Support For Christi Thomas

This blog is to help offer support to the Thomas Family and their daughter, Christi, in her battle against cancer. Please visit Christi's website at www.ChristiThomas.com to learn more. There, you'll find journals, photos and a lots of other information about this amazing child and her family.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Alaska


Feeling on top of the world!


We definitely took a break from the temps in the mid-ninety’s in Ohio! Thank you for your awesome guesses!! We spent eight glorious days in Alaska and Canada! I would never have even thought of it, but Shayla had the inspiration for the trip.

Last September, I took Shayla out of Christi’s hospital room and sat her on my lap in the lobby of CHOP. I explained to her that the doctors could no longer do anything to help Christi get better and that most likely she would die within months, weeks or days. I wanted Shayla to make the decision as to if she would stay in Philly or return home and get back to school, after missing an entire week. She immediately burst into tears exclaiming, “I don’t want to be an only child,” and then she cried, “We’ll never go on vacation in Philadelphia again.” I explained to her, it had been anything, but a vacation. When you go on vacation, you go places you want to go to, not places you have to go to and not to get medicine. She perked up a bit and in her funny little manner with tears still streaking down her face asked, “Like Alaska?” I said, “Like Alaska!”

Well, I didn’t think anything else about it and our cold weather, Balto loving Shayla saying that – until……we put Christi in the ground on Saturday and on Sunday morning Shayla came downstairs and said, “Are we going to Alaska today?” I said, “What???” She said, “You said if Christi died we’d go to Alaska.” It all came rushing back to me. I kneeled down on the kitchen floor and hugged her and cried and said, “Shayla, I don’t know how expensive it is to go to Alaska, and I know we can’t go until summer, but I will start making some phone calls and see what we can do to try to get you to Alaska.” I realized at that point that if Christi ever would have said she wanted to go to Alaska we somehow would have made it happen for her, this should be no different for Shayla – she’s suffered terribly too.

Despite my numerous attempts, I was never able to use any of our frequent flyer miles to get Christi and I to Philadelphia. The free seats were always already taken, or they said for whatever reason I could not use miles and had to buy, often very expensive, plane tickets, instead of using the miles we were accumulating. After checking our frequent flyer accounts in October, I learned Shayne, Christi and I had enough miles to get us to Alaska – but Shayla did not. I called the airline and said, “I have two daughters. Only one is going to be able to make the trip to Alaska this summer. Can Christine’s miles be transferred over to her little sister?” Amazing! I couldn’t believe it! It was as easy as snapping my fingers together! Over the phone, I booked our three free flights. I couldn’t help but feel I had the assistance of a very special angel donating her miles to get her sister to the place she’s often talked about – Alaska!

Next, I found a cruise and booked what I thought was a reasonable price for a cruise - $899 per adult and Shayla’s fare was less. About a week before we left, my mom was checking into going because she checked and saw the fares had dropped to $450.00 per person. I called Carnival and told them I booked in October and they told me if the price went down they would refund my money. Of course, it was less than a week from sailing so they wouldn’t put it back on our credit card; however, I was very happy with their resolve. They gave us a shipboard credit to pay for excursions, tips, and Shayne’s bar bill (hee hee). They also upgraded us from an inside cabin to an outside cabin with a balcony. It was an incredible cabin! Unfortunately, for my mom to try a week before we left to get on our same flight would have been $3,000 so she didn’t join us, but her checking into it saved us a bundle and gave us a great balcony stateroom!

The highlight of everyone's vacation: DOG SLEDDING ON A GLACIER, ONLY ACCESSIBLE VIA HELICOPTER. AMAZING! Shayla summed it up best when she said, "It was like going to another world." At one point, as we slowly floated up to the camp, we were surrounded by total whiteness (white mountains, clouds) and a few very light streaks of the sun peeping through the top of the clouds. To me, it was like we were floating to Heaven. I could only wonder if this is how Christi felt as she left her body, nine months ago and danced into Heaven. It was incredibly peaceful and I've never experienced anything like it.

This is what three thousand years of ice looks like!
At a dog sled camp up on a glacier, only accessible by helicopter. Shayla's smile was incredible and never left her face!
Shayla's mushed. I read. (wink) You can't exactly relax when Shayla is your musher!
If you're not the lead dog, your view never changes. (hee hee).

OTHER PICTURES:

at the cultural center in Sitka, Alaska
Our first "formal night" on the ship. Shayla LOVED getting "fancied up" for dinner every night and being treated by our wait staff. What a hoot! She was little miss polite and grown up. Precious and charming!
Enjoying the Summer Solstice in Alaska - the sun never set! 24 hours of light was very odd to us. This photo was taken about 10:30 PM! We didn't seen total darkness until we returned home. Wild!
I guess I forgot to tell Shayla that the life boat drill was to be taken seriously.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Ketchikan, Alaska
In the Yukon (Canada) after horseback riding.
Skagway, Alaska

A breathtaking day at sea made it hard to leave our balcony cabin. Check out this incredible view!
There were very few orbs (310 photos and only two orbs!) in our pictures, but here's one on Shayne's PENN shirt as he enjoys "high tea" onboard the Carnival Spirit.
The other orb was noted above Shayla's little roll away bed while she slept on our first night in Anchorage where we met up with Marty and Jeff.
Goofing around on the "World's Smallest Desert"

15 Comments:

At 1/7/07 1:57 AM, Blogger Tawny said...

Thank you for sharing these amazing pictures with us! It's great to see all of you smiling and having a nice time. The weather and scenery look breaktaking! I love seeing the Christi orbs, it's definitely comforting knowing her presence is there and physically seeing it. Stay Strong!

 
At 1/7/07 2:17 AM, Blogger Carrie said...

Dear Thomas team. I wish I had known you were coming through my backyard. I would have loved you give you all a hug and a "locals" tour. I'm so glad you enjoyed your time here. It truly is a magical place!

 
At 1/7/07 3:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an AMAZING trip!!! It makes make want to go to Alaska right away! Beautiful, breathtaking pictures , I could almost feel what you've felt..wow...I'm just impressed =) and sooooooooo very happy that you've enjoyed your vacation so far =) If you have some more photos, please post them, I'll be happy to see them =)

Shayla never stops to amaze me, you're so lucky to have this precius, compassionate, loving little girl, a truly Angel on Earth.


Always with love,

Oliwia (Poland)

 
At 1/7/07 7:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Thomas Team.....It is so great to have you back as I was wondering where you had disappeared to. I decided Angela must be studying so that is why we were without the marvellous updates we are so lucky to be able to share. Shayla, so glad you had a terrific trip. The smiles on all three of you are absolutely precious. Good night from Australia, Michelle.

 
At 1/7/07 7:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Alaska! I almost guessed that (in the picture of Shayne and Shayla fishing there is a car in the background with a yellow license plate) but thought, nah there aren't any dogsleds! :) I know very little about Alaska. :) I'm glad you had so much fun- what a great idea for a vacation, Shayla!

Michelle Stokes

 
At 1/7/07 8:13 AM, Anonymous Micaela said...

I was right with the Canada and the cruise! Yay! The only way I guessed that was because Shayla was wearing the plastic bracelet that said what letter her life boat station was. Those things surly are annoying. I was right on the age limit to getting one, and all the workers figured I was too old to get one. My dad ended up asking to get me one. I didn't need one to remember where to go, I remember what it was now - B! And this was years ago!

Glad you guys had fun. The pictures of the mountains are just beautiful. Now you've got me wanting to go there!

 
At 1/7/07 8:59 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

What an amazing trip! I can't believe how beautiful the pictures turned out! Looks like you guys had a wonderful time. You needed it. I can't get over the dogsled camp!

 
At 1/7/07 10:21 AM, Blogger HeatherB said...

Looks like a wonderful trip to me!! What gorgeous views and pictures!!

The delight on Shayla's face is evident! What a sweetheart!

Much love to all of you,
Heather

 
At 1/7/07 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks amazing! Hope you all got the break you deserved! Your photos have given me itchy feet to get over there... Definitely seems like Christi intervened on your behalf, I'm sure it made the holiday all the more special for Shayla,
x

 
At 1/7/07 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been following your journey for some time now - although I found your site after Christi's passing. I have found remarkable similarities between Christi and Shayla and my two girls. I live on Vancouver Island, BC Canada. The cruiseships pass through our neck of the woods frequently and we recently got a cruiseship terminal. You probably passed right through her on your beautiful trip. It's great that through so much heart ache that you are still able to find so much happiness.

 
At 1/7/07 3:35 PM, Anonymous Vikki said...

Pictures are lovely, looks like you had fun Shayla.

I can see what you mean by the orbs

 
At 1/7/07 7:46 PM, Blogger Erin said...

The time zone comment and the train pictures gave it away yet I didn't comment what I thought but I am glad you enjoyed Alaska and Canada! Love all the cute pictures of all of you!

 
At 1/7/07 8:24 PM, Blogger Olivia said...

I am so so so glad to hear that you had a nice time in Alaska and Canada! It definitely sounds like it was a trip to remember. I've always wanted to go to Alaska and it sounds like it's loads of fun!

Hugs,
Olivia

 
At 1/7/07 8:41 PM, Blogger Aimee Jackson said...

Awesome trip! I'm jealous. I think it was worth every penny to put that smile on Shayla's face! I'm so glad you had the chance to go.

 
At 2/7/07 11:32 PM, Blogger Spring Barnickle said...

Oh, wow! I was guessing the northwest, but not quite THAT northwest! :) Kenzie has been asking to go to Alaska for years now, and I think your trip will be what finally makes us go. Those pictures are absolutely breathtaking, and it sounds like it was a lot of fun. Shayla looks absolutely overjoyed and full of herself in those pictures. :)

Thinking of you every day, Angela and Shayne, and wishing things were different. Your blog pages is always open in my browser as a reminder to pray for you.

Love you,
Spring

 

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