is an adorable little man, who loves fire trucks, cartoons on his iPad and giraffes.  In so many ways, your typical almost two-year old.  

Look at that grin!!

When I spoke to Cortney, Bryce's amazing mama, she told me about these likes of Bryce's.  He has a big 'in' with the fire department where he lives and has had many fire truck encounters so we decided to do something with giraffes instead.  

A few google searches led me to the Elmwood Park Zoo, and we are so lucky they did!  The Elmwood Park Zoo not only has giraffes, you can actually feed them!!  So cool :)  The zoo was amazing and so excited that Bryce was coming, they pulled out all the stops.  A private feeding with not only the giraffes but their trainers (who knew giraffes could do tricks?!).  They provided the tickets for Bryce, his mom and his grandma along with lunch and a special gift basket filled to the brim with giraffe fun!  And because the zoo was relatively close to Bryce's hometown, many of his extended family were there to enjoy the day with him.

Bryce and his mama feeding the giraffe
Bryce and his grandma <3

the fun didn't stop with the giraffes!
Giraffes may be fun to look at,
but the small soft bunnies were more Bryce's speed

too cool, chilling with his swag
A roundtrip would have been too much for little Bryce in the car - and who wanted the fun to end??  Hyatt house Philadelphia/Plymouth Meeting was the next destination, for a little mama-grandma-Bryce overnight party.  And like the zoo, the folks at Hyatt Place could not have been nicer, more accommodating nor more excited to have Bryce and his family - they even donated the room!!

Busy boy!  Bryce also took a trip to Build-A-Bear :)

From Cortney, Bryce's mom:
"Thank you so much for doing this we had an absolute amazing time. Everyone loved it. And Bryce did so amazing. He liked being out side very happy all day long! I think [he was] a little afraid of the giraffe - they are big! But [he] loved the rabbit and birds!"

If you find the timing of this post a little suspect - mid-October, for a trip that occurred in mid-June - you would be correct.  The summer flew by with lots of planning and nitty-gritty details with the QMI launch and starting this blog unfortunately fell to the wayside.  And as with so many things in life, it took something not so great to put things back into perspective again.

Over the course of the past few weeks, Bryce has had a bad cold. A cold which with a healthy child would have been no big deal.  But with an NPA child, it is literally the exact opposite of no big deal.  Cortney posted just yesterday asking for good thoughts, prayers, comfort vibes - whatever people can send, as Bryce is not doing well.  So I, in turn, am putting this request out to you.  Please, put good thoughts out to the universe for Bryce and his family, especially his mama Cortney.  Thoughts of peace and comfort and love.  

You can follow Bryce on his Facebook page - The Great Adventures of Bryce Allen.

Special thanks to Jennifer and the staff at Elmwood Park Zoo and John and the staff at Hyatt Place Philadelphia/Plymouth Meeting for helping to create an amazing experience for Bryce and his entire family. And of course, to all of our donors.  Without you, none of this would be possible!