Todd and I recently got to attend a charity boxing match supporting a cause that is now near and dear to our hearts. The reason we decided to attend the event is because of my friend, Don Hudson. I met Don last March through a chance meeting at SLC Comic Con. At that time I was really struggling. Without going into a lot of detail I had lost my direction in life. I wanted to find my way back but didn’t know how. And believing it wasn’t going to be possible I let pride and fear overtake me and became someone I didn’t like. I was ashamed and depressed and had become involved in things I knew was wrong. Don and I became friends on Facebook and slowly his attitude, inspirational quotes, and commitment to health and fitness started encouraging me. I started making changes in my life. To date I’ve lost 25 lbs and I feel amazing! I never thought I’d fit into jeans that I wore before I had Micah again! But one of the biggest changes is I decided to commit myself to my religion again and joined the BYU Pathways program. Barely being active again and still having a lot of questions and concerns I was scared to death when I joined. So I asked Don to mentor me through the program. He graciously accepted the challenge (and trust me, it is a challenge) and has been amazing. I have learned so much from him and am more inspired every time we talk. He’s opened my eyes to things I never thought about before. And I was born into the church. My testimony has been strengthened immensely and I feel like a new person. His support continues to blow me away. I thought for sure by this point I would have driven him crazy and he would have told me where to go! But he’s stuck with me and has become a true friend and father figure in my life. It’s meant more than I think he’ll ever know.
So needless to say when I received an opportunity to support something that Don loves so much, I was more than happy to participate. This charity event was to support The Kostopulos Dream Foundation or Camp K. When I first started learning about Camp K I thought it was primarily an equestrian program that did riding and therapy programs for disabled children. Now here’s the thing with horses: I don’t mind them…..but they hate me! Seriously, Todd says I must give them a bad vibe! The last time I rode a horse I fell off of it. I’m pretty sure it knocked me off! Since then I have been bitten, spit on, sneezed on, and kicked by all the horses I’ve been around. Even the ponies the kids ride at the fair! So I was a tiny bit hesitant to have anything to do with a horse supporting foundation! Even though I do believe horse therapy is a great program for people who horses don’t get bad vibes from! But camp K is SO much more! They provide year round opportunities for disabled children and adults at any level. They do summer camps, education programs, vocational rehab, etc. They provide support, love, and friendship to these special people and their families. I spoke with one family who truly inspired me. Their son has spina bifida and is in a wheelchair. The mother told me that at Camp K their son has no limitations. He can be a kid there. She also told me that if it wasn’t for the donations her son would not be able to attend. I met this boy and he is awesome! He has so many challenges but has such a good attitude. He doesn’t let his disability stop him from living life. Both Todd and I just fell in love with him!
So like I mentioned this was a charity boxing match and 2 time (and he made sure we knew it was 2 time) world heavyweight champion Riddick “Big Daddy” Bowe was the celebrity boxer. He’s a BIG guy! But luckily a real teddy bear! The dinner was lovely. The people at our table were great company and we had the perfect view of the boxing ring. Which was good because Don was one of the people going in the ring as one of Riddick’s challengers. Okay, I’ll admit getting to see Don get in that ring was a really great incentive to coming to this event! And it was worth it! All 3 of the challengers (Camp K’s CEO Mircea Divricean and Camp K’s COO Mike Divricean also braved the ring) did a great job! I had my doubts but I was pretty impressed with all of them. And even though I told Don that I would win if it was him against me in the ring, I might be recanting that statement now! Maybe! Riddick got in some polite non-deadly shots. Although he got one right in Don’s nose that looked like it had to hurt! It kind of reminded me of the time my little brother hit me in the face with a shoe, but with less blood! But all 3 contenders were able to get a few good shots in as well and it was a fun thing to witness. And the referee (Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder) was hilarious! It was also a black tie event. I was super excited to lose the mommy yoga pants and stained sweatshirts for a night and get all dressed up. Todd was a little hesitant at first, especially since there was a Jazz game going on right down the street! But he settled right in getting to talk all the representatives from the church and city who were also in attendance. And as a vocational rehabilitation counselor himself, he was in good company. I was also really excited to meet Don’s wife, Wendy. I’ve talked to Wendy several times over Facebook so I felt like I already knew her. She’s a wonderful artist and surprised me on Thanksgiving with a beautiful picture for my niece, Rosie. Rosie has alopecia and I wanted to do something for her for her upcoming birthday so she always knew how beautiful I think she is. She is the most beautiful, thoughtful, sweet little girl. Wendy made that possible and I was beyond touched! It made my whole holiday! Don and Wendy successfully raised 3 sons and she introduced me to them and their significant others. I cannot tell you how much hope it gave me, meeting these 3 polite good looking adults, for my little boys in the future! If they turn out 1/2 as nice as the Hudson boys I will be happy!
My heart has been so full since that night. Full of gratitude and humility. I have so much and have been so blessed in my life. I can see and walk and speak (often too much!) and hear. Usually every morning the first thing I see is the foot of healthy almost 2 year old…right in my face! The first thing I hear is my healthy 5 year old telling me to get up and make him breakfast. Everyday at 2:30 I go pick up my healthy 7 year old from his day in the 2nd grade. We have a home, warm clothes, the opportunity to educate our kids. They have toys and books and even cable! I took my 2 youngest kids to the grocery store the other day. We saw a giving tree with kids’ names and needs on it. Their needs were so simple. My 5 year old grabbed a name off the tree of someone his age who just wanted a winter coat. I started to cry right there in the store trying to explain to him that something he always had was something this little boy desperately needed. And even more than the things in our lives we have so blessed with friends and family and mentors who constantly uplift and encourage us. They love us unconditionally and will always accept us. They help us through our challenges and support us. Everyone deserves the chance to be accepted and loved and treated well. The people who attend Camp K are no exception. They deserve all the same chances and opportunities that my kids already have. These people are amazing! I don’t know if I would have ever thought twice about them before, but they haven’t left my mind since then. Our world is such a scary place right now, but since attending this event I’ve been able to remember there is so much good in it still. And this good can keep going and going with our support. It’s Christmastime and the season for giving. I strongly encourage you to look into Camp K and open you hearts to this charity.