Friday, November 2, 2018

Charities of the Months - September - November 2018

Charity of the Month is a way Team Tizzel is helping to support some very worthy organizations. As part of this program, we will dedicate a post to a charity that we will sponsor through the month by donating Holly's training run money.

In August we supported Ronald McDonald House Charities based on the work they do (and a cute marketing campaign on their part) with a $125 donation.

November Charity of the Month Quarter:

Open Heart Magic
Cubs Care

Yes Charity of the Month has not been on-target the last few months.   This time we have a good excuse.    We wanted to concentrate on a couple of charities because of their impact on a certain individual's life and thought it would be better to do it in one post vs. spreading it out over a few months.

Early this year a ten-year old boy that is the nephew/grandson of our friends was diagnosed with ALL - acute lymphoblastic leukemia.    The family has gone through a lot over the past months with unexpected hospital trips, canceled treatments because his counts were too low, etc.   He's gone through many chemo treatments (including spinal tap treatments) and several transfusions.   

Early on Open Heart Magic made a lasting impact on him.  The organization entertains kids in hospitals with magic tricks and provides needed encouragement.  His grandmother gave them very high praise.    The boy is also a huge Chicago Cub's Baseball fan.   In August he got to visit Wrigley Field and spend time in the dugout and behind the scenes touring the facility and meeting players.  About a month later a Cubs player visited his hospital ward during a treatment (through Starlight Foundation) which again was another great boost to his spirits. 

About ALL from St. Jude's:

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer that affects the white blood cells. These cells fight infection and help protect the body against disease.Patients with ALL have too many immature white blood cells in their bone marrow. These cells crowd out normal white blood cells. Without enough normal white blood cells, the body has a harder time fighting infections.ALL affects a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes, causing them to build up in the liver, spleen and lymph nodes.

About Open Heart Magic from their website:
Helping all sick kids get their magic back.... Being hospitalized can be frightening for anyone, but especially for a critically ill child. As kids undergo difficult or painful treatments – surrounded by strangers – they can become overwhelmed with fear and sadness.

That’s where Open Heart Magic comes in. Our Bedside Magic™ programs bring laughter, hope and strength to sick children – one-to-one – at their hospital bedsides. Our volunteer Hospital Magicians are trained to work with all kids in a hospital – regardless of their medical conditions or physical abilities – so that every child can benefit from this entertaining and empowering therapy.
About Cubs Care:
Cubs Care is committed to helping those less fortunate improve their lives and strengthen children and families. With the generous support of fans, donors and matching funds provided by the McCormick Foundation, grants are made to qualified nonprofit organizations with programs that concentrate on child and youth education and health and wellness. In addition, the Chicago Cubs and the Foundation pay all campaign and administrative expenses, so one hundred percent of all donations, plus the match, goes to improving lives.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Walt Disney World Highlights - September 2018 Trip

The two main focuses of this Labor Day weekend trip to Walt Disney World were Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival and Hollywood Studio’s Toy Story Land.  The Food and Wine Festival was covered in our last post so please check this link to view that post.   Thanks to our Disney Vacation Club (Disney timeshare program) ownership we were able to stay at The Grand Floridian Hotel.  The relatively new rooms were very nice and having two showers in a studio room helped us to get ready quickly in the mornings.

Toy Story Land

This section of Hollywood Studios opened up in the early summer.  Guests are made to feel like hey are in Andy’s backyard experiencing his creations from a toy’s POV.   The land is home to a new roller coaster, spinner ride, and the new entrance to Toy Story Midway Mania.   As of now there is only one narrow entrance into the land.   We rope-dropped the new coaster (Slinky Dog Dash) on both our visits. These ended up being the most aggressive rope-drops ever experienced since this was the longest distance we’ve ever traveled with the hordes.  We made it on the first coaster of each day (unfortunately Dave takes pleasure in navigating the rope-drop) making enemies with pushy selfie-loving millennial along the way.  

Slinky Dog Dash is not a thrilling coaster.  It is a fun ride with lots of cute features and nods to the movie lore.

Alien Saucer Swirl is a copy of Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree in Disneyland with a green alien overlay.  It’s very cute and the techno soundtrack is fun.

The rest of the land is filled with giant statues of Toy Story characters and vignettes of toys.  

Other Fun

In the Magic Kingdom we visited Stitch’s new meet and greet location in the old location of Stitch’s Great Escape.  The meet took place in the preshow lobby and they did not spend one cent on remodeling.   When finished we walked through the preshow theater and out the door that must have been a chicken exit.  We got to walk on a little back area path we’ve never been on before and saw a cool poster about a rocket expo.  

The Incredible Summer Celebration (Tomorrowland takeover) was still going on.  We spent a few moments at the Purple Wall (made a thing on Instagram so now Disney is capitalizing on it) having Photo Pass guy take our picture.  We were on Splash Mountain when the lights came on for the end scene.  We were hoping to get evacuated but it never happened.