Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pumpkin Tradition

Our last family photo at the patch (2012)
The 5th Annual Cooper Trooper Pumpkin Patch is underway. It comes with a rush of emotion. I still can't believe Bunky is not here for this. I couldn't be more proud of how the foundation has grown. I love hearing from people who come to visit the pumpkin patch and say, "this has now become our family's tradition"... to buy pumpkins for a purpose. Rod Cook would be beaming!
Cooper at the 1st pumpkin patch 2010
Carson and Colby working at the patch (2010)
It has been our own family's "tradition" since Cooper was only 1 year old. The pumpkin patch consumes our October. With Bunky gone, there is such a gaping whole. His presence is there though. I still see him in everything we do that involves the pumpkin patch. He wouldn't believe all the people who come from near and far to unload 10,000 pumpkins on a Saturday morning because they believe in what the foundation is doing! Many also come to honor him. My boys notice and they are so proud that their dad had that kind of impact on people.
Cooper with his daddy checking out the pumpkins (2011)
Before talking to the volunteers about unloading. These guys had some fun!
There are no adequate words to fully encompass the gratitude I have for those who make it all happen. It takes months of planning and preparation. It then takes countless hours over a month-long period to keep all the parts moving. It takes over 600 volunteers just to keep it operational. It is both exhausting and rewarding all at once. I am grateful for those who have plunged in and taken great pride in it's success. For those who have believed in the vision and mission of really making a difference in the lives of families living in the storm of childhood cancer. I am convinced that it is only because of these hearts full of compassion for a greater purpose, that the pumpkin patch continues to be successful. I remain humbled.
Dr. Netterville, who did two major surgeries to resect Cooper's tumor, came to the patch (2012)
And so, my heart is bursting with thankfulness. I pray it's the biggest year yet! I hope more people are made aware of childhood cancer and the lack of funding it receives. I am thrilled to think of every dollar made that will go to bring smiles to the sibling heroes who get lost in the shuffle. I am honored to continue what we began over 5 years ago, even though Bunky is not here to do it with me. So, while it is bittersweet to do this for the second year without him, I will do it. I will do it, because that is exactly what he would want us to do!