A couple of years ago, perhaps a little more, when we started looking at SDR I'll admit that I didnt fully know what to expect. It was all well and good using terms like "ground-breaking operation", "life changing" and "chance of a lifetime" but we didnt really, not deep down really, know what that meant. It was a journey we were starting and while we did so having looked into it in great detail, and having complete faith that we were doing the right thing, it still felt very much like taking the first few steps along a yellow brick road.
We became experts in terms we'd only just discovered and luckily we picked up plenty of people to travel with us. Some even leading the way, pointing out directions or looking after us when we needed it - sometimes in ways they didnt realise.
But then, from somewhere I cant remember where, I saw a couple of links on the internet. Here they are:
STL clip 1
STL clip 2
I watched them time and time again. Now absolutely sure, if such proof were needed, that we were doing the right thing.
It's now exactly two years on from the op and I dont really need to go into detail of what Evan's Big Journey has achieved. The pages of previous blogs have told the tale so far. And it is only "so far" but for each of the big things that has happened, an equally small thing has given us equal joy.
For every Prime Minister, Lord Mayor, Paralympian or TV celeb we have met there is another SDR family out there, a friend who did something daft or inspiring to raise some cash, a kind message from a friend in STL or a colleague I walk past at work who did something to help.
For every TV appearance there is someone beeping their horn as we do a walk to school on a dreary morning. For every newspaper article, there is a facebook message from someone we met along the way. For every fancy black tie do, there is someone who says Hi as we walk past, smiling at Ev's improvement.
For each of these things, there is a moment that proves we were right to dream, right to do what we needed to do, and right to look to change what might be. It is simply not possible to thank everyone who was a member of Evan's Big Journey - every week I see someone or recall something that i'd forgotten played a part. There are though, two people who I think deserve special mention - one is Dr Park who has assembled such a fantastic team in St Louis and who is slowly changing the world - one SDR kid at a time - and the other is Loup, whose patience, stubbornness and insistence that this would happen was the force that meant it did.
In fact, no, there is a third. Obviously. Evan. There are days when he cant be bothered. Days when he has had enough. Days when he is a typical 8 yr old boy. But there are plenty of days when he works so hard, puts up with so much and does that extra little bit that shows us he'll be ok. Plenty of days when he makes us smile and makes us proud.
For them, but also for everyone else, this is for you....