I want to start from the beginning because its always more fun when a story has a beginning middle and end right?
About 6 months I was told I had lung cancer and my left lung was mostly collapsed. We went through several tests to determine that I was inoperable due to the cancer also invading m limp nodes. Our outcome for the treatment ended up at the Johnson center for cancer in Muskegon Michigan. It is there that the story begins.
The doctor that was assigned to my case by the center decided that he wanted to start me on chemo and radiation right away and he said that at my age he felt we needed to try and hit the cancer as aggressively as possible without risking taking my life. When a doctor tells a person this it makes your heart hit the floor. I did not accept the news well as I imagine nobody at the age 41 with two teenage children could. My family and friends were all sorrowful as was I. WE BEGAN THE TREATMENT!!!
After we made the decision to begin the treatment a wonderful lady came to us from the cancer center and sat down with my wife and I and asked us if we would like to fill out a few forms for a group that take people in my situation and helps them to do a few thing they might not otherwise get the opportunity to do, such as go on a vacation somewhere. I have never had the extra money to take my family anywhere other than small places in Michigan that are average so my wife and I decided this would be really cool should we be chosen to take a trip somewhere special.
A few weeks went by and we got a message on our phone saying we were approved for a trip by the jack and Jill foundation,, for the first time in months it seemed like our hearts had something to get excited about. With all the hospitals and sickness having a glimmer of something exciting was the best news we could have ever had. The very next day my wife called the number back we received the message from and this is what happened…………………………………………..
When we first spoke they offered us to go anywhere we had wanted to go in the United States. Overwhelmed by what they were offering to do for us we didn’t know where we would want to go they suggested we could consider something they was working on but they wasn’t sure they was going to get the tickets yet. What they were working on was 4 tickets to the Grammys and a 3 night stay at the Hollywood renaissance hotel.
THE GRAMMYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So after our conversation ended, my wife and I were left with time to think about where we would like to take our family for our first vacation together. Needless to say we couldn’t think about anything other than the Grammy’s from that point on. Just to be in Hollywood over came all our thoughts and other things in our lives got so much smaller.
When we finally received the call from Heidi at the jack and Jill foundation telling us that the tickets came through and we could brag we got the Grammy fever. We started telling our friends and relized not only did we not know anyone who had been to the Grammy’s but in fact we didn’t know anyone who knew anyone who had been to the Grammy’s!!!! Wow!!!
The date we were to leave was February 10th. We had never been on a plane or out of Michigan very far at all. We were very nervous…. Heidi our savior at the jack and Jill foundation was there to help. We had to get all the fancy outfits to meet dress codes and just had no idea how we could pull this off even with the free tickets and room and board we couldn’t afford to rent outfits or anything that comes with living the high life. Heidi called us and as we explained to her how our situation was at that time she asked us to let her make it happen. Now I don’t know how she did but ,,,, she had me and my wife in tears as she told us my tux and daughters dresses would not cost us anything. We were to just go and get a nice outfit and smile. It really made us feel like god was looking after us and a dream was going to come true. As you all must know by now it did!!!!!!!!!!!!
We left on the 10th aboard frontier airlines. Very nervous and excited all at the same time we took off for California. We arrived at lax airport somewhere around 2:30 where we met a person named Paul.
He drove a long van that had a tall roof, all black with awesome captain’s chairs throughout. Paul grabbed our bags and loaded them in the van. As we all were settled in Paul said we get to see anything we would like. Because it was our first time to la we let Paul take us to the places he thought we would like. He did a magnificent job. Took us to the shore line to see the coast and to as many movie star houses as he could with the time we had together.
As time came close to our arrival at the hotel renaissance Hollywood we were sad to end our journey with Paul. He helped us unload our luggage and I can’t help but think he watched through the doors of the hotel as they made sure we arrived in style!!!
As we entered the hotel we realized that there had to be fifty people there to welcome us to Hollywood renaissance hotel,,, everyone standing on each side of a red carpet welcome. Two big screen TVs with our name, the Reynolds, in big bold letters saying welcome to Hollywood. As they put the fruity drinks in our hands and toasted my family we became overwhelmed with joy at what they had set up for us when we entered their home. We then were taken to the top floor of the hotel, floor 20. That is when we got to our penthouse was introduced to us. It was a tear jerking event.
We started walking through the two bedroom apartment through the kitchen to see all the baskets of munchies, all out favorite things to eat, and a full fridge. We then saw the Grammy tickets and a bunch of gift cards for different places in town. WOW. We were in heaven if not just for a moment we began to see how blessed we were to be there. It was hard not to pinch ourselves to determine if what was happening was a dream.
Everything being perfect up to that point we then had to settle in and go have dinner at the hotel restaurant. They sat us down and fed us the most tasteful food we have ever eaten. I kept waiting for Gordon Ramsey to appear and ask if we were enjoying our meal. After dinner they brought us a plate full of desert witch was awesome.
The hotel put together a wonderful musical for us to experience during our meal. It was amazing to say the least!!!!!!!!!!!!! Our first day and night in Hollywood was the best time by far the Reynolds family had ever experienced.
Day two we went to universal studios where we got to see all the cool things and ways the make the movies we have been watching for years. It is truly amazing how many cool things there is to see.
We then went back to our hotel and went for a walk down Hollywood Blvd. what a cool place. At some points a bit scary for us small town folks but cool. Just seeing all the stars in the sidewalk was amazing.
Day three,,, the Grammy’s!!!
My wife and daughters were taken to a day spa for the girl stuff. All I’m going to say about that is when they got back it was all smiles and they sure did smell and look beautiful. We then got on our outfits and headed to the Grammy’s.
The staples center. The place we watch so many things on TVs, we were there.
We found our seats and before the show the man sitting next to my oldest daughter got up and kind of bumped her leg as he left his seat. When he returned he leaned toward my daughters and said “I want to apologize, I’m Adel’s doctor for her voice box and had to receive an important call”. Of course at that point we had to have pitchers as proof. It was awesome. We watched the Grammy’s as Adel won a ton of awards and the rest of the amazing show. How much cooler does it get than that? not much!!!!
Monday morning came and we had to come home. To our snowing state in Michigan we went. Excited to brag and show all our friends what a wonderful time we had had.
What you all did for us has been by far the coolest thing anyone has ever done for us. We will never forget the things we did or the people who took us under their wing to show us the most awesome vacation a family could ever ask for.
So for all of you,,, hotel renaissance Hollywood ,, paul with our tour guide,, all the hotel staff, and whoever else helped, THANK YOU.
JACK AND JILL FOUNDATION,,, Heidi,,, I can’t even say thank you enough. You all are truly the best. Your giving hearts have made something possible for me to do with my children I would have never had the chance to enjoy. Knowing my time left here may be short and getting to do something so spectacular with my wife and children before I go makes my heart overwhelmed. I wish I could do more than just write a letter.
THANK YOU JACK AND JILL FOUNDATION!!!!!! THANK YOU SO SO MUCH.
WITH A HUMBLED HEART,, THANK YOU. FROM Randy and family.