First I want to say that donations are trickling in, and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being so kind and generous. I really hope I can send Children's Memorial Hospital a large donation, but even a small contribution is a wonderful gesture, and I am touched by how giving people are, especially during this time of year. It is amazing to me that people who've never met me in person are so willing to share their good fortune with others in need. Amazing, but not surprising. It's truly a beautiful thing.
Remember, by sending me a check for $5 made payable to the Children's Memorial Foundation gets you into the drawing for a Romantic Times subscription. (See the 12/31 sticky post for more info).
One event I've started participating in is the United Airlines' Operation North Pole, aka the Fantasy Flight. Every year at this time, employees and their family and friends come together to make a special holiday memory for terminally ill children. What we do is decorate a gate at O'Hare airport, and turn it into the North Pole. Classrooms make decorations for us, and many others are donated for the event. It's incredible to see pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, customer service agents and others come together to make this day as wonderful as possible for these children. Last night I was there to help decorate, and to see these ramp servicemen, tired and cold and disheveled, after they've been there since 3am, coming over to help put huge displays together without complaint, well it's really very sweet.
What happens is the kids are brought to the airport to one gate, where they are boarded onto the plane and given special first class treatment, each and every one. They used to actually fly the plane and circle up to Milwaukee, but now they just taxi on the airport grounds and "land" at a different gate. The shades are pulled down so the little kids have no idea the plane doesn't actually take off, and when they get off the plane, they are at the North Pole, complete with Santa Claus, music, face painters, and all kinds of fun activities. It is a wondrous sight.
The "flight" is actually in progress as I type this. I wanted to be there tonight, but I forgot to get the necessary clearance to be there a 2nd day. But my thoughts and prayers are with those brave little kids, and I hope this is one of their happiest moments. Sadly, I heard last night that a couple of them are too sick to make it today. My heart is breaking for them right now. They are all in my prayers. If you have kids or know of any close to you, I'd be giving them a big ole hug right about now...