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file under: "What the Legions are all about"...

 
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TheNegotiator (Derek Struchtemeyer)
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Joined: 04 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:12 am    Post subject: file under: "What the Legions are all about"... Reply with quote

You GA folks may recall that we recently made a hospital visit to a young fan named Grant at Children's Hospital in Atlanta.
Today I received a very nice (and detailed) message from mom expressing her and her family's appreciation. She graciously mentions the gifts we brought: the Clone Wars poster, the Boba Fett blaster, garrison trading cards, action figures, etc.
I figured that other troopers and rebels would like to read the inspirational words.

Hi Derek,
You must just think I'm an awful and ungrateful person for not sending a thank you immediately after your amazing visit to Grant...I can only say I'm so sorry, and that I was completely overwhelmed at the time...no excuse I know! I think of the 501st/Rebel Legion every time I walk in Grant's room and see his "Friend of the 501st" certificate on his shelf and his favorite poster hanging on his wall. I think of you in particular when the boys run around with Boba Fett's gun having a blast with each other. Grant's recovery was full of ups and downs. He was out of school until May, and was able to return with restricted interaction with his friends...very hard on a five year old to not be able to run and play with his friends. The day he returned, he took in blown up pictures of your visit with him along with your [trading] cards. It was quite the ice breaker, and took off the anxiety of everyone staring at him. They only wanted to stare at all of you!!! Needless to say he was officially the coolest kid in school. He graduated May 19th from preschool, and is officially on his way to kindergarten next year! He had his final post operative appointment two weeks ago, and he was given the okay to go swimming. So, life is finally feeling "normal" again for us. He still has stitches in his lip and nose that have yet to dissolve, and his nose is still swollen internally...but we're feeling very good about his surgery and recovery.

I can't thank you and the other guys enough for making such an impact on Grant's hospital stay. The amount of pain he was in was just terrible in the hospital. He had thrown up consistently every few hours right up until you came to visit. I tried to explain to friends Grant's state of mind, and all I could explain was looking at him was as if he had put himself in a deep trance to deal with the pain. He wasn't really communicating with us much, and had such a glossed over look in his eyes. Then came your visit...the turning point!!! Just before you came, he was fighting to stay awake from the morphine. Which is why my poor sister being the super protective aunt that she is...said she was nippy with everyone when she saw nurses taking pictures with all of you while he was waiting for your visit. Please know she is a very nice person, but knew how hard it was to keep him awake. She felt horrible after you all left! I think Grant was in a daze when he first saw you all in his room, and probably thought he was dreaming. As the reality of who was standing in front of him set in...his face and demeanor began to change. I could see clarity in his eyes again. The defining magical moment was when you handed him the Boba Fett gun. I think he truly believed he was a part of the 501st/Rebel Legion!!! All of a sudden, my wild little boy was back...shooting at his aunt, cousin and anyone else in his line of fire! It's a horrible feeling to see your child in a place of pain and suffering, yet an amazing feeling to have seen you all bring enough joy to him to summons his strength to push through it all and be a happy little boy again. From your visit on, our Grant was back! We left the hospital the next day, and while his pain continued he dealt with it in a much different way. I think he felt empowered by all of you (and the force)!

I know both Grant & Griffin have minor medical complications in the big spectrum of possibilities, but I appreciate that you didn't minimize his pain and the journey in life they will both have to travel. I'm so happy you all were able to visit with children that may have had serious, even life-threatening, medical conditions. I'm certain their parents were as grateful as we were. I, however, can only focus right now on the road ahead for my children. Instilling a strong sense of self-esteem and confidence is essential for years of questions they will face regarding their scars and speech. Thank you (and the others) from the bottom of my heart to have taken time from your personal lives to have touched my child's life, and help him find strength when he needed it.

Hopefully Megan Dobbs will be able to call upon the 501st/Rebel Legion again in the future for other children. I know the day after your visit, you all were the talk of the hospital...for both patients and staff!!! Haven't spoken to Megan either, so if you have any pictures...would love to see them too. Thank you for reaching out to me to check up on Grant, you're a great guy! Please let us know if you'll be doing any public events around town. Would love to see our 501st/Rebel Legion friends again...and no matter what you'll always be a part of our memories!
Thank you!

Doug, Diana, Grant & Griffin







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Funky Buns (Daphne Collier)
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Joined: 18 Jun 2006
Posts: 1187

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow....... That's very touching. I really love reading letters like this. Doesn't it make you feel like you really touched someone in their lives by doing things like this? It does for me. I think it's important to keep doing these visits.
A story to share:
My husband spent probably a good portion of his life in and out of the hospital when he was real little. I think he spent at least 2 or 3 Christmases and other holidays in the hospital too. He was a huge Star Wars fan back then, and I know if a Star Wars costuming organization like the RL and the 501st existed back then, and paid him a visit, he would've been ecstatic, despite all of the crap he had to go through while in the hospital.

Things like these visits help more than we probably can imagine. Even after they are long out of the hospital, I'm sure the memory of us being there will last a life time.
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Kryy Jacobi (Karyn W)
Bespin Base XO
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting that, Derek. I have kept in touch with a young boy we visited a year ago.... his ups and downs of cancer treatment....

It is a blessing to be able to do something to encourage these kids. They are the real heroes.
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Kryy Jacobi (Karyn W)
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have very sad news... young Gabe, who was scheduled for a bone marrow transplant tomorrow at Children's Health Care, passed away last night. He had developed pneumonia in both lungs and was on a breathing machine.

From the posting Saturday night on CarePages, it sounded like he was really miserable, but he stayed a brave young man and they were proceeding with the transplant. His seven year old brother would have been the donor.

His family has been courageous, and their faith in God has sustained them... they are truly amazing. But I know they would appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

And thank you all who participated in the "May the Force be with you" event last year. It meant a lot to the family.
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loosetoon (Steve)
Bespin Base CO
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Joined: 19 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very sorry to hear the bad news.
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Steve Vitale (loosetoon, TB-2719, Strike 2)
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Funky Buns (Daphne Collier)
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh no! I am very saddened by this news. Crying or Very sad
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Commander Cody (Jason R.)
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's sad Sad

The visit out to his family was one of the most memorable troops I've participated in. My thoughts go out to his family.
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Funky Buns (Daphne Collier)
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Karyn... PM sent...
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