This has been 3 years in the making. Through tears, trial and error, our website has finally come together and is done. It has also been 3 years since Danny left us to go to heaven. It seems like just yesterday he was with us and his essence filled our home yet at the same time seems like yesterday we were sitting in Tallahassee Memorial Hospital wishing for miracle.
PinoStrong has grown into something we could never have imagined. As you have seen throughout the website, the HeroBoxes are a huge part of Danny’s legacy. We have packed now about 1,700 boxes in 6 events. At each event, I am still in awe of what this has grown into. At every event, we see new faces and hear new stories of how they heard of us and how they knew our Danny. Surprisingly not everyone always knows Danny and they are just doing an act of kindness. Every time I ask if we have new volunteers, we have more than 15 new people. I am amazed and humbled.
I started out strong telling Danny’s story and talking about organ donation. As the time has passed, I am finding it harder and harder to do. My first talk was only 2 months after Danny’s accident. I cried the entire time. I am unsure of what I said, if I said the right thing or how I even finished. My goal for 2018 is to start sharing Danny’s story again and talking about the gifts organ donation can bring but it seems like or I feel like I won’t know what to say anymore. I guess it’ll just have to be one of those things where you take a leap of faith and hope it works out. One of the things about organ donation is that pieces of your loved one are now somewhere else and that gives you this feeling you can’t really describe. With that being said, I am excited about the day I get to meet them yet I am so afraid I won’t be able to keep myself together. The thought of meeting these boys makes my heart race, gives me butterflies in my stomach. If we couldn’t change Danny’s destiny, I am proud he gave life to others in the process.
AngelStrong, our support group of parents that have lost children, sadly continues to grow. It is the group that no one ever wants to belong to, but sadly, so many people do. We have been brought together by our angels through either an accident, illness, suicide, murder or overdose. The cause doesn’t really matter. We all lost a part of us, a part of our soul that will never be replaced. Our families will never be the same. As the saying goes, we are all trying to find our way “in this new normal”. It is not an easy journey by far but together we walk crying, remembering, laughing and trying to live like our children would have wanted us to.
I’ve added this blog page to our website in the hopes that we can share all kinds of experiences here and make a difference in someone’s life. Danny made a difference in so many of his friends’ lives. We truly never really know who we touch, when and why but with Danny’s passing, we have learned that we have to try. We have to try to pay it forward in his name and for him. I can almost hear him say “Stop mom, what are you doing?” just like he would tell me when I would take pictures on the baseball field. But I can’t, just like I couldn’t then. Of course, he would ask to see the pictures and wanted me to send them to him. I pray, like then, he is looking down from heaven and smiling.
Amidst the sadness and tears, we have been blessed with so much support. From the moment of the accident to today. It is our responsibility to help where we can. To do the best that we can like Danny did. To fight for what we believe in even if it means dying for it. He believed in our great country and was willing to die for it. While he didn’t get to serve like he planned, I truly believe in my heart, he would have died defending it.
I have so many people to thank that I couldn’t even begin to start. From our sponsors, our family and friends that hold us up. My firm, Richman Greer, who support all my doings and do so with such understanding. To Dennis Chamberland of Affordable Custom Websites who held my hand from California to put this website together. He sat through my tears in silence until it passed so that I could find the words to finish our calls. One of the hardest moments was seeing the first draft, to know that this is our life now and we continue to share it with the world. I am forever grateful for his patience and help in getting my thoughts and feelings together.
Come back in visit often for our new events, fundraisers and blog entries. Thank you for continuing to support us. We remain #PinoStrong.