At the beginning of September, we were asked if Beads of Courage could use one of Tucker's 4 year pictures in their campaign to encourage people to carry Beads when they compete. Of course we said yes and, after doing a little research, I decided that I would try to get the University of Tennessee to participate in the program.
I had a tremendous amount of luck in this effort and the UT athletic department was very interested in learning more and possibly having some players carry Beads of Courage.
|Tennessee Team Beads of Courage|
We arrived at Neyland Stadium after lunch on November 23rd for the game against Vanderbilt, the last home game of the year, senior day. We checked out some of the tailgate parties and Tucker danced to the music. About an hour and a half before kickoff, we made our way down to the stadium for the Vol Walk. We waited and watched as the coaches, players, cheerleaders, and band paraded past us ALL of them wearing Beads of Courage. Tucker got to "high-5" some of the players and coaches as they passed.
|Tucker at the Vol Walk|
|Tucker & Michael Palardy|
|Tucker telling Michael his age|
It was an amazing day for Tucker and for us. I don't think there is any doubt that Tucker is a Tennessee fan now and he sings "Rocky Top" almost daily.
The next day we traveled south to Whitwell, TN to see some of Dena's family. It was great to catch up with them and for Tucker to get to see where his Papa grew up.
It was a fast trip that covered a lot of miles, but it was worth every minute of it. We left Texas on Thursday afternoon and were back at home by Monday night.
We are very excited to know that every single Bead that was carried that night will give enCouragement to a child fighting CHD or cancer. Tucker's story helped make it happen and he continues to get to bless others.
|Tucker meeting Smokey|
|Tucker & "The Real" Smokey|
We are eternally grateful to Ashely from Beads of Courage and Antone Davis and the University of Tennessee Athletic Department for making it all possible.
"Rocky Top will always be home sweet home to me!"