Childhood is about all those amazing milestones, memories and just being kids. As parents we want to not only give our kids a happy childhood but we want to see them thrive, grow and become amazing people. But, for some kids… childhood is full of doctor’s visits, hospitalization, treatment, pain, isolation and hopefully some kind of answers and support.
For some kids… they may not have the option to grow or thrive.
When a child is diagnosed with a chronic illness life isn’t the same. The day-to-day joys take a back seat to everything else the child and family endure. Emotional, physical and financial stress takes it’s toll on everyone. Family ties wear thin, the chains of friendship tend to break and the feeling that most people just don’t understand what you are going through clouds your life.
Every step forward is a challenge when each step is met with pain, uncomfortable glances, judgment, little to no progression and loneliness.
The Starlight Children’s Foundation helps children with chronic illness. Their Great Escapes program involves all inclusive events where the families can just enjoy their time with their children while someone else worries about all the details. For some families these Great Escape events might be among the last outings they’ll have with their sick children.
My daughter is a Starlight Kid and part of their Great Escapes program. This organization provides our family with amazing adventures where my daughter can develop emotional companionship, feel extraordinarily special and be in an environment that is accepting and friendly. The events, celebrities that we meet and memories are amazing and priceless…
But, in a very selfish world the fact we have a community to be a part of that truly is accepting and friendly is worth more than words can explain.
We were invited to a Harry Potter themed Bowling party that was generously donated by the Bickerstaff Family. Lunch was provided by CPK and dessert by Dandy Don’s Ice Cream. Mixing Harry Potter and Bowling was the perfect combination for our lil pack of geekery.
In all honesty I went shopping for my costume in my own closet… and added Slytherine knee-high socks!
I grew up bowling at every family reunion, cosmic bowling with friends in high school and it’s been sad at all the closings of great lanes over the years. The AMF Cerritos Lanes are on my top list of local bowling facilities and I still can’t believe I have never been there before! The place was immaculate and everything ran smoothly! It didn’t smell like bowling shoes!! The entire staff was super friendly, helpful and fun. They have reasonable prices and great party packages. This is going to become a new favorite spot for our family and friends. My daughter is now considering a birthday bowling party. I even wore bowling shoes… which is kind of a big deal considering I have this anti-feet-issue and the thought of putting my feet where other feet have sweat…. uuuuuugggghhhh…. But, they passed my crazy expectations!
Though, I did ask for the counter girl to give my shoes an extra spray!
Then… there was John Stamos.
Yes, the real John Stamos. I have a picture of him with the kids from a Starlight Event from last year but I didn’t get a picture with him. I decided to change that this year. Rawr.
All you Uncle Jesse fans… be jealous. That man still has his charisma and boyish charm. He was very sweet with the kids and took the time to talk to every family and take many pictures. He even did some dancing in the Dance Off Competition (which, BTW, my son was one of the lucky winners… that boy knows how to shake it!). There were some fun photo props as well…
We saw old friends… made new ones… welcomed new families to the Starlight Community and had a blast. My daughter got her face painted which was her favorite part of the event besides bowling.
We are forever thankful for these events and this organization that really knows how to help children, and their families, cope with serious illness. My daughter looks forward to every Starlight Great Escapes event we are able to attend. Every donation, gift and volunteer helps a Starlight Kid in so many ways. There are many ways you can help a child like mine or her friends by supporting this organization.
This is not a sponsored review… I was not compensated in any way to write about Starlight or any of the companies mentioned. All honest opinions are my own.
About Leila DontSpeakWhinese
Leila, aka The Ninja, is the advocate for all things not whining. Parenting is fun when everyone stops b*tching! She is the Mom of a big blended family of five awesome kids. They ninja kick through life together. Oh and she is a total jackass.