A word about family as we prepare for the Miracle Marathon

I’m writing this on May 17, my daughter’s 22nd birthday. May is a busy month for my family. There’s Mother’s Day, Elizabeth’s birthday, my wedding anniversary and, of course, the Miracle Marathon. It’s a month totally consumed with families, mine and otherwise.

This will be the 14th Miracle Marathon for Dave and me. Every year, we get to meet new families, new patients, new kids and new doctors, and we get to visit with some old ones, too.  Every year, I learn something new and it’s not always a good thing. Every year, there is a new illness, a new problem and always a new loss.

I approach each Miracle Marathon with slight trepidation because I never know what the new year will bring. But, the one certain that I always walk away with as the marathon ends is that family is everything. In this time of great uncertainty, the one constant always is family.

When you become a parent, it is one of the greatest days of your life. You dream of the future and the days to come and wonder what your child will grow up to be and how your family will blossom. You never dream of sickness and disease or struggle and pain.

Unfortunately, these are the issues facing many families and patients at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. It’s a terrible thing to be told that your child is ill. It’s the beginning of a terrible journey, and the future is so uncertain. Every parent wants to just wave a magic wand and make it all go away. It’s your child. It’s your family.

I have great admiration for the doctors and caregivers here at Children’s. There is no task too great, no request too big or too small. This is a hospital made for the specific purpose of healing families. It is an amazing thing to watch and an amazing thing to experience. We all try to be the best parents we can be, but sometimes we need some help along the way, and I’m grateful that Children’s is here. The people at Children’s know what we as parents don’t, and they are here to help with situations we can’t fix. They’re family.

So, on this special day – my daughter’s 22nd birthday – I salute the families and the patients and the doctors and caregivers. I’m glad that they are a part of my family, too.

-Carole Caine, WKLH 96.5.

Let’s work TOGETHER as one!

This year was the 33rd Annual Briggs & Al’s Run and Walk for Children’s Hospital. It happened in the streets of downtown Milwaukee on October 9th. On that day 15,800 people came together as one to work for one common goal, the children currently being cared for at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

Dave and I were again fortunate to be a part of the event. It really is one the coolest things I have ever seen. It is hard to describe to those who have never witnessed it; thousands of people running and walking to help families, many strangers that they have never met. It is an awe inspiring moment as you see person after person cross the starting line, all joined together to help their community.

There are families of children who are currently in the hospital, families of children who have been treated at the hospital and families of children who, sadly, are not with us anymore. It’s a bittersweet moment, but, you know that you’ve helped…even if just a little bit.

I can never begin to understand what the families of those children go through. A life turned upside down by illness. A life disrupted by an unforgiving and unwelcome guest; a club that you never wanted to be a member of. How do you cope? How do you keep a sense of normalcy in what is a very abnormal situation?

I know that the staff at Children’s does everything it can do to try and help the family in crisis maintain a sense of togetherness, even though many times the family can’t be together. So, here we are at the Holiday Season. It’s the time of year when we want to be with family. It’s the time of year that all of the past years problems should be set aside and we should be thankful for what we have. How is that possible with a sick child? How can a family lean on each other for support if they are not together? We know that support is needed year round, but it is really highlighted at the holidays. Imagine standing in a hospital elevator and the only option you have is the floor where your child is being treated. There is no “home” button to press.

That’s why this year 96.5 WKLH and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin would like you to help bring families Together for the Holidays. It’s a new program that will give you the opportunity to help these families in crisis. Check it out at chw.org/together to find out all the details to help. A donation of just $25 can help a family. The money will be used to provide transportation assistance, hotel stays and meals for the patient families. It is a wonderful way to make a real difference for the holiday season. If all of the 15,000+ people who came together in October donated, imagine the impact it would make and the help it would provide.

Let’s work together as one again, as a community again. Let’s help everyone be Together for the Holidays. When you are with your family this season give thanks for all that you have and be proud to say that you’ve helped someone else. It’s what the holidays are all about.

~ Carole Caine, 96.5 WKLH

Dave and Carole host the Miracle Marathon each year on WKLH. Read more about Together for the Holidays and Miracle Marathon.

Remembering Mike

mike-h-caine-blogThere’s a saying that out of the mouths of babes comes wisdom. It is something I learn every year. The Miracle Marathon not only is a time when we as adults should take the time to help a very important facility. It also is the time that we should take to listen to what the youth of today is telling us. Sometimes we can learn very important life lessons from the young.

I know that as adults, we feel we are the ones who should lead. But as adults, we also should be able to recognize brilliance in people of any age. I have learned many things from the young people we have interviewed during the Miracle Marathon. The children who are battling for their lives very often have important lessons for us all.

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An obsession with reality

We have an obsession in America, an obsession with reality…reality shows that is. We will spend hours discussing “The Situation,” the housewives from whatever county and countless other shows. The question is why? Why do we even care about these overpaid, overhyped and self-absorbed people? It truly is a cultural mystery.

What we should be concerned about is real reality. It is the daily lives of real people, complete with their ups and downs, their best days and their worst.

It’s been a tough year for a lot of families, and I’m not just talking about the economy. This year, I saw two families do something unimaginable. The reality for these families was that they were burying their children. Dave and I met these families through the Miracle Marathon. They were kind enough to allow us to hear their stories and the struggles that they were going through.

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