Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to my blog, but I've been experiencing--COMPUTER issues! I definitely have a love/hate relationship with my computer and for the past couple of days--I have NOT been feeling the love......I think my brilliant hubby has taken care of the problem now though!
I hope you all had a chance to listen to a bit of music from the awesome Sundance Kidz that I posted?!
Anyway--back to the event from last Thursday night!
It's difficult trying to figure out what to talk about next, since the entire night was AMAZING--but I decided to talk about the lovely couple who came from Suffield, CT--Frank and Sheila Beneski! Frank and Sheila are the parents of Tim Beneski and the grandparents of Jake, Sheamus, Chancey and Eamon Beneski---AKA--The Beneski Boys!
I received a message from Cara Beneski on Wednesday saying that her in-laws would like to come to Black Eyed Sally's to represent the family--and to maybe say a few words. I was so thrilled to hear that they would attend! Frank and Sheila are an absolutely delightful couple and they were so very kind and went out of there way to repeatedly tell me how much this means to all of The Beneski's. I mentioned that they could speak at any point of the evening--and I have to laugh when I think of the expressions on their faces!! Sheila IMMEDIATELY said, "OHHH....I can't speak!--maybe Frank can?!!" I guess there was some mis-communication about that!! Frank very graciously said that he could probably say a few words if I really wanted him to....but that they were just there to show support and to thank me!! I told them that was fine and I was just happy to have them there!
Then, Sheila pulled out a box for me--mailed from Hawaii---
This picture does not do justice to this beautiful Lei--flown from Hawaii--a gift from The Beneski Boys!! I was so overcome when I saw this--I thought I was going to start bawling! I can't tell you how touched I was, or EXCITED! I had never seen (or smelled!) a real lei before--it was exquisite!!
THANK YOU BENESKI BOYS!!!
I wish there had been more of a chance to chat with Frank and Sheila, but it was difficult to carry on a real conversation with everything going on--but I think they had a good time! The miscommunication thing continued though when Ray, who did NOT get the message that the Beneskis were not there to speak--announced that one of them would like to say a few words!! Frank very graciously laughed and headed to the microphone, where he spoke briefly (and very well!) about what Camp means to his family. Again--such lovely people! I guess I should have KNOWN this--after all, these are Tim's parents and Tim and Cara are such warm, beautiful people themselves!
After speaking--Frank said that they wanted to make a donation and he quietly presented me with a check for $500. I can't tell you how much this meant to me. Yes, it meant a lot because it put me so much closer to my goal, but that was just a part of the reason that I was so close to sobbing when they handed it to me! The fact that they were so generous--just once again confirmed for me what I feel so deeply in my heart-- that this IS a cause worthy of all of my time and efforts, and that this Camp IS so very important to a lot of wonderful people and their families.
I will leave you with this--From Tim Beneski
The Beneski boys are now teenagers (almost!). Chancey is sixteen, Jake and Seamus are thirteen, and Eamon is twelve. Despite the fact that the Beneskis now reside on the Big Island of Hawai’i (we all have difficulties in this life!), there is no question that their formative years in Connecticut shaped the boys in so many ways.
And it is certainly true that one of the greatest assets to growing up in Connecticut was their access to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, “the greatest place on earth,” as the boys have often said.
When Jake and Seamus were born, May 10, 1999, they were six weeks early, but seemed pretty healthy. However, in their first year of life, they each had over 70 ear infections, along with pneumonia, sinus infections, and other problems, and it became clear that something was wrong. Despite stronger and stronger antibiotics, nothing could keep the infections at bay, so the family and the wonderful staff at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center came together to find out what was going on.
It turned out that Jake and Seamus had an immune deficiency. There are multiple complications that go along with it. The diagnosis that comes closest to their set of issues is “Common Variable Immune Deficiency,” CVID. Eamon, who was born on August 22, 2000, also has CVID. Chancey is healthy.
Every cloud has its silver lining, however, and for the Beneskis, that lining, in the form of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is pure gold! The twins began attending camp in their first year of eligibility, when they were seven years old. Chancey attended Sibs Week, and Eamon joined in two years later (curse that August birthday!)
The Beneskis have been blessed in many ways over the years, but the sustained connection with HITWGC has been the most wonderful gift in the world. As campers, they were able to redefine “normal” in a way that made them capable, confident, and eager to try new experiences that they could not have imagined before camp. They have friendships with campers, counselors, and friends of camp that have extended into all aspects of their lives. Camp is not a one-week adventure; it is a life-changing experience, and the Beneskis have truly been enriched by all that camp has to offer.
The benefits of association with HITWGC are not confined to the three campers, either. The whole Beneski family, Mom Cara, Dad Tim, and big brother Chancey have all enjoyed the opportunities that HITWGC provides. Camp has given respite, companionship, and a community who really understands what it means to have chronically ill children in the family. It is impossible to overstate the importance of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in the life of this family.
One of the important cultural traditions in Hawai’i is ‘ohana, family. Nothing could have prepared the Beneskis better for understanding the importance of ‘ohana that extends far beyond the nuclear family better than the HITWGC family.
So beautifully written!
BTW--I received a message that the lei was the Beneski's "HUG" from Hawaii, and I certainly felt that hug every time I looked down and saw the beautiful flowers! When I sent a thank you message to the family, I received instructions for "lei disposal".......
So glad you like our small gesture of aloha from the Big Island to you. You can mist it for a time, but ultimately it will start to droop. When it does, hang it somewhere in your home to dry--as long as you have it, it will continue to keep the aloha in your home. When it does completely dry, it is customary to hang it outside so that as the petals fall from the flowers they are returned to the aina, the land, and that keeps the cycle of aloha. The Big Island is a very spiritual place, and we have done our very best to inquire about and follow the customs of our adoptive home. Know that "aloha" is not simply a way to say hello or goodbye; it has a much deeper and more sincere meaning. We only say it when we mean it! You live aloha, Pam, and we hope that the spirit of aloha, embodied in the lei, will remain with you even when the thing itself is a memory. Mahalo nui loa for all your efforts! March 15 at 8:13pm · "}" href="/linkOut.s?link=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ftimothy.m.beneski%23" role="button" style="color:rgb(59,89,152) ;cursor:pointer ;font-family:"lucida grande" , tahoma , verdana , arial , sans-serif ;line-height:14px ;text-decoration:none ;" title="Like this comment">Like
I think this is such a beautiful custom! I am so glad that Tim thought to tell me about this!
I am thinking that I may need to visit Hawaii one day soon to personally thank The Beneski Family?!!!
Next up--The very beautiful Amanda-- and a couple of surprises from Georgia!