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Friday, March 7, 2008 - 2:03pm

A great friend of ours (Joel Fleischman) has come up with another one of his creative ideas to raise additional money and add some extra fun to the Team Hailey 5K Run/Walk For a Cure on April 26th. I am going to simply cut and paste the description written by him below. Before I do, however, I feel the need to explain Joel's sense of humor if that is possible. All of us who went to college together understand, but many of you do not know him. A simple example. Joel is the guy that went out and bought a pair of extra tight, shiney grey, ALL LEATHER pants (purposely as ugly, crazy, and tight as he could find them) and wore them to my bachelor party. And wore them all night long with a bannana stuffed in his mid section for effect. The bannana became completely crushed and gushy about one hour into the night, yet he did not remove it until the end of the evening. Upon removal, he ate the bannana and then it took 6 guys to pull the pants off of him because they had literally adhered to his skin. As I type this I fear the description is no where near as funny and harmless as it may read to all of you who don't know him, but trust me, it was hilarious, and this is one of the most creative, good hearted (and at times, "off the wall") guys I know. As odd as it may sound, we're glad to have him in our corner.

So here it is..."The PLGA BEAT DOWN CHALLENGE"...in Joel's words:

TO BE ELIGIBLE: Male “non runners” only. Non-runner is loosely defined as someone who hates running and does not run “regularly.” You can train as hard as you like once you are signed up for this event. If you are already “in shape” please still run in this event, you just aren't eligible for the beat down challenge. The first 20 male non-runners to sign up will compete. (to register just email joel.fleischman@furnishanddesign.com say you are “in” by April 1st and state your t-shirt size.) And don’t forget to register officially for the race at www.teamhailey.org. The BEAT DOWN TEAM NAMES WILL BE ANNOUNCED BEFORE THE RACE FOR ULTIMATE PRE EVENT MOTIVATION AND TRASH TALK.

THE CHALLENGE:

First 3 places win money. After that every place pays PLGA Foundation an escalating dollar amount.

4th place pays $20
5th , $25
6th , $30
7th , $35
8, 40
9, 45
10, 50
11, 55
12, 60
13, 65
14, 70
15, 75
16, 80
17, 85
18, 90
19, 100
20, 105

YOU MUST PAY IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE RACE to JOEL FLEISCHMAN! NO EXCEPTIONS.

The REWARDS: 1st Place $75 cash, 2nd place $25 cash, 3rd place $25 cash. Money for Charity raised $1000! Your total possible commitment is $105 to a great cause! All contestants will receive a free t-shirt (in addition to the one given by team hailey for entering the race) that says “I HATE RUNNING & PLGA SUCKS.” T-SHIRTS ARE SPONSORED BY CAMPBELLSPORT, BERLIN, AND KEIL BUILDING SUPPLY (www.furnishanddesign.com) AND WILL BE ORDERED APRIL 2ND. We will plan on wearing these for the race, so we know our competition, also because it will look cheesy, and to raise awareness of this disease. Also CBS and its other stores will pay for the first drink at the bar “of choice” after the race for all contestants.

 

Side bets among the 20 ‘BEAT DOWN THE PLGA TEAMS” is highly encouraged!

 

Please pass on to all MALE non-runners that want to have fun and support a great charity!

 

Questions about the beat down PLGA challenge contact joel.fleischman@furnishanddesign.com

I can’t think of any reason to run besides helping out PLGA research.

Friday, February 29, 2008 - 9:50am

We’re still here. Admittedly, we are in a rut right now with journal entries. At times, it feels exhausting to sit down and try to capture in words what we are experiencing.

One thing we did do that we would like to share with all of you is put together a video to use at our events, put on the website, and probably put on YouTube. We started working on this several months ago and the first version is complete. This video is different than the one some of you may have seen put together by my cousin Carolyn's AMA group, although some of the same home video footage was used. The purpose of our video was to give people a fairly quick visual look at just a small slice of what we experience, our family, and this battle we are undertaking. It is also a chance to display a little bit of educational information about this tumor in a different way, and get more exposure for Team Hailey and the PLGA Foundation. Check it out by clicking on the link below. It’s 7 minutes long. The video is now at the top of our home page as well. Thanks to the good people at Together Wedding in Hortonville, for donating their time and energy over the last few months to put this together for us. We cannot thank them enough for their generosity in the support of our cause.

http://teamhailey.org/myvideo.php

On the family front…Hailey is up to 23.72 pounds. She has experienced some overall weight gain in the last 6 weeks. She is talking a lot and is a very “busy” little girl. Side effects that we are able to notice on the surface have fortunately been manageable. Loss of appetite, a touchy nervous system, and therefore an inability to cope at times have been about the worst of it. What is happening inside her body that we cannot see or are unaware of…a very scary question. We are over halfway done with her 70-week chemotherapy regimen. This past Tuesday when we were getting ready for our trip, I had a flashback to how I felt when we really learned what was in store for our little girl. My heart ached when I thought about Hailey going through chemotherapy and not understanding why Mommy and Daddy were putting her through something so awful. For the first time, Hailey understands what it means to go to Madison and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with it. She kept asking over and over “Where we going??? Where we going???” It was almost if she could sense that today was not a “normal” day. We tried everything to not answer that question and divert her attention. Finally we had to tell her that we were going to Madison and she just cried “Me don’t want to go to Madison” over and over again. She didn’t want to get dressed. Brian and I had to literally force her to get dressed and the best we could do is get a shirt and pants on her. No socks, shoes, or a jacket. Faith has come along the last two weeks and I do think that it has helped Hailey. We really do see Hailey turning to Faith more and more for comfort. Once we’re on the road for a bit, Hailey does calm down and the rest of the day is fine. She continues to get upset and cry during vital signs, height and weight check, and of coarse getting her port accessed. After that it’s really not too bad. Faith thinks going to Madison is great. She gets to watch movies, play with new toys, eat lunch there, go for wagon rides and get stickers. What could be better. We don’t let Faith watch Hailey getting her port accessed. Once Hailey gets hooked-up to her chemo and we have the I.V. pole, Faith asked “Why does Hailey have to be hooked up to that pole and what’s in those bags?” We explained to her that it is medicine for the ouchie in Hailey’s head.” As I type, I just can’t help thinking that 4 year olds shouldn’t have to wonder about things like that. The two should be running around at a gym or in a playroom somewhere…NOT hooked up to a pole through a port underneath the skin that pumps toxic, poisonous medicine into her body 2 hours away from home in a hospital full of sick kids. Definitely not what we dreamed for our children.

Faith is becoming a bigger girl every day. She just finished her first ballet class. Most weeks she enjoyed it, although she is probably just a little too young for something like that (at least for her personality). We got some great footage the first week of her participating in the class with a HUGE smile on her face and having an absolute blast. It was so fun to watch. There were some other weeks, however, where she wanted nothing to do with it, but we used it as an opportunity to talk with her about sticking with something you start, and trying harder the next time, etc. All in all, I think we learned we’ll wait a little while before the next class. Although she says she wants to take Karate now and be like Helga on American Gladiators. She is something else…Faith that is, not Helga.

Monday, February 11, 2008 - 1:51pm

Brian and I want to take a moment to thank everyone that has been praying for Hailey and our family, emailing Oprah, sharing thoughts through guest book entries, the many gift cards for gas and groceries, buying items from the Team Hailey Store, attending events, making us meals, and generously donating to the PLGA Foundation. Please know that even though we may not be able to contact each and every one of you personally, it gives us strength to know that so many people are behind us and are supporting our fight for a cure.

It never ceases to amaze me how Hailey's story has spread beyond our family and friends. Earlier this summer, my cousin Jim Olson, did a 24-hour fishing fundraiser in Tomahawk, WI. His efforts not only raised money, but also awareness in the Tomahawk area. Recently, an employee from Packaging Corporation of America named Dale Strassman contacted him. He remembered hearing about Jim's fishing fundraiser and wanted more information about the PLGA Foundation because his union recycles scrap metal and donates the money to a charity. We were lucky enough that they chose the PLGA Foundation. Their recycling efforts raised $4,000!!!! Click on the link to see this story in the Tomahawk newspaper.

We are headed back to Madison tomorrow. We're starting our next 10-week chemotherapy cycle. We've had the last 3 weeks off and it's been so nice to have a break. I’m sure Brian and I will get that feeling of dread tonight, we always do. At the end of the day, we can cross-off one more chemotherapy session. Once we get back home tomorrow, normal life will resume. We’ll all go and watch Faith at her ballet class. Hailey likes to join the group too. It brings a smile to our faces to watch them dance around the floor. Those are the moments to treasure.

We hope that everyone has a very Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 1, 2008 - 11:48am

Some business items first:

Registration and sign up for the Team Hailey 5K Run/Walk is live! For those interested in more information and/or participating, please go to the EVENTS section of this site. We hope to make this our biggest and most successful event to date!

We have also added a kids Team Hailey t-shirt option to our online store. Be sure to read the Sizing Information near the top of the store site before ordering any of our shirts.

And soon we will have a Hailey brand Coffee and Cocoa product available through our store as well. There will be a small variety of flavors offered and the packaging of the product will have Hailey's picture on it and be specific to Team Hailey and the PLGA Foundation. Thanks in advance to Keevie Bremhorst with Inspired Grounds for the idea and the opportunity to add this product to our store.

No word from Oprah's people yet.

As far as the family is concerned…Hailey and Faith are doing well. We have been off from treatments for a couple weeks. We start the regimen again on February 12th. All in all Hailey continues to handle things fairly well most days. At her last appointment a few weeks ago, she had not gained any more weight from her spike up above 22 pounds. She had not lost weight, but she has not gained either. Hailey’s also had a cough and cold, which means she has been throwing up more again. When she coughs, she gags and if she gags and has a full stomach, it all comes back up. I've said it before, but I just never thought I would be cleaning up so much vomit in my lifetime. It really is a disgusting and demoralizing task. Hard for anyone to truly understand unless you live it. Besides from that, I guess Hailey is doing well. She is talking a lot and continuing to do all the things most 2 year olds will do...good and bad. We've noticed her and Faith playing together on their own more often for periods of time. This is a nice change for us for two reasons: 1.) It is really important to us that Faith and Hailey be close. And 2.) It actually gives us a minute to breathe more often and focus on something else in the house besides the demands of a two and four year old. Faith is doing well also. She is a good big sister most days and a great helper to Shannon and I. She has her moments like any young kid, but she seems to be happy and thriving and relatively unaffected to this point by the challenges we are faced with. We’re watching her closely and trying to spread the love and attention as evenly as possible.

Otherwise, it is business as usual over here. Raising children, caring for Hailey, going to doctor appointments, fundraising, trying to maintain businesses, stay in shape, see other family and friends, and just generally stay sane. Some days are easier than others.