Friends of Scott is an organization that I hold near and dear to my heart. I first became acquainted with Carmen Delgadillo, founder of this non-profit, as a fellow co-worker. I discovered that her son and my son went to the same school when my son came home and told me they were collecting change as school to help raise money for this kid named Scott, who had leukemia…….and I was one of many who stood in line at work to see if we were a bone marrow match for this handsome, articulate young man with a smile a mile wide (just like his mama).
We lost Scott to his disease in 2001, at the age of 14. To read more about his amazing story, please visit the foundation’s website, http://www.friendsofscott.org/scott.aspx. From the moment she lost her youngest boy, Carmen has dedicated her life to helping other children with cancer and their families. She works tirelessly, and I am proud to be one of her volunteers…..a position I highly covet and do not take lightly. Carmen is one of the most loving, warmest people I know but knowing that she trusts me means everything.
Today, Friends of Scott hosted an event called Swap Til You Drop. It was held at a really pretty restaurant, Maria Maria, on the outdoor patio. Basically, women swapping each other’s clothes while sipping sangria and eating fantastic appetizers……while a DJ spun tunes in the California sunshine. Awesome event. I got to take photos, so I was super happy.
In the middle of the event, the guest speaker is introduced to us. She is a young girl named Elizabeth. Elizabeth had a brain tumor and is now a brain cancer survivor. As she took the microphone, this petite little thing was visibly nervous to talk to the crowd but she took a deep breath and shared her story……a story of surgeries and MRI’s, of which she still must have every single month. She spoke of numerous hospital stays. Tears welled up in her eyes as she told us that being in the hospital was more bearable because of Carmen. She had Padres games and bowling trips to look forward to……and then there was Prom.
Every year, Friends of Scott puts together a huge Prom night for kids with cancer and kids who have survived cancer. Girls get to choose their prom dress (1000 donated dresses were collected last year I believe) and have their hair and makeup done. Boys get their tuxedos. Limos bring these kids to the Prom. For one very magical night, they get to be KIDS. Normal kids who may happen to have a central line, but they are still kids. They take pictures, they eat, they dance, and dance, and dance.
For Elizabeth, these things signify “I’m going to be just fine” and she credits Carmen with being her second Mom. I glance around at all the ladies in their Sunday best, holding a cocktail, wading through the racks of swapped clothing…..all standing still, not speaking, holding back tears of their own as they watch this brave girl reminds each and every one of us the real reason why we are there, why we volunteer on our days and nights off, and why life itself is to be treasured. I look over at my own, healthy daughter.
We all need CARMENS. This is dedicated to her tonight, and I am so proud she is my friend.