A quick update on Jo. He is extremely stable and relaxed. He is physically stronger everyday and can now sit up for more than 25 minutes! It is not easy, and it obviously drains him but he never gives up! Each day he grows a little stronger, and he is working his way back to us, thank God. The past few days Jo has been less animated and engaging than in the past, we believe he may be a little sad about his current state. We can only imagine what it must be like to will your mind to make your body perform the simplest tasks. It must be extremely frustrating and depressing at times, it's not hard to understand why he has good days and bad. He still blesses us with his smile many times a day, it is truly amazing,
This Thursday my family and I were able to attend Jo's benefit marking both the most exciting and humbling event we have ever been part of. So many people took time out of their lives to help us we cannot begin to express our gratitude. Every detail was covered, and the spirit of love could not have been stronger. We hugged and laughed more people than we could count, it was such a special night.
There were so many contributions it was overwhelming. One thing that stuck out most to me and my family is how love carried the night, and despite the circumstances of our need for help, our friends and family were all in great spirits. All we heard was encouragement and words of faith and hope for Jo's full recovery. His story has touched many lives and as parents hearing that provides a sense of comfort despite our challenges. We did not spend a night hearing "I'm sorry" instead we heard "Jo's got this, and we love you". We can't tell you how important that is to us, our sense of hope is strong, but with your support our faith never waivers. One day at a time is our new family mantra.
A few notes of special thanks to the "Team Witzman" for organizing, planning, and directing this amazing event. Pennie, Val, Brenda, Wendy, and Manette, along with their amazing families, made us feel so special. We still don't know how you did it, but we could never thank you enough. We know you were not alone, please pass along our deepest gratitude to everyone involved, but wanted to thank you each personally for your time and dedication to our family, we love you all so much!
The final miracle of the night was an amazing gift from the Santiago family. As the event wound down we were asked to meet with their family to talk about another donation. We were completely shocked and humbled by their offer of a mobility van for Jo. It changes our life immediately and all at once provides our family a chance for reasonable normalcy for Jo. Not only can we get to appointments on our own schedule but in addition we can take Jo out for a stroll through the mall, a park, or to the store. We've said many times before, our family is not complete without Jo with us, this amazing gift allows that to happen now. We are still in shock that we are so blessed. God bless your family for this amazing gift, someday we hope to pass it on to the next family in need.
I've talked many times about the angels on earth who've carried us through this journey. Never have they been more on display than this event. I've copied the text from what would have been my thank you speech, if not for my inability to get through the first sentence. Wendy read it to the group on my behalf. We've never felt more love and we are deeply touched to be so loved by so many.
We are blessed...
I always thought hearing that was more of a cliché, I have never been more wrong. I often watched 60 minutes or Dateline and thought how could these families impacted by so much by tragedy and despair still say ... we are blessed. They would even say they were "lucky". It just doesn't fit the narrative, yet they would say it with such conviction it just baffled me, until tragedy struck our family, it suddenly made perfect sense.
Prior to this tragedy, I always told people that we were alone in Seattle, no other family nearby, and despite our challenges we just made it work. At times we were drained, and I'll admit to feeling sorry for myself on more than one occasion. It is an easy trap to fall into when life gets difficult, it can paralyze you if you let it. I realize now what's kept us moving forward is love. Our ability to get up each day, accept our normal, and keep moving forward is all about love. The amazing love our family shares combined with overwhelming love that you see here tonight is the key to our strength. It lifts us up when we are down and makes the impossible seem possible. It provides us with hope and the faith that tomorrow will be better than today, and we are blessed to have so many people helping that become true.
On my desk is a quote that has never had more meaning than it does today.
"You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have"
Please accept our sincere thanks for the unconditional love you have shown our family. Your thoughts and prayers have restored our boy and continue to help him heal each and every day. We are strong because we are blessed, we are lucky, because we have so much love and support from so many.
Please use our story of hope and faith to remind you of what is truly important in life. The next time you feel stressed, slighted, cheated, wronged, or overwhelmed, remember that you are loved, LET IT GO. Remember what is most important in life, those that you love and those who love you. Make every moment count, treasure it. You never know what lies ahead, embrace those moments with your loved ones, slow down and enjoy it.
Someday soon Jo will be able to thank you all himself, for now please accept our sincere thanks, and know that we love you all very much. Words could never express how blessed, lucky, and loved we are.