"CAMERAS ALLOWED IN SPECTATOR AREA. NO FLASH WHILE FILMING."
Of course, I had left my camera in the car so I would not be tempted (or have my camera confiscated - I had no idea what to expect). But since it ended up that the no camera rule was only for the INSIDE of the house (yay!), my dear husband was kind enough to run back a couple of blocks to the parking lot and grab my camera for me.
It was amazing to see how much work had been done in the last 72 hours and to see all of those community volunteers building a beautiful new home for this special family. After reading about Patrick (just 9 years old with brittle bone disease), and how he goes to the local children's hospitals to tell jokes and cheer up the patients, I emailed the show's creative team with an idea.
Knowing that so many children (including mine) would want to help Patrick with his cause to make hospitals a happy place through laughter, I suggested that perhaps a Smile Card Station could be set up in the spectator area of the build site where kids could fill cards with jokes, stickers, and colorful drawings. Then Patrick could take the cards with him when he goes to visit and give them to the patients. To my surprise, one of the team members called me on Tuesday night, said they wanted to do it, and asked if I could head it up! I didn't even have to think twice about that one.
Over 100 kids made Smile Cards including a child who was there with the Make A Wish foundation. His wish was to help with an Extreme Makeover build - such a big heart. (Click here to see the news clip about this sweet little boy and his family.) It was so cool to see the kids sorting through the jokes and picking out what they thought were the funniest. They really put a lot of love into the project. We ended up with over 200 cards for Patrick to share!
Later that evening, my husband went back to help load some landscaping supplies and such while the kids and I stayed back at the hotel room. Before heading out the next day, we went back to the build site with posters in hand to check out the progress -
It's incredible how much can be accomplished when so many people work together. Those "blue shirts" laid sod in twenty minutes flat. It was crazy. Not to mention all of the donations that were made, food that was provided, and money that was collected for the family. A.MA.ZING.
It would have been neat to stay for the reveal, but I didn't think the kids would last through the four hour window on Saturday waiting for the limo to pull up. We did watch a "twitcast" at home on the couch which was the next best thing. There were over 2200 people lining the street waiting to welcome the family home. You could just feel the excitement and anticipation. The kids and I were shouting MOVE THAT BUS from the living room!
We can hardly wait to see the show when it airs at the end of April and see the close-up reactions of the family and the INSIDE of the house! I'm sure the family is enjoying every square foot of it.