Longtime Rudy’s Beat readers will remember heart hero Katie Manning…she was born with HLHS just 5 months before Rudy and her blog was one of the first Rolf discovered while searching the internet after Rudy’s diagnosis. Her parents became a source of great encouragement and friendship as we engaged in epic battles alongside our babies on opposite sides of the country. Katie lost her battle with HLHS 6 years ago today…November 9, 2008. It was a loss we felt deeply and her tragically short life impacts me still!!! I think of her often.
In the years since Katie’s death, her parents Vickie and Alan had 2 beautiful boys and started a non-profit in Katie’s memory called “Kisses from Katie” – a wonderful organization that seeks to provide a wide range of resources to critically ill children, their families and caregivers. Every year in November Kisses from Katie hosts an annual fundraiser called “A Night To Remember” and the Mannings invited us to share our family’s story this year. Since getting our family to CT is not possible, we opted to send a video instead. Granted, our attempt to produce a video presentation is pretty amateur but we’re hoping it communicates our family’s heart and gives the KfK donors a glimpse into a family’s life with a critically ill child.
Just two months after Katie’s death, Vickie and Alan visited Los Angeles and took time to visit us and Rudy in the hospital at UCLA – such a brave thing to do in the wake of their profound loss and grief. Although it was our first face-to-face meeting, there was an instant bond among us that made it feel like we were long lost friends. One of the many gifts of this journey. 🙂 We send our love to you Manning Family! We’re thinking of you today, remembering your precious Katie and praying for a successful Night To Remember on the 15th!