Thursday, June 2, 2011

Project 1-2-3: Day 33 - Thoughts from a Volunteer

Note: Starting May 1st and continuing for the 123 days leading up to the start of the 2011 college football season, "Project 1-2-3" will share pictures, videos and memorable moments from the last nine years of Special Spectators game day events.

By Kay Tangner
Special Spectators Volunteer

The anticipation of something great such as attending a Big 12 football game . . .

Goosebumps popping up while waiting in the tunnel before the OSU football team runs onto the field . . .

Looks of pure happiness on a child’s face who has Ewing’s Sarcoma after posing with a group of energetic cheerleaders . . .

Tears of joy trickling down a dad’s face as he shares a special day of memories with his son ...

Handshakes, laughs, and hugs exchanged between pediatric patients and NCAA athletes prior to kickoffs, tipoffs, and first pitches . . .

Hospital visits by a Heisman trophy winner to the oncology ward at The Children’s Hospital OU Medical Center . . .

Statements by children with chronic or terminal illness i.e.
“This is the best day of my life.” “I’ve never had so much fun.” “I’ll never
forget this as long as I live.”

These are only a few of my favorite things that I can tell you about
my experiences as a volunteer for Special Spectators.

“The joy is in the journey” begins the moment the patient understands they are a Special Spectator. It is my theory (which is based on my observations and has no scientific evidence) that Special Spectators also carries a special psychological factor. The patient’s mood seems to be happier. Their focus changes from “I am sick” to “I’m a Special Spectator”. Their timeline changes from “when is chemo? to “when is Special Spectators?” I have heard, on more than one occasion, “I need to eat, drink, and rest so I will be ready for Special Spectators.”

Priceless memories have been made for so many families facing perhaps the most difficult time in their lives. They are all so grateful and appreciative for the opportunity to have a happy, special event to share together amongst the sad, sick, difficult times.

It is an honor and privilege to be a Special Spectators volunteer.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

Kay Tangner has been a Special Spectators volunteer since 2004 helping with our Oklahoma and Oklahoma State game day events. For the past 20 years, Kay has run the volunteer art program at the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer & Blood Disorder in Children. She also plays a significant role with the benefit, "Art with a Heart" which raised $55,000 in 2011. Each summer for the last 13 years, Kay has also volunteered for Camp Cavett. Kay and her husband, Skip, live in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Reminder: Need a gift for Dad or your favorite golfer? Order your Special Spectators Golf Package presented by DoGoodBuyUs. This exclusive package includes a dozen Nike One Vapor Speed golf balls, an Automatic Umbrella with 42-inch coverage, Eco Golf Tees in an organic cotton pouch, and a 5-Function Golf Tool (with a divot tool, cigar cutter, club face brush, stroke counter, ball mark and belt clip).

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