The first of 4 Care Packages (wagons & fun filled backpacks) delivered to Rocky Mountain Oncology.
I don’t look at wagons the same anymore.
When my kids were both little, they loved to be pulled around the yard and neighborhood in a wagon or fill their wagons with treasures as they set out on their little neighborhood adventures.
And then, Ali got sick. And a wagon became central to our universe.
One day, early in her diagnosis, we were at the hospital, waiting as the technicians fitted her for her radiation mask. There, Craig and I were holding our coats and her bag of clothes and water bottles — and feeling completely weak with emotion.
We had seen another mom and a boy Ali’s age. And the boy was in a soft, canvas wagon, the utility kind you see at Sam’s Club or Costco, as his mom pulled him cuddled in a blanket with his stuffed animals, through the hospital.
“I am going to Costco,” I remember Craig telling me. And that afternoon he picked up a red wagon that became our constant companion.
It held Ali as she became too tired or sick to walk into the hotels or hospital from the car when we’d go to Denver for treatments. It allowed us to bring items to add to her comfort as we journeyed all around hospital departments. On good days, Ali could even pretend the wagon was taking her on an adventure —even if it was just to the cafeteria for snacks.
One of the many lovely gifts we received on our journey was a full size backpack filled with toys and prizes, perfect for a sweet little girl.
However, on the day the backpack first came to us, it was one of my worst. It seemed that every day we were in the hospital we’d received so many lovely gifts from thoughtful parents who had walked in our shoes.
The problem was — none of these parents had a happy ending to tell. It was hard to face the reality that these children were no longer here. And the horrifying thought that I refused to think—“would she make it?”
But as Ali started pulling out all the treasures the backpack held that afternoon I started loading up all of her essentials- I was filled with sorrow for those families and yet thankful that someone knew we needed this gift before we knew we needed it.
And just like that the wagon and the backpack were now part of every trip, every outing.
They were items that brought comfort to us at our darkest time.
And I promised myself after Ali passed that someday, someway, I would pay forward that small comfort that others had once brought to us.
That is how the Ali Shae Coleman Pink Rose Foundation was born.
In the year that has passed, we have carefully gathered all of the items in the wagons and backpacks, and thanks to the Spa Day, Cocoa events, and our generous sponsors we’ve raised enough funds to serve patients and families in meaningful ways.
On Wednesday, February 21, Craig and I humbly delivered the first of four completed Care Packages (wagons and fun filled backpacks) to our friends at Rocky Mountain Oncology.
After we rolled in the wagon, and hugged the staff, we stepped outside to get into our cars and go on with our days. We were light with our conversation, but there was so much unspoken between us.
As we deliver on our mission, we will feel the pain of the families we are serving with each and every wagon we fill and every backpack we stuff.
But we will also feel the connection to our sweet, beautiful angel, Ali, and that will drive us forward forever more.