Been a while and Tough Check Up Today :(

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Taylor Loves Me

Super sorry for the incredibly long delay in writing but we’ve been unreal busy since Taylor’s arrival. Prior to Taylor’s arrival, I ran the roost and had complete control. Since it’s been about three months, I’ll attempt to address recent events chronologically and hit on the biggest updates toward the end (CF Awareness Month + My Last 3 Month Check-Up + October Fundraising Bike Ride).

February 2018

In case you missed my last post, I’m now three years old, so “big boy”. While I consider myself a big boy, I’m still not fully using the potty. Mom and Dad are attempting to incentivize me by hanging a truck over the potty. It ain’t working! That being said, I need to get on that Now Mom and Dad are springing for double the diapers. Yikes!

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March 2018

I’ve still yet to miss a therapy. Mom and Dad don’t mess around when it comes to therapy and even Taylor has gotten in on the bit.

Toys R Us announced they were closing their doors so Dad thought it was fitting to take me in there to see what all the hoopla was about since a) i had a $20 gift card from Christmas and b) dad says kids only know about Amazon these days so its important to see why businesses failed. Anyway, Toys R Us is legit and all there stuff was 30% off so I got to pick out a new tractor and some legos.

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March also brought us some measurable snowfall so Dad and I sweep ours and our neighbors’ driveways. We also did some sleigh riding to which we wiped out big time on one hill, but we were okay. We’re tough.

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Work, work, work, work (like Rhianna)

Also March brought out the clippers. Dad brought me to the barber to cut this mop. Dad was dumbfounded when the 5-minute hair cut from Westover Barber cost more than his haircut at the Ballston Barber that includes hot towel and straight blade shave. This must be one expensive lollipop.

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Dad jealous of these locks

April 2018

Dad bought me a bicycle from REI, but quickly returned it because I’m not ready to ride it and I want one that’s bigger than what Dad bought. Hoping he gets me one soon so I can bring it to Rachel’s beach house and ride all summer long. Rachel doesn’t know this yet, but I’m going to angle to stay with them all August because Hayden is my best friend in the whole, wide world.

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April also brought some warmer temps so I got outside and did some hiking, watched Dad play softball, and played lots of soccer at Williamsburg/Discovery.

Me, Mom, Dad, and Taylor also went out to eat for the first (hopefully not last) time as a family. Matchbox pizza in Mosaic was super accommodating to the fam.

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Me and Taylor continue to grow close. She loves me and I love her. I help her with her munyas (pacifiers). She doesn’t talk or say anything. She also is not allowed to play with my trucks. Hayden is my best friend. Me and her ride around in my John Deer Gator and do yard work everyday (not literally, but most Sunday’s when we all go to Bama’s for dinner). Pop is mostly on the hook for yard work Mon-Fri.

May 2018 – Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

This month flew by and I didn’t do anything this year to let you all know about it. Shame on me. Anyway, May is CF awareness month and there’s been so much going on with respect to the disease. There have been huge improvements on the drug front some of which help those of us with certain mutations incredibly. Unfortunately, I’ve got mutations which have yet to see huge advancements, but I hold out hope that I’ll benefit from major breakthroughs before long as well. It’s only a matter time.

Congress also passed the Right to Try Act. While I’m not 100% sure whether I support this or not, it’s news! Some people believe this is great as it allows those of us with CF the ability to gain access to non FDA-approved drug trials, but the CF Foundation isn’t so supportive. Only being 3 years old, there is very little opportunity to participate in drug trials. Most are reserved for those individuals at least 5 year old.

Mother’s Day

We spent Mother’s Day in Old Town Alexandria with Mom and Bama and the rest of the fam. Where but Don Taco would a bunch of Irish spend the day. We had a great time and ran around the town for a few hours before tuckering ourselves out and heading home.

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend sent us to Dad’s homeland (the Farm, the 757, Surry, Hampton Roads). We spent time down on the James River, visiting tractor stores, throwing water balloons, fishing in ponds, and listening to live music at the Farm. We also spent time with my great Grandma. Making 96+ look good Grandma. Me and Taylor love you so much. Can’t wait to get back down there.

June 2018

Tomorrow (June 2) is the Washington DC Cystic Fibrosis Walk. If the weather holds up, we might head down there for a few to listen in and participate, but we aren’t fundraising for the walk this year. We’re focused on the bike ride (see below)!

June is also bringing Washington DC hockey for the first time in 20+ years! Go C-A-P-S, CAPS, CAPS, CAPS. Let’s get that Stanley! Ovi is overdue!

3 Month Checkup

Today’s monthly checkup didn’t go as well as we had hoped. While we still won’t know the results of my culture for at least a week, my team of doctors were less than satisfied with my weight – well mostly my Body Mass Index (BMI). Crazy to think I’m knowing about BMI at age 3, but hey. I’m tall which is no surprise if you look at Mom and Dad. And while you would think being skinny is a good thing, it’s not when you have CF. I’m 75% for height, 50% weight, but in the 20s% for BMI which is less than ideal. The doctors warn that if I don’t put on weight in the next three months a G-Tube is what I can expect. This is not what me, Mom, and Dad were expecting to hear. For all we knew, I was doing well, eating “okay”, and healthy. Apple bars, bottles of milk, string cheese, yogurt, and cashews are no longer going to cut it. I have to eat more. I have to get big and strong.

Mom and Dad acknowledged that since Taylor arrived, that they’ve slacked off a bit with the food exploration and pushing, but they didn’t realize things had turned so poorly and are fully committed to doing whatever it takes to avoid a G-Tube. We’re starting by actually taking the Periactin (Cyproheptadine) that was prescribed about six months ago. It’s an antihistamine which has a side effect of  “increase appetite” therefore that’s the reason I’m going to start to take it. Another side effect is that it causes drowsiness so that’s why Mom and Dad held off on giving it to me before as they felt it was important for me to be full of energy and running around like crazy. It’s such a difficult balance.

CF is scary. I can look big and strong, but in reality, I need to do more than everyone around me just to keep up. Doctors say everything goes to head first, heigh second, weight third, then lungs and other things so its important to pack on the pounds. Seeing isn’t believing with CF.

October Bike Ride (Fundraiser)

It’s a ways off, and Dad’s still not really making a push, but for those of you consider making donations for great causes this year, give the Cycle for Life a look or better yet, join the team. There are 20, 40, and 65 mile options and Dad’s company is hoping to be a sponsor of the event this year. Last year was a really rewarding time despite the rain.

Join the Team – Click Here

Donate to Dad – Click Here

ALL CAPS!

Let’s go Ovi, Backie, Willy, Holtby and the rest of you all! Let’s bring the Stanley back to ol DC. We’re long overdue and me and the fam are trying to celebrate.

Been a while and Tough Check Up Today :(

Mama Can’t Handle the Truth

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Mama Can’t Handle the Truth

While Mom and Dad can’t complain (they don’t have CF), they do get a short end of the stick from time-to-time as they have to help with my therapies regardless if they feel like it or not and are probably more likely to get sick as they’re constantly around me. We all know that I’m more prone to getting sick so it only makes sense that their exposure is increased. While we don’t know for sure if Mom caught whatever it was that I had, Mom caught something viral and was wiped out. That meant Dad had to step up and handle all the therapies for those couple of days. So while Mom did her best to keep her distance, it wasn’t easy on her and gave way for me to start saying “Da-da” more than ever before. That led to text exchanges such as this…

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It also led to me and Dad becoming tighter than ever before. I’m sure many of you reading are probably thinking…”how could they be any tighter,” but there’s always room for improvement with anything in life. Dad and I took to Mega Blok’s – building some pretty impressive towers. Dad would even build towers for me overnight to wake up to and see in my playroom! We watched movies and even went on some lengthy bike rides.

Instagram – Str8 Flexin’

Something super weird happened recently during this stretch as well. Mom got her first taste of social media and launched her first ever account – Instagram. Now Mama is on the gram all day every day. Dad never thought something could replace her love affair with Daily Mail, but Instagram might just be the one. Mom is always angling for more followers, so I’ll give her a shameless plug on my blog @bridgetpeden.

DC Sports

Overheard Dad telling some friends that he’s not sure he wants me to grow up as a fan of DC sports after the constant letdowns he’s suffered. I keep telling Dad that at some point that has to change and maybe I’ll be coming up at the right time – like those lucky fans of Boston sports when Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics were all hanging banners. The NLDS defeat to the LA Dodgers was just the latest blow.

First Job Offer

Received my first job offer last week. That heavy interest in construction and hanging around construction projects led to a PM on one of the sites to come up to me and Pop and offer me a job.

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Cox Farms & Claude Moore Colonial Farms

Mom and Dad felt obligated to do the pumpkin patch thing so tried Cox Farms in Centerville, VA which everyone raves about. The place has some spectacular reviews, but it scared the living heck out of Mom and Dad because they went on Columbus Day and the place was packed. They didn’t even really have a patch so much as a pen in which they herd all the patrons through and you can grab pumpkins on your way out of the amusement park. They even charge $17/person. After shelling out $34 and leaving after about 20 mins, Aunt Rachel suggested…

Claude Moore Farms which had an $8 admission and charged $1 for a six ounce cup of water and $2 for some terrible sausage sandwich. It was cool to see many of the animals (cows, chickens, ducks, etc.) but there was a lot of wood being burned throughout the exhibits like in the old days so Mom and Dad were a bit hesitant to let me roam around too freely for fear of me breathing in too much smoke so Dad had an even better idea for some outdoor fun…

Country Roads, Take Me Home…

We headed south this past weekend to Dad’s hometown in Surry. Naturally, we did obligatory Pumpkin Patch photos but I never make it easy on Dad as a subject because I prefer to run around and throw pumpkins rather than sit there like a doll. That said, here are a few of the better photos Dad was able to snag of me while at the patch and at the family farm. College Run Farms, located in Surry is free and had thousands of pumpkins to choose from. They even had pumpkin ice cream.

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Born to Run

While the above represents how I behaved as a photographic subject for 90% of the shots, Dad was able to snag a few of me sitting.

Then there wast that time I found a yellow pumpkin. Did you know there were yellow pumpkins?

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Halloween

Mom dressed me up as a circus strong man. I might of worn this costume for all of four minutes…same length of time in which I can hold my iron cross on the rings.

Words and Favorite Things

I’m probably leaving out a ton of things I say or have said to date.

  • Truck­ – by far the most utilized word in my vocabulary that isn’t “dada” or “mama”. I love trucks – all trucks. I have lots of books with trucks and lots of toy trucks. One of my favorite things to do is watch the big construction trucks fly up and down John Marshall as they continue to fix the water pipes.
  • Cheese – this is an easy one and I say it when someone holds up string cheese and sometimes repeat it when smiling for the camera. My favorite string cheese is Horizon, which irks Dad since it’s double the cost for half as much product as its competitors.
  • Teeth – my dental hygiene game is on point. I love brushing my teeth every morning and night. I even try my hand at floss.
  • Up – when wanting to be picked up, placed in high chair, etc.
  • Sit – when i want you to sit down next to me.
  • Book – not a clear “book” but pretty close and everyone knows what I mean when saying it.
  • Ball – referencing the 100 + balls that I leave scattered throughout the house
  • Hi and Bye – classic salutations
  • Baba – when I want a bottle (of milk nixed with Pediasure)
  • Wawa – when I want water
  • Work – when I wake up and look for Dad but he’s not there in bed Monday – Friday

As of this week, I’ve even begun counting 1, 2, 3.

November 

Not sure what the month of November holds, but I’m sure it will be more fun.

Aiming to stay ahead of Mom and her Instagram posts. She steals me and Dad’s photos and pawns them off as her own.  wonder where she gets that from…TMZ perhaps?

Mama Can’t Handle the Truth

Ugh, Spoke too Soon

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Breathing in some fresh air on the front stoop

Too Soon

Put those celebratory beers away for a job well done Mom and Dad (just kidding, you can still have one). Apparently I spoke too soon with respect to all things being well on the health front. That’s the thing about cystic fibrosis which many people without knowledge of the disease fail to understand – to the naked eye, I look healthy and as though I’m doing really well, when in reality that’s partly true at best. The truth is that things are never truly 100% fine and I’ll never be 100% healthy. In this case, the doctors who “put eyes” on me said, I look great and were happy with what they saw…

Then my lab work, x-ray, and throat culture results came in after I left Children’s National. Dr. Shukla called Mom late one night while Dad wrapped up my nightly Chest Physiotherapy (CPT). My x-ray didn’t look great, my blood work showed elevated white blood cell counts, and my culture started to show staph infection in my lungs.

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Chest X-Ray

Visibly upset, Dad and I knew something was wrong. Mom became quiet, listening to Dr. Shukla closely for the next twenty minutes as he shared the diagnosis and plan. It was back on antibiotics (XXXXX) and extra CPT until I kick this infection. When taking my antibiotics, I demonstrate my super-human strength by closing my mouth, wrestling away from Dad’s grips, and spitting any antibiotic that squirts into my mouth back onto Mom and Dad’s faces. It’s quite the scene. I wonder what people would think if they saw this going down.

The Difficult Balance

Mom and Dad do a great job of keeping a clean house (weekly vacuuming, wiping down of surfaces, etc.), but when infection, sickness, or anything rears its head, Mom goes into overdrive on the cleaning and throwing anything potentially contaminated out. While Dad likes a tidy home, Mama in overdrive can be a bit overbearing/overwhelming to say the least. Dad told her it was crazy to throw everything out and replace with new, so she consulted with Dr. Shukla to ask if she was crazy. The verdict, mom is cray cray and she does not need to throw out my toothbrush each day for fear of recontamination. In all seriousness, this paranoia is not at all uncommon for parents and caregivers of those with cystic fibrosis. They want the best for us. Dad forgives you Mom, but we need to come up with a good nickname for when you kick it into overdrive.

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Scott’s Run Nature Preserve 

Recently Mom pleaded with Dad how everything – dust, dirt, germs, crowds – scares her and that she’s terrified to travel south to Dad’s family’s farm for my great grandmother’s 95th birthday party this upcoming weekend given all the rain. This is totally understandably given that Mom is a first time parent, a parent of child with CF (any disease for that matter), I have my first lung infection, etc. While Dad totally understands where Mom is coming from, he also wants me to have experiences that can’t be had in the small confines of Arlington. While Arlington is our safe haven, I bet there isn’t a cow, horse, combine, pumpkin patch, or anything like that in the entire county for me to get excited about. I know there aren’t dirt roads or ponds filled with large mouth bass, sunfish, and crappies. There is the Potomac River, but that can’t match the beauty of the James River.

All I’m really trying to say is that I get both Mom and Dad’s sides feel bad for the often stressful situation it places on them. Mom and Dad both have my safety and health as their top priority, but I think Dad errs on the side of living. That or either he misses his family far more than he’s willing to ever admit. It could also be the fact that living also allows for the guard to be let down some – not entirely because he’s still quick to swoop in and rip me off the kitchen table when I climb up there or pick me up when I fall, but there’s sort of a sense of safety for him at home.

Vest

The timing couldn’t have been better for my vest to arrive as I’m on double therapy duty until I’ve kicked the infection. By far the most expensive item in our house ($15,000), the jury is still out on when we can call the vest a good thing. Initially, it should come as no surprise that the vest is traumatic for me, my parents, and my little cousin Hayden. In a brilliant acting job, Hayden came over to wear my vest and show me that it’s not that bad/scary, but after leaving she communicated to Aunt Rachel that it just didn’t seem fair that I have to wear it all the time. While it will free Mom and Dad up from having to do manual CPT so they can do things like get dinner ready, do laundry, what-have-you, it seems so “permanent” in way. Using this vest will become so entrenched in my daily routine that it will eventually become second nature, but right not it’s just difficult to process despite the advantages it brings. I’m already crying less and less with each time I use the vest.

 

Late Gift & a Few Thanks

I have to thank Uncle P for the awesome tractor. The pedal is a bit tough to reach but the trailer is awesome and I love throwing all my trucks in there. I’ll do my best not to flip it on the hilly terrain like I did with the ATV Bama gave me when I was less than a year old. Haha.

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John Deere Tractor

 

#HTTR

 

Thanks Aunt Rae Rae for watching after me some while Bama and Pop were on their trips to New England and Charlottesville, VA.

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Me and Aunt Rae Rae

Also, huge thanks to the Gummeys for hooking me up with some solid threads. I received a lot of compliments on this sweater with the crab.

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Good weekend for fans of the DMV. Both the Nationals and Orioles made the playoffs and the Washington Redskins evened up their record to 2-2 on the season. O’s will travel to Toronto for the wild card (winner to play Texas Rangers) and Nationals host the LA Dodgers. Baltimore Ravens lost today, but don’t really count since the Orioles were the only baseball team in the area for so many years and DC has always had a football team.

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Ugh, Spoke too Soon

It’s Been a While…

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Up to no good

Ugh, where do I start. I’ll start with the medical and then hit the fun I’ve had over the last couple months.

Medical – Sorry to Bore You

As anyone who has CF, cares for someone with CF, or is closely associated to someone with the awful disease knows…it is a roller coaster. Further complicating matters for me is the fact that I contracted Clostridium Difficile Colitis (c-diff). While I thought I was in the clear, I was beginning to feel that maybe the Metronidazole by mouth (Flagyl) only suppressed my symptoms (diarrhea, abdominal pains, etc.) and didn’t fully kill off the c-diff because some similar symptoms resurfaced and doctors were all set to start me out on Vancomycin as the next possible medication to try and kill off the c-diff.

Read the papers nowadays and you’ll constantly find articles warning us of superbugs and our reliance on antibiotics. There’s no doubt I’m going to be on more than my fair share of antibiotics, so Mom voiced her concern to my team of doctors at Children’s.

My team of doctors say the easy thing to do is treat. It’s harder not to treat. Ultimately treating is up to Mom and Dad, but hearing that didn’t make things easier on Mom and Dad to make a decision. And because Mom felt I picked up c-diff from Children’s she was losing more and more trust in the care they provided for me up to this point. The decision wasn’t an easy one, but collectively we elected to hold off on treatment and ride it out a little longer knowing I had already proven that I’m a tough kid. Mom also decided it was time to get a second opinion from Johns Hopkins. I’ll explain that visit and what we thought of it vs. Children’s in a later post for those caretakers out there who also wonder the same thing.

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Showing Dad viral videos on JHU’s network

While I can’t be for certain, we’re pretty sure I picked up parainfluenza while at Hopkins. Very shortly after coming home, I began fussing, crying, coughing, etc. So heavy doses of Tylenol and Motrin for about a week and a visit to Children’s for a throat culture. It must of been a bad strain because half of Team Jack ended up getting it (Dad, Bama, Aunt Rachel, and Hayden).

On to the Fun

We’ve been busy as beavers since Easter – first Nats game, bike rides, weddings, beach, fundraising walks, and visiting Dad’s home from growing up.

May 14 – Nationals vs. Marlins (First Game)

The game sort of stretched into my usual nap schedule so I didn’t make the entire game, but we had fun – 6 strong innings in baseball constitutes a quality start. It was a lot of fun watching the pitchers warm up in the bullpen.

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Nats beat the Marlins 6-4; maybe I’m a good luck charm

Comes at a Cost

Going to the Nats game came at a cost. Dad put me to work.

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Helping Dad in the garage

Apr 30/Jun 04 – Fundraising for cystic fibrosis

I can never thank people enough. It’s so much cooler when family and friends get out and participate in the fundraising walks, runs, bike rides, and hikes. So far this year, Team Jack  (Peden) has participated in four Great Strides walks – Alexandria, VA, St. Michaels, MD, and Annapolis, MD, and New Orleans, LA (sorry for the initial omission Seamus, Jared, Wakemans, Bonuras).

More information on future events can be found at CFF.org.

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Cousins JJ and Killian walking in support of me and 30,000 other Americans fighting

Snapchat

Mom and Dad recently discovered snapchat. You would think they took enough photos of me before. SMH

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#BreakingBad #WalterWhite

Jun 18 – Wedding

Uncle Seamus AKA Tamey married Jared in Alexandria, VA thanks to same sex marriage being legalized in the Commonwealth. So happy they did so I could participate as a ring bearer (well sort of) in the wedding. Had they gotten married in NOLA where they live, I might not have been able to be part of the wedding due in part to Mom and Dad not wanting to expose me to germs commonly found while flying.

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I don’t like when sleeves touch my hands

July 04 – Beach

We decided to head to Lewes for the fourth of July.

The salt air had me feeling good and wanting to go back very soon. I think if it weren’t for the traffic woes getting to and from there, we’d be there every weekend.

Surry, VA AKA “God’s Country”

One of Dad’s friends always refers to Texas as “God’s country” but that’s because he’s never been to Surry, where Dad grew up. Founded in 1652, it’s sort of amazing how its managed to remain underdeveloped and keep its rural charm. It wasn’t for a few years ago that the county finally installed its first stop light.

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Mowing the grass in the hot summer sun

We did so much. We went down to the James River, rode the lawn tractor, swam in backyard, fished, and even dropped in on the new winery that opened up across the street from my grandmother’s house.

Just like Lewes, I can’t wait to get back down south to see the family and spend time on the farm. Just wish they could figure out how to improve the flow of traffic on I-95.

Until next time…

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“Yeah, well that’s just my dream…Baseball needs more stars” — Bryce Harper

 

It’s Been a While…

September 29 – Coach Pike Tribute


Coach Pike

August 25, 1964 – September 25, 2015


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Surry County High School Cougars Baseball – 2001; Coach Jimmy Pike (far right)

On Tuesday Sept 29, Dad drove down to Wakefield, VA to pay respect to another high school coach of his who passed away far too early. This time it was his baseball coach, Coach Pike whom I’d never had the chance to meet. Both Dad’s high school basketball and baseball coaches have fallen to cancer at age 51 and once again this funeral was a reminder of how many lives teachers and coaches touch – especially in a small community. The funeral was full of current and former students and players of Coach Pike.

You might be thinking…what does this have to do with me. Why is Jack talking about this? Here’s why! Rev Ray Rowland led the services and shared several stories and referenced some Coach Pike’s favorite sayings and inspirations he lived by – most notably was inspiration passed along from another coach who went by the name of Jimmy and his famous ESPN ESPY’s speech, where he said to Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up. If you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and watch one of the greatest speeches of all time.

Most of Dad’s time with Coach Pike was spent prior to his battle with cancer therefore he never knew of the inspiration he gained in the Jimmy V speech, nor that Coach Pike did not want to be defined by cancer. It’s interesting because as Mom and Dad read from other parents of children with CF (thanks to blogs such as this)…they constantly have that stigma that they fight – so as to not let CF define their child. I guess it’s not surprising that CF and cancer are very similar in that respect, but interesting nonetheless.

Dad also says he’ll always remember that Coach Pike expected the best from all of his players and always had a special way of motivating his players. Those are certainly the type of things passed along from a coach to a player to a son. With CF, I always have to try my hardest and give my best. On the days I won’t feel my best; Dad (and Mom) will be there to motivate me. Perhaps Coach Pike presented Dad with a Coach’s Award his senior year, knowing that these life lessons would have a greater purpose.

Seeing as the Nationals and Orioles are out of the playoffs, I guess we can root for your Texas Rangers.

September 29 – Coach Pike Tribute