Hundreds turn out to support 3-year-old Delaney Wadsworth
August 30, 2010
Nichole Ward saw the flier in the Bank of Colorado in Windsor, Colo., where she works, and immediately thought of her own children.
The flier was for a dinner hosted by the Bethel Lutheran Church in Windsor for Delaney Wadsworth. Delaney, Ward read, is 3 and has an inoperable brain tumor. The kind she has is considered 100 percent fatal.
That’s why Ward found herself among hundreds of others at the Windsor Community Recreation Center, away from the bands and the people who were constantly hugging each other and all seemed to know each other, at a spaghetti dinner and benefit for Delaney’s parents, Jason and Brenna. She was helping Alina, her 19-month-old, select either a green or blue duck at the carnival across the hallway and telling her 8-year-old, Haven, that maybe she got a little too much candy.
“If it were my children, I would want the same support,” Ward said.
Perhaps that’s why people packed the recreation center Sunday, Aug. 22, other than the fact that they all knew Jason and Brenna (Jason said as much). Delaney doesn’t really believe in strangers: As soon as she sticks her eyes on yours, you’re a friend. That, maybe more than anything, seems to have captured the heart of Windsor.
“She got my personality, because I’m not shy, and her mother’s looks,” Jason said. “Best of both worlds.”
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Sure, but all those people wearing the pink “We Believe in Miracles” T-shirts? And the hundreds packing the gym? And the hundreds more offering donations in a time when families are choosing between a movie or a dinner out, not both?
“We were crossing our fingers for 300,” said Kacy Mitchell, who organized the event with a half-dozen others and lives in Kersey, Colo. “This is absolutely overwhelming. There are what, 400? Maybe 500. I dunno.”
Mitchell, like many others, still doesn’t exactly know why she was drawn to Delaney. She went to Windsor High School with Jason but wasn’t really friends with him.
“Sometimes God gives you a gentle nudge one way or another,” Mitchell said. “But when I heard about this, it was a bright, flashing neon light. It was something I had to do.”
Delaney didn’t really know that all the fuss was for her. She liked the attention and gifts, of course, because most 3-year-olds like attention and gifts. She got to dance with Elvis – though she wanted to quit after one number – and get picked up by dozens and share her toys with anyone who stuck their face in hers to say hi. Lots wanted to say hi.
There isn’t much hope medically, Jason said, and he and Brenna don’t want to put her through the chemotherapy that could make her last six to nine months miserable. Her radiation treatments are over, and Tuesday, Aug. 24, Team Delaney found out that the tumor shrunk slightly and that she is doing very well but the diagnosis is still the same … so please keep her in your prayers, for a miracle.
That’s what they call themselves on the back of their white “Never Give Up” T-shirts. Jason is Daddy, and Brenna is Mommy.
And on the back of Delaney’s shirt? Team Captain, because every team needs a leader to pull it through.
Another way to measure popularity is Facebook, if you’re into that sort of thing, and the “Prayers for Delaney” page has 11,356 fans as of Aug. 26. The site also lists a Paypal address for donations at firstname.lastname@example.org.