Thursday, November 20, 2014

Day +174 SHARE THE LOVE!!!

Ryan in Subaru’s Share the Love Event Commercial
Supporting Make-A-Wish America

Okay, there is just a little bit of excitement in our household right now.  The TV is fired up, the Facebook Posts are starting, the blogs are being published, and the Tweets are going out.  Today is Ryan’s big debut on the small screen!

Late this summer, we were contacted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation with a very rare opportunity.  Subaru was looking for a “Wish Kid” to be in an upcoming National TV Commercial for their annual Share the Love Event.  Make-A-Wish thought of Ryan and asked if we would be interested.  Of course we would!  How many times in your life do you get to do something like that???

We were especially honored to be able to do something so important to funding the Wishes of Children with Life-Threatening Illnesses.  This is the 7th Year of the Subaru Share the Love Event.  Last year, the campaign generated over $2 Million dollars for Make-A-Wish.  This year, Subaru plans to donate a record $15 Million to various charities, including Make-A-Wish.

In addition to the commercial, Subaru produced a “behind the scenes” video.  We had the opportunity to see it for the first time last night.  I can’t believe how chunky Ryan looked when we filmed! (He had just come off steroids.) For now, we have been asked not to share the behind the scenes video because it is intended to be shown to Subaru employees.  However, I am hoping to eventually get permission to share it here, because it is really cute.

I also had the opportunity to write a guest blog entry about our experience for Make-A-Wish that I will share once it is posted.

Here is a link to what appears to be an extended version of the commercial.  Ryan has scenes at both the beginning and end of the video so be sure to watch the whole thing!:

Thank you Subaru, Make-A-Wish America, Make-A-Wish Alaska & Washington Chapter, Carmichael Lynch (Advertising Agency) and Smuggler (Production Company) for such a fun experience!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Day +171 Watch for Ryan on TV Starting This Thursday!

Back in September, I posted some vague information indicating that Ryan would be in an upcoming national television commercial. I still can’t officially release specific information (due to contract restrictions), but I will be able to give full details on Thursday when the advertising campaign launches. Stay Tuned!

As you may recall, I last updated that Ryan was having some potential issues with gut GVHD.  He had an endoscopy and something similar to a colonoscopy, but not as extreme (I can’t remember off the top of my head what it was called).  They took tissue samples from four different locations along his GI tract, and I am very happy to report that the biopsies all came back negative for GVHD. Whew!  So, why was he nauseous and not eating much?  Well, let’s just say that the plumbing was quite backed up…  I guess things are just not yet back to full speed with all of the medications he is on.

Halloween was a rare opportunity for Ryan to do kid stuff.  He wanted to be a mummy, which worked perfectly with the mask I made him wear.  We did take him trick-or-treating, but we had him stay away from groups of kids and wait until other kids were not at doors before he could go up and knock.  Then, he had to wash and sanitize his hands as soon as we got home.  I also took rubbing alcohol to the outside of all of his candy wrappers before he could sort through his loot.  He did have fun, but it was a little sad seeing how badly he wanted to join in with the other groups of kids.  At one point, he got excited and started to run toward a group of kids (they were asking him to join), but we had to quietly call him back.  Next year, he should be able to join in as much as he wants.

We were also able to get out of the house for awhile yesterday.  It was really sunny here (although chilly) so we took a drive to a local resort that is currently in the off-season and enjoyed some outdoor time.  We walked the grounds and some docks that run along the shore of Puget Sound.  The pictures of the kids were taken there (Alderbrook Resort – Union, WA).

At his last clinic appointment, Ryan had to start phlebotomy. Remember all of the blood transfusions he had to have before transplant?  They left behind a significant amount of Iron - to the extent that it shows up in his liver on an MRI and, if not addressed, will start to damage his organs.  Ironically, this is treated by taking blood from him! They take enough to temporarily make him anemic; causing his marrow to quickly generate red blood cells to replace what was taken.  Those new red blood cells need iron, so they pull it from other areas of his body (ideally, in his case, the liver!)  He will need to have this done for at least 3 months.  Then, at some point, they will do another MRI to see where things stand.

Other than those few minor issues, Ryan is doing remarkably well.  He looks great and he seems to be feeling pretty good too.  With appointments being spaced out further and things starting to settle down a bit, I have been thinking more about Ryan’s donor.  We cannot have direct contact with him until the end of May (assuming he is willing).  However, I recently remembered that we can attempt to contact him anonymously.   I think it is probably a good time to send him a letter.  I am just stuck on what to say.  A simple “Thank you” seems so inadequate!