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 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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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2011 Ritz Theater Camp

Shayla experienced her 7th year at Ritz theater camp last week. Just like Christi always did, She loved it!
This year's play was "The Princess & the Pea". Shayla was a Flower Gardener.

We were happy to again help sponsor the show in Christi's memory. She loved Ritz camp so much! I think it's one of the best two camps in Seneca County for children!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day 2011

I ordered the plaque in February. Called in May to see if it arrived and was told yes, but it was too wet to set it in the cemetery. Imagine my shock when my aunt came to the ballet recital last Saturday night and whispered to me, "Did you know Christi's marker is in the cemetery? It looks nice." I had no clue.

We wanted to all be together the first time we saw it so before church on Sunday we headed out to the cemetery. I wanted to take flowers out to my father's grave anyway so it seemed like we were being told it was the day to do this. Not that I think this is lovely at all - it's not. It is actually sickening; however, it really looks better in person than in the pictures and I was very pleasantly surprised that it really is fabulous - if that sort of thing can be fabulous.

I'm certain this is not how Shayne would have preferred to spend his father's day at all and quite frankly I was surprised when he said, "You did a wonderful job, Angela. It looks amazing!" because he had tears streaming down his face the entire time we were out there. I didn't think he saw anything. He polished her marker and Dad's too.

(PIC: Shayla arranges the flowers we bought for her big sister.)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Father's Day! Our weekend didn't go at all as we had planned, but we've learned sometimes God throws curve balls at you and you need to just go with it! Our camper was delivered to the fairgrounds on Thursday and Shayne and I were literally jumping up and down so excited to be back in it for the horse show the next day. We got everything all set up out there on Friday and then Shayla's first horse show of the season was cancelled due to weather. Oops!

Instead, we got to enjoy a visit with my grandma who turned 92 the day before and we also attended a lovely wedding on Shayne's side of our family. Sunday was to be Shayne's first triathlon of the year (as he's completed in for the last maybe seven years on Father's Day) and the two of us ended up cuddling at the movie theater (watching a great 3D film - Green Lantern, I guess we don't need Netflicks or the red box completely taking over the industry because the 3D was awesome!). Shayla went to a different movie with a friend. All of that was a complete turn around from our plans, but it was ok! We are blessed! And so far this week all is well: Shayla's in a couple of camps and loving them so far while I've been teaching my online classes and providing transportation as needed. I'm a lucky gal!

We were so pleased to see this from the "Chatty Cathy Club" - Christi's school friends. THANK YOU!Thank you to all of the sweet Christi's supporters for the many items we found out at her grave site. May you be richly blessed for your unbelievable love, concern and compassion. Thanks for making our journey a bit easier by showering us with your love! It may have taken me four and a half years to get her resting place complete, but I did it! And I'm glad that is behind me, finally. All I have left now is that book to write, hmmmmmmm. (Don't cross your fingers. I wrote the first chapter of our journey a year ago and cried for a week. I can't imagine even starting chapter two. Heck, chapter one was just about life BEFORE Christi arrived.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2011 Christi Thomas Scholarship Winners

Shayla with 2011 Christi Thomas, Dance Unlimited, $1,000 Scholarship Winner - the awesome Briana!
$200 Book Scholarships go to: Anne, Jocelyn, Marissa and Blanca. (Check out the orb!)

2011 Christi Thomas Dance Unlimited Scholarship Winners

Some of you may remember our little dancer, Christi Thomas, who died at the tender age of 9 after a four year battle with cancer. She was diagnosed shortly after her very first ballet recital here, as a five year old back in 2002 And she died shortly after dancing on this gorgeous stage, with her beautiful little bald head, in 2006. One of the songs she danced to that last year was from the Lion King. A section of the lyrics went, "I've never seen a king of beasts with quite so little hair." Christi, one who could find humor in almost any situation thought that was pretty funny! It’s hard to believe she would have turned 14 last month and would have just completed her freshman year of high school.

We will never know who all helped us during our most difficult days and nights, but I’m certain some of you are sitting right here before me in this theater. We are humbled. We too want to "give back" and help others. One of the ways we decided to give back is by donating a series of scholarships each spring. One of these is this $1,000 scholarship awarded here each year to celebrate Christi and her love of Dance Unlimited. She loved her Dance Unlimited freinds, teachers and directors so much. It’s bittersweet to be here each year, especially as we watch Christi’s former classmates dance. As we sit out in the theatre, clutching hands with tears streaming down our faces, we wonder how tall she’d be, what she’d look like and if she’d still be getting her classmates in trouble for that uncontrollable little giggle of hers that often just “burst out” much to the delight of her friends and I'm sure to the dismay of her teachers.

We felt that some of this year’s applicants were exceptionally worthy, and we really wanted to write EACH of them a $1,000 check; however, that checkbook of ours said “You can’t do that!”. Therefore, we did add some $200 “Book Scholarships” we’ll call them – to note Christi’s love of reading. These $200 checks will be mailed to the recipient’s homes on August 1st . Congratulations to: Jocelyn, Anne, Blanca and Marissa.

This year’s $1,000 scholarship recipient is our 5th annual winner. Perhaps it’s ironic, but as a girl about 9 years old she actually held a fundraiser, asking her peers to donate, to help with Christi’s unpaid medical expenses and our travel costs. I think she raised about $28 all together and about half of that money was her own. And her volunteerism and desire to help others has continued. Each year, together with Heidelberg University and Dr. Lori Grine and her students we continue what Christi started by holding a lemonade stand to raise money for pediatric cancer research. This year’s scholarship recipient attended for years, buying lemonade from Christi, but the past two years she’s been on the other side working the stand.

In her essay she wrote, “About nine years ago, a little girl had an infinite effect on my future. I didn’t know Christi when she was first diagnosed, yet she touched my heart in a way no one else had or has since. Little did I know that our paths in life would cross so frequently because of our love of the arts: dance, theater camp, school. There are people and circumstances in your life that shape who you are. Christi was one of these people in my life. I knew I wanted to be a doctor and help people who were ill because watching her battle made me wish I could’ve done something to change the course of her disease. I became completely set on becoming a doctor so that eventually I can help someone who can’t help themselves. Congratulations, Briana.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sunday's Dance Recital

Pictures from Sunday's Recital (I will post the Scholarship Items tomorrow; I promise!)

Shayla with her Grandma Nonee
Ballet "Jealous Man" (On knee, center)
The Thomas Team at the end of the show
What a blessing Traci is to us all!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Saturday Night's Dance Recital

A year's hard work was celebrated last night at the 2011 Dance Unlimited recital. I was able to sit with a former colleague and I had a lovely time. I must have cried so many times while reading the scholarship applicants' applications and deciding what I was going to say, that - for the first time - I didn't cry while awarding this year's Christi Thomas Scholarship. Every time I read through my script, tears came out of nowhere so I'm so glad I made it through pretty well. (And Shayne made up for my not crying in the theater this year. He cried on the way there, during my speech, on the way home. I think we're even, LOL!) I will post the scholarship information in the very near future. One more recital to enjoy first!

Annual "watch" picture in front of the theater

Shayla with ballet friends (Thanks for the pic, Kim!)

Shayla with one of her dance teachers - notice the "orb". Heather was also Christi's ballet and jazz teacher.

Thanks for coming, Nee Nee!

Shay and friend with Hip Hop outfits on

Time to go home to enjoy our annual "after dance recital snacks", reminiscing and bed!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

I thank God that I was able to finish my 27 page research paper just in the nick of time last week. (I was at Staples having copies made at 7pm Thursday night with a three hour drive ahead of me.) Thankfully, my presentation went very, very well. I've never really waited until the very last minute like that ever before, but praise God it worked out for me - this time. I will try not to ever do that again; it was way too stressful for me. While waiting for my turn to present at the conference I received a email from Shayne checking on me. I responded, "I'm next. There are 200 people here. I'm following a professor from Harvard! Why me?! I'm scared, out of my league and really intimidated now. I did not sleep well at all."

Shayne told me that after the conference I should do something fun, like meet him at the Memorial golf tournament in Columbus where he had two tickets from a client for the tournament including a hospitality tent with food and drink. I've heard of that event at Muirfield so I agree. We had a ball! It was the perfect way to celebrate a huge weight being lifted, with the conference behind me, and to enjoy my sweet husband's company. We had never gone to a golf event together before. It was such a polite, respectful atmosphere; amazing ettiquite and respectable dress. I loved it! Thanks, Shayne!

Shayla took a friend with her to the lake this weekend and we all had a grand time. Well, until our jet ski sucked up the tow rope from the tube the three of them were pulling behind the jet ski. They had to swim themselves back to shore. I watched from my chair on the beach, unable to help - until I waded out with the big knife which cut the tube free. What a hoot! Thank God they weren't too far off shore.

(PIC: Riding out, swimming back!) I think I'm going to have to learn how to drive a boat so I can get out there and help next time. On Sunday, without a jet ski, we didn't know what to do so we asked the girls if they wanted to take the bikes over to Put-in-Bay for the day and of course they did.

We boarded the Jet Express and had a glorious time relaxing on the island. I'm teaching full time this summer, working with some teachers on independent studies and have some other writing projects going on and presentations I'm preparing for so getting away from my work this weekend was a refreshing reprieve.

Recently, I finished reading two great books. Last week: "Unsinkable: A Young Woman's Courageous Battle on the High Seas" by Abby Sunderland and Lynn Vincent and this week: "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent.The first book was given to me by another professor and the second was recommended by a sweet Blogger friend and Christi lover, Sylvia, so I bought it last week in Amish Country. Both books were incredibly captivating; I couldn't put them down. I highly recommend both and I was so amazed that Lynn Vincent helped write both - crazy weird, really! Shayla was so intrigued by what I was sharing with her while reading "Heaven is for Real", she read it from start to finish - 192 pages - in just a day herself.

A very special "THANK YOU" to the awesome aunt Marty for watching Shayla for us last week.

Shayla's first 4H Mounted Meeting of the year went well Monday night. We were hoping this new horse we are leasing would do a good job with the other horses and in a new setting at the fairgrounds. It's like your on pins and needles until you actually observe the horse with the other horses and in the areana. Thankfully, all went well. There is work to be done, but I think Dusty was a good choice for her this year. (Given the fact we had to give her bday present back - LOL!)Christi, we miss you so much! Shayla read there are rainbow horses in Heaven and told me if that is really true, she knows you are riding one! I bet so too! You loved your "rainbow order" and horses; what a perfect combination for you, sweetpea!

This weekend Shayla (black bottom, lavendar skirt and top - practice clothing) will dance in her 8th recital. We will award the 5th annual Christi Thomas Memorial Scholarship at Dance Unlimited and I choke up just thinking about the reason we give the scholarships each year. I wonder if Christi still would have loved dance and what she would have looked like dancing on stage this year as a 14 year old.
I will never know, but I will put on a brave face, share a few words about her and be glad most others will never know the pain of losing a child. While it pains us greatly we feel it's still a good way for us to "give back" as so many helped out in countless ways during Christi's four year battle. We can't pay them back or say thank you, but this makes us feel like we too are helping others.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

5th Annual Trip to Amish Country

Today was one of my favorite days of the year - SCHOOL'S OUT and time for our annual trip to the Amish Country with mom and dad! It was AWESOME!

At the bottom of this entry, I've posted our annual "Buggy Posed Picture" in order from 2007-2011. This year, for the first time, Shayla is TALLER than her grandma.

As usual, Shayla found a friend!

On our buggy ride - amazing!

Shayla found her pattern and fabric for this year's 4H Sewing Project. She's making a sundress (and pretty excited about it)!

Amish Country, 2007

Amish Country, 2008

Amish Country, 2009

Amish Country, 2010

Amish Country, 2011

Again here is our list of favorite things to do and see in the World's Largest Settlement of Amish (Holmes County, Ohio)

1.) Hershberger's (best and most inexpensive baked goods) and their free Petting Zoo
2.) Der Dutchman (for an amazing Amish meal - Shay and I always get Noodles over Mashed Potatoes - so yummy)
3.) Having a Buggy Ride - somewhere, many options
4.) Touring Yoder's two Amish homes and the School
5.) Heini's Cheese (an insane number of free samples - and types of cheese for sale, factory tour, delicious!)

And of course with Shayla's annual "Amish Bingo" it always makes for interesting sightseeing. Last year she planned her game with items for us to find including: a blue ribbon, a house with at least 50 chickens, an Amish person using a cell phone, children selling produce in a yard and many other interesting and intriguing items. This year's included interesting items as well (goat or sheep with baby, pay phone, Amish made purse from China, etc.) Gotta love her!