One thing that became clear very early is the importance of having a strong support network. Everyone has heard the phrase that it takes a village to raise a child, and as the mother of two young children I can attest to that statement. But if raising a child takes a village, than healing a child with a life-threatening disease takes a city the size of New York. We continue to be humbled and amazed at the outpouring of love and support. It bolsters and replenishes our spirit, keeps us strong, and gives us a boost of energy we need to keep going. We are so lucky, so blessed, and so fortunate to have the most amazing quilt of people protecting us and keeping us warm. And every day, at the end of the day when I read Liam’s blog to find strength in the posted messages, I am amazed at how the circle grows. I read those messages over and over again. Below is a “guest blog entry” from a friend who, like so many, unselfishly gave up personal time to help us. I thought it might give some insight into what a special child Liam is.
Recently, Gina Provenzano and I helped the Witts move into their NYC home on 30th street. Larry had gone home to NJ to pick up Ella and pack up and move on that end, while Gina and I went uptown to help Gretchen pack and move. It was a busy day that Liam took completely in stride. He didn't stop- loving the company, running and trotting up and down the 69th street apartment hallway. When I arrived in the afternoon he and Gina greeted me with smiles at the elevator - excuse me I meant alligator. :-) He played the whole day-even skipping his nap. Liam is getting medicine 24/7 through a pump that is carried in a backpack and someone must be with him so that he is free to move about as he desires. So, while Gretchen and I packed, Liam and Gina hung out working on playdough projects, drawing, exploring the apartment hallways and accompanying me to the laundry room. He pretty much kept Gina on her toes the whole time.
It wasn't until the evening that we were finished. Gretchen and Liam, and I rode down to the new apartment in a taxi, which pretty much made his day. Like he had done to Gina and I all day, he completely charmed the taxi driver who played the Red Stop/Green Go game with him the whole way there. "Faster faster," was Liam's cry as the taxi driver shouted out Liam's name and offered high-fives. Such an amazing, sweet, and loving boy. While Liam and I waited for Mom to grab the stroller, he wrapped his arms around me and said "I love you.". Well, I was already smitten, so that was pretty much the best thing that happened to me all week. I am definitely looking forward to the next time I will be able to visit my new friend.
I think Liam liked the new home. He and Gretchen and Gina went off to investigate all the rooms. We got everything put away and some of the very basics set up. Although Liam had already had a sandwich and chocolate milk, he sat with the three of us for a bit while we refueled with some of Elizabeth Karmel's BBQ. But then he got a bit sleepy. Aunt Gina and Gretchen were on it-and Liam was set up with a cozy situation on the couch with covers and Caillou. He was probably pretty much spent from our pre-dinner boogie and march around the table to Play that Funky Music! Not too much later, he was sound asleep and Gretchen had to keep reminding me to lower my voice while we took a few minutes to talk and decompress a bit from the hectic day.
Some Details:Gretchen talked about how well Liam responded to having people around and is hopeful that people will be able to visit once they are settled in. So if you do visit please know that as soon as you walk in the door to the Witt home you MUST thoroughly wash your hands. And always be vigilant on the dirt and germ front--rewashing or sanitizing when needed. And if you are sick, were around someone who was sick, or think you might be getting sick DO NOT even consider visiting. Liam cannot afford any chance of getting sick.
- Cheryl Slocum