Two weekends ago, Katie, Sadie and I participated in our first "Poker Run" for Mended Little Hearts, a Richmond-based chapter of a national support organization for families of children with CHD. A poker run, we found out, is a charitable event common in the biking community. About two dozen bikers came out for the event, sporting Harleys and Hondas for a good cause.
The best part of the event was that one of the riders that day was a man named Dr. Peeler. It just so happens that Dr. Peeler is the surgeon who saved Sadie's life when he performed the aortic switch and VSD repairs on her heart. I can't tell you what it feels like to see the man who held your daughter's tiny heart in his hands and have a few non-hospital moments to chat. In the hospital he appeared to be cold and aloof, and, frankly, a real jerk. In our real-life encounter, however, he was candid and even funny, telling stories of how he swindled his wife and UVA into allowing him to escape for a weekend bike ride.
I had written him an email several weeks earlier, in my mass-thank-you efforts around Sadie's birthday. He commented on what it meant, and how little correspondence or news he receives on his patients. You can bet that I've added him to my holiday card list!
Check out Sadie's first attempt at pigtails in the pic. :)