Heart Walk 2014

by

While I was walking Rudy into the Kindergarten play yard from the parking lot one day last week, one of his classmates walked alongside us and politely peppered me with questions about Rudy.  After a little pause in our conversation she asked “How old is Rudy?” and I said “He’ll be 6 next Wednesday.”.  Without hesitation she said “WOW! He’s old!”.  I think I surprised her a bit when I threw my head back in laughter and responded “You have no idea how glad I am to hear you say that!  We sure have lots to celebrate next week!.”  🙂  Even though this little one is likely only a few months behind Rudy in age, I love that there are now kids younger than Rudy who see him as a “big boy”…a GREAT reminder of how far Rudy has come!  🙂

The celebration of Rudy’s 6th birthday started early yesterday with a fun turn out for the American Heart Association’s annual Heart Walk.  The crazy heat wave finally broke early last week and we enjoyed a gorgeous Saturday morning along Cabrillo with the ocean as our back drop.  Local friends along with some friends from L.A. and Irvine joined us for the 5K Walk/Run and I’m SUPER proud to report that “Team Rudy” surpassed it’s 10K goal by raising a total of $11,620.00…putting our cumulative grand total at nearly $52,000.00!!!  TRULY AMAZING!  Well done everyone!

It was fun to share the morning, once again, with DP’s drum line and Westmont’s baseball team…with special “heart” buddies like fellow-survivor John Dixon and Logan’s mom, Rayme…and countless friends from the special community that surrounds our whole family.  What touched my heart most this year was watching how the big sibs engaged in the day…they put great thought into their plans leading up to the Heart Walk, took it upon themselves to invite friends and enjoyed the event together but in their own individual ways.  It’s familiar to them now, they’ve caught a vision and they were invested…LOVE IT!

Rudy?  Well, he definitely had a plan of his own as well.  After weeks of walking up a storm at home, he chose NOT to walk at the start of the event…stubborn would be putting it mildly.  It’s as if he was saying “I’m not your performing monkey” while refusing to walk in front of the drum line, cheerleaders, dozens of onlookers AND the media all waiting for him to triumphantly walk unassisted!!!  Rolf and I pulled out every trick in the book to coax him into walking but his determination to NOT walk was steadfast.  He did, however, feel all kinds of freedom to walk when all was said and done and the crowds were long gone!  Honestly!!!  🙂  I decided pretty quickly, though, that I can’t be too frustrated with him as it’s that stubborn streak of his that has likely contributed to where he is today…it’s a big part of what we’re celebrating in him this week!  🙂

Of course, celebrating Rudy goes hand-in-hand with acknowledging the hundreds of people in his life that have played a part in his successes…everyone from those who have said a prayer to those who are hands on in his care.  You are all heroes in our book and we invite you to share in the celebration!  To the larger “Team Rudy” community…YAY YOU!!!  We are so grateful!

Here are some HEART WALK 2014 highlights (by Greg Lawler):

Team Rudy was easily identified by our trademark blue balloons!

Team Rudy was easily identified by the trademark blue balloons!

Rudy sending off his friends with a fist pump at the start of the walk :)

Rudy sending off his friends with a fist pump at the start of the walk 🙂

"Ready, set, GO!"

“Ready, set, GO!”

NOPE!!  Rudy protested by refusing to put his feet down when Livy and I tried to help him along!!!

NOPE!! Rudy protested by refusing to put his feet down when Livy and I tried to help him along!!!

At one point he turned around and took a step or two in the opposite direction!

At one point he turned around and took a step or two in the opposite direction!

Even Daddy couldn't talk him into cooperating!

Even Daddy couldn’t talk him into cooperating!

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Rudy ended up catching a ride with Olivia and friends!

Rudy ended up catching a ride with Olivia and friends!

All smiles now!

All smiles now!

Another perfect day in Santa Barbara...

Another perfect day in Santa Barbara…

Rudy and his heart buddy John Dixon!

Rudy and his heart buddy John Dixon!

Rudy and the Westmont Warriors!

Rudy and the Westmont Warriors!

Rudy and the Dos Pueblos JV Cheerleaders!

Rudy and the Dos Pueblos JV Cheerleaders…

and the Varsity cheerleaders!

..and some of the Varsity cheerleaders!

Rudy and the Dos Pueblos drum line!

Rudy and the Dos Pueblos drum line!

Maxo and friends!

Maxo and friends!

Team Rudy ROCKS!!!!!

Team Rudy ROCKS!!!!!

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6 Responses to “Heart Walk 2014”

  1. Oma Says:

    what a wonderful group of supporters you have.!!!!
    The sweet boy has a mind of his own !!!! Yet he still can smile the special Rudy smile. God bless everyone who was on the walk and supports this special child .

  2. grace&marlin Says:

    As I sat in ICU this week with my dad, I was reminded of the weeks and weeks you spent in the hospital staring at monitors and holding your breath for any glimpse of hope….and now JUST LOOK AT HIM!!! Rudy is one amazing six-year old!!!! So thankful for God’s sustaining power to give Rudy such a love and fun-filled life!!!!

  3. Judy Salkeld Says:

    I agree with the above comments! Just want to add that I think Rudy just likes to be in control!

  4. Kelly Says:

    Go Rudy. Go! 6 years,that is truly Gods gift on earth!

  5. Patta Dietz Says:

    Happy Birthday, Rudy!! Sending love from Texas, Colorado, New Mexico.

  6. Grandma Jo Says:

    Would like to have been in the Rudy Team participants group–they are special. Tomorrow will be special too–6 years of lovin’ on Rudy!

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