October 7, 2017 will go down as one of the best days ever for our family. And, quite certainly for Logan. If you haven’t heard (we’ve only been talking about it on social media for a week!), Logan was chosen by UNC Children’s Hospital to do the coin toss at the University of North Carolina’s football game against Notre Dame. We knew it was going to be special, but we had no idea.
We wanted to take full advantage of this opportunity to spread awareness and to set the stage for larger fundraising than we have been doing. David and I had been working around the clock on our game plan. Well, David really did all of the major work…everything from contacting various media resources to designing our one of a kind t-shirts. I had been working on little details, but I was mainly concerned about keeping Logan healthy and happy for her big day.
For the weeks leading up to this I became a ball of anxiety. There was so much to worry about, and so much that could go wrong. I was mostly concerned with how Logan would be during such an intense environment. When she gets overwhelmed or overstimulated she can just unravel like no other. I was so worried that all of the commotion would break her, and that she would be a mess for the coin toss. Boy was I wrong. She. Was. Amazing.
That morning I took our eldest, Jack, to his school’s fall festival. Logan often needs so much time and attention, so it’s really important for me to make sure that Jack and Wes don’t feel looked over, and that they don’t miss any of their big events. It was a great escape for my nerves, and many of the moms gave me hugs and encouragement for the big day. Thank you, ladies! We were in and out in an hour, with lots of prizes…including Best in Show for his pumpkin! Woo hoo!!!
David spent the day on campus with Dr. Ben Philpot…the man whom I’m quite certain will find the cure. They bounced around to important tailgates spreading our cause, and David gave some interviews on the sidelines. It was a working day for all!
My mom helped me get everyone ready and out the door. We arrived earlier than expected, and I was so worried about Logan. When we have to be somewhere, we usually get there just in time, just so Logan won’t have time to unravel. We were over 30 minutes early…a record for sure! Luckily my dad was able to secure a quiet area for us in The Blue Zone’s lower concourse. This is very VIP!
As soon as we walked in we spotted Roy Williams and Sean May. Jack’s jaw just about dropped! My dad went over to say hi, and before we knew it Roy was moving the barricade to take a picture with us. He greeted each of us, and gave special attention to Logan. It was so sweet. After that I cannot tell you how many people came over to our “quiet” area to say hi and to meet Logan. I think she was starting to realize that something special was going on, so she turned on the charm! She can be very engaging, fun and silly when she wants to, and I am SO thankful that she felt comfortable and safe to do so.
During the almost hour that we were there, David’s entire family was able to come down, along with my favorite “uncle” Boone and Dr. Philpot. Like I mentioned, David’s family and my dad were all Tar Heels, so it was extra special to have them all with us. My sister’s and their families were not able to make it from Florida and Connecticut, but they were there in spirit. It was such a relief to have them all there. Each one of them has a special bond with Logan, and I cannot tell you how much Logan adores her cousins…especially the girls. I knew if she started to crumble they would all help to piece her together. Instead…she was having the time of her life!
David finally made it in to meet us and we were whisked away to the field. We were working with Cameron Shoaf of Tar Heel Sports Properties, and she couldn’t have been more attentive and accommodating. She let every single member of our large group out on the field! We weren’t expecting that.
I cannot fully describe what it felt like to walk onto even just the sideline. There is SO much energy and adrenaline on that field, and I couldn’t help but get chills. The music was loud, the players were grunting, the crowd was cheering…it felt as if my body was going to explode! It was awesome! I started to get jealous of all these former Tar Heels and what they got to experience every Saturday on that field! And, ironically, we were standing right in front of my dad’s name in the stadium!
As we stood there waiting I can’t count how many people came up to us to say hi. These were friends of the family, former coaches, current coaches, athletic trainers, and just people who wanted to meet Logan. She was squealing with excitement and smiling bigger than I might have ever seen! We all stood for our national anthem and it all started to hit me. I felt at peace, knowing the day was going to be great, and that phenomenal things were going to come from all of this. I looked down at Logan and got chills. I looked at Jack, standing there so proud and got some more chills. Then I looked at Wes. Wes, who is our wild man and tough guy, unraveling with fear. I’m not sure if he ever stopped crying the entire time on that field. I know we will tease him about that for life!
David and I decided to take her out to the field together. While we were waiting to go, the team captains lined up next to us, and each one of them shook our hands and acknowledged Logan. I’m not sure how many players would do that. We were greeted by Coach Fedora, who also bent down to say hi to Logan and wish her luck. The referee, Gary Patterson, came over, and just blew us away. He was so kind and so sincere, and talked to Logan the most. He gave her her very own coin to keep. So special.
They announced her name, and off we went! David and I planned to walk with Logan into the middle of the field, each holding one of her hands. Well, her little legs couldn’t move as fast as we needed them to, so we swung her onto the field, which produced lots of little giggles :). And, Jack surprised us by running out on the field and joining us! My mom told him to run out there, that he should be with his Logan, and I am SO glad he did, and am so proud of him for having the courage to do so. After all, he IS Logan’s protector.
*We planned on letting Logan walk out onto the field, but her little legs couldn’t move as fast as we needed them to! So, David and I swung her out, which produced lots of giggles 🙂
Logan was a champ in that special circle. She stood, with just a little support, and watched as they tossed the coin. I had thought that she would be the one tossing it, but I was relieved that she didn’t . I think she would have tossed it far away! Everything else that happened at that time was a blur, it all happened in the blink of an eye. I do remember feeling incredibly small standing next to all of those large players, and looking back I feel like it was quiet out there in the middle of the field. I would love to know what Logan was thinking!
Our family was there with big smiles as we returned, and luckily Wes had calmed down. We stayed for just a bit, not wanting to get tackled after such an experience ;). We all headed up to another VIP section, where Logan was treated like a celebrity. I honestly thought we would leave after her big event, but we stayed well into the third quarter! We probably could have stayed the entire game if we wanted to. Logan was having the time of her life amidst all of the excitement, chaos, and company of her cousins. For that entire time, maybe for the first time, I felt like she was a “normal” kid. She laughed, played and even watched some of the game. She also had a few kids wanting to meet her. That my friends, is priceless.
One of the highlights of the day was Logan and I, together, being able to watch my niece, Caroline, dance on the field for her very first time. She was the one who put together the Pitt Hoppin’ Dance-a-Thon for Logan. She was flawless, and so beautiful. Yet another proud moment.
And, having Dr. Philpot there was surreal. He is such a brilliant scientist, but he is also an incredible man. He is so kind and genuine, and it’s really special to see the bond between him and Logan forming. He is now a part of our family.
Of course, we are taking this opportunity to fundraise. This time we are specifying where the money will go to. We are so impressed with Dr. Philpot, Dr. Gray and their entire team at UNC. Their findings in gene therapy is outstanding, and gives Logan the best chance for a cure. One of the founding members of the foundation recently read Dr. Philpot’s latest grant request, and she said it gave her chills. Now is the time to go big!!!
We are beyond grateful for all who have donated already to this, to all who have donated in the past, and to those who can only offer support and prayers. We are so thankful for you all! We will all be part of this cure!
Check out the slideshow below! We have had so many people sending us pictures, so I will be adding more as them keep coming!
We would also like to sincerely thank all of those who were involved behind the scenes, in the media, and at the Children’s Hospital. Each person we interacted with went above and beyond for us. We really hope our paths cross again, and that one day we can return the generosity. Go heels!