The holidays at the Bullock home have been amazing. We received so much, and luckily were able to give a bit too :)
Because of the holidays everyone has had a lot more time to spend together, and whether my dad likes that or not, it means that we get to tag along to his doctor's visits and appointments as well. But this appointment was special because we finally were going to be able to do more than receive...Christmas is the season for giving right?! All donations for the Team IronDean fund had been collected and we were finally going to be able to make things official.
We started things off with my dad's regular appointments. Can I just give some major props to everyone that had a hand in creating what is now the Huntsman Cancer Center? It is seriously the most amazing institution. The experience is personal and convenient, the views are RIDICULOUS, and the building itself, although only sad things bring you there, is inspiring and incredible. I have always known and heard that my dad was getting treated at one of the most amazing facilities in the world, but now I believe and can attest to it. In the world of cancer things can get pretty hopeless, but seriously Huntsman does everything they can to put at least a little hope back into your life with all that they do at their campus.
We wound through the second floor of the building to the brain cancer "headquarters" I guess you could call it, they gave my dad his paper work and he went and got his blood drawn. We got to sit and talk with the nurse about Christmas as she took his blood and then stuck his samples into the tube system they have that sends it to their labs. By the time we walked back around the corner to our room, our doctors were there, along with a few nurses and clinical research leaders to go through all the routine check up. They were very kind, answering all of the questions that my sister (Whitney) and I had to ask. They asked about how my dad was feeling, did some "normal person" tests where they had my dad squeeze with his fingers, shrug his shoulders, push with his feet, ecc. They check to make sure that everything is equal and that there hasn't been any loss of motor function. Dad passed with flying colors :) Then the clinical research nurse/leader talked to my dad about the study he is a part of and checked up on how he is reacting to the shots they are giving him. Because of the type of cancer he has and its aggressive nature he has been able to be a part of this study that is in the last phases of testing. They administer shots periodically of a vaccine that triggers the white blood cells to attack a certain type of protein that is found on the cancer cells in his brain. We don't know if he is really getting the actual vaccine or just a placebo, but it is pretty amazing the types of things medicine is able to do these days.
Moving on, we finished the visit talking with the doctor. The blood levels came back normal and they are happy with the way things look. We are set for another round of chemo (which ends tomorrow! Kind of a funny coincidence that my dad's last dose of chemo this round will be on New Years' Eve. We will end this year off with a bang to cancer :)) But now to the good part!
After our regular visit, we drove just a couple minutes to the Huntsman Executive Headquarters to meet with the people in charge of funding and donations. We had a special slip of paper to give them and we were going to have the man of the hour do the honors of handing over the official check to Huntsman for all the money we had raised with our 5K fundraiser.
We all met in the main foyer of the building, it was a quiet day at their office because of the holidays and we made introductions and chatted a little bit together about our event. We told them about our dad and his winning battle, we told them about our AMAZING event and the incredible turnout that we had experienced, and then we announced the amount of money that we would be donating. Being able to experience the gasps, shouts, and expressions of gratitude from that small group of employees was so exciting. It was one of those moments when you feel like you have done something truly amazing for others. If they were just putting on a show, they did a dang good job, but I believe they were truly astonished/grateful for what we gave.
The official amount of money donated by Team IronDean and all of our amazing support was
They couldn't believe it! We gave them some of the extra Team IronDean swag that we had and snapped some pictures of the official handing over of the funds. We need to make a big shoutout to each and every one of you that made that donation possible. THANK YOU for your support of our dad through this trial and THANK YOU for being a part of this winning fight with us. Cancer isn't going to tear us down. Not Team IronDean :) I have been able to witness some of the sweetest moments of my life as we have been reminded of what REALLY is important and watched as so many people have rallied around a cause that is truly inspiring and worthwhile. It is funny to hear my dad talk about this "dream" of cancer. Coming back from a run with a headache, next thing he knows he is in the hospital, then they have taken out a tangerine-sized tumor and now it is just back to the usual...with a little extra care and attention mixed in there :) That man is amazing and I am so blessed and honored to call him my dad. He is an inspiration to me and to all of the people that know him or hear about his story. He has never even considered giving up or surrender and I don't think he ever could. It isn't in his DNA. I thank our loving God every day for the blessings he has given my family to have been given so much during these tough times. We are truly blessed. And we pray for all of the people facing this and other devastating trials and tragedies. Hopefully you as well have seen God's hand during this Christmas season. Team IronDean prays for you.