Saturday, May 31, 2008

Susan and Sparkle

On Saturday, Susan went out to the playroom where she met two live clowns for the first time. She hung out with Sparkle and Jimbo and a few of the other children at Shriner's. The kids loved the magic, and Susan figured out a trick. Thank you to Sparkle and Jimbo.

Time for Bed

This is Friday night, the 4th night since her surgery. Susan is on track and recovering well. Always in good spirits, even when in pain. She is hoping to get to the playroom a little this weekend.

First Day in a Wheelchair

This was Susan's first time out of bed. She now has her permit to drive. She has been getting in and out of bed a few times a day, for a few minutes at a time. The donor site is still very sore but she likes to sit in the chair and roll around the room every now and then. And of course, she is happy.

Day After Surgery

Susan has come through surgery and all is well. She is still in some pain, especially at the donor site. Her spirits are up and she is looking forward to getting out of bed.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Surgery was a success and Susan slept for much of the night. John stayed by her side every moment and felt the tremendous relief of knowing that a family member has made it through a difficult ordeal. All team members are so happy that the first phase has been completed and Susan's legs can now heal properly.

Surgery Day

John prepares Susan before going into surgery. After two years of planning, the day has finally arrived. After this photo was taken, Susan spent three hours having re-constructive surgery on both of her legs.

Tour of the Operating Room

Jackie, Susan, and John take a tour of the pre-surgery, operating, and recovery rooms. Thank you David Simon for showing us all the different equipment and explaining to us what to expect. This helped tremendously.

Two Days Before Surgery

Susan spends her last day at the beach, relaxing but getting prepared for her upcoming surgeries. She is nervous and excited at the same time. She will no doubt have lots of support, from both friends and strangers, as she gets ready to be admitted to Shriner's for her first inpatient stay.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Updated Needs

Susan's long journey of healing will now require two surgeries instead of one. Her legs must have time to heal and she may need to stay in the United States until the second surgery can be performed in September. This presents a new set of already difficult challenges, both financially and emotionally. Susan is very hopeful that she will be able to stay and receive the second surgery which will address her abdomen and chest area. This will allow her to eat normally again. Our new goal is to raise enough money to keep her in the Boston area during this time. We also need volunteers to help with housing and care during her extended stay. Please write if you can help this wonderful and loving child.

First Day at Shriner's

On Wednesday, Susan met with the team at Shriner's for the first time. She had her physical exam and pre-op consultation. Many plans were made and the first surgery has been confirmed for May 27th. This will focus on the urgent matter of her legs. Susan was told that she would need further surgery to address the different locations on her body, most importantly, her abdomen and chest area.
After the meeting with nurses and the surgeon, Susan saw the make up artist to learn how to apply skin toner in an effort to lessen the appearance of scarring on her arms.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Family

Susan is smiling more than we've ever seen! Jackie (Susan's host mom) has not only started Susan reading with an English picture dictionary, but also taught Susan to knit! We think about Susan's life and how special these simple lessons must be. We can't imagine what Susan was thinking when she got her first pedicure!

Fun in Target

Susan learns to knit- and LOVES it!

Susan learns card tricks!

Friday, May 16, 2008

"Hanging" in the Park

Matt and Susan take in the beautiful scenery, and historical surroundings, when suddenly, they look across the park, only to discover that John was a little confused as to what actually goes inside the rim of a basketball hoop.

Boiled in Boston

John and Matt get boiled in a lobster tank.

Matt and Susan at the Office

Susan, John, and Matt dropped Jackie off at work and met the District Attorney, Dan Conley, in person. DA Conley was so happy to see that they made it to Boston. Before they left, they took a picture outside the office in front of the big tooth.

At Home

It's Friday, the end of the first week in Boston. Here are John, Susan and Jackie outside of the house this morning. This is the beginning of a day on the town with Matt. (Photography by Matt)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

John With a Pal

John seems to make friends wherever he goes....

At the State House in Boston

John and Susan toured Boston today. John found his way from the State House, to Quincy Market, to the Charles River, all without taking out his map. He is thinking about applying for a job as a duck tour driver while he is here. They saw many beautiful parts of town, saw some interesting people, and also met a new friend, Dawn.


After our wonderful but hectic day, it was nice to go home and relax by hanging out and watching Seinfeld on DVD. Susan is laughing out loud (as are we) while we watch Kramer, George and the gang. Jim Carrey has also come to be a favorite, specifically Dumb and Dumber. Physical comedy knows no boundaries.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Susan's First Lunch in the U.S.!

From Ddegeya Village, a region with houses made of mud and no electricity or running water, to the insanity of downtown Boston, Susan and her guardian John, were slightly overwhelmed. To ease the transition, we headed for lunch at Karibu, an authentic Ugandan restaurant just outside Boston.

Susan, a quiet and shy young girl, was comforted to hear Luganda, her local language, being spoken by the restaurant owners. We dined to traditional matooke and G-nuts and were spoiled by the staff.

After lunch Susan opened gifts prepared by children from Bethlehem, NY and various refugee families from Atlanta. Cards, games, crafts and MP3 players were unwrapped, in hopes to make their hospital stay more comfortable. Susan thanked everyone for their generosity the best she could with the language barrier.

As most mothers do, we wanted to make sure everything was in order before our departure back to Albany. The most pressing matter we wanted Susan to understand - what stopped all conversations after lunch as we paused to listen to John translate the sum of all that was happening . . ."We care about you and only want the best for you. We hope you will accept us as your family not only now, but forever."

Monday, May 12, 2008

They're Here! - Tubasanyukidde (Welcome)

A group of 8 enthusiastic members of Team Susan waited anxiously at Logan International Airport for the arrival of John and Susan. The team engaged each other with stories and they practiced Luganda, Susan's native language.

As with any airport pickup there was a little confusion. The team in one area - the travelers in another. The confusion was quickly replaced with excitement and smiles when Susan recognized the Engeye t-shirt. She pointed to the woman, who was Theresa, and the connection was made. The moment we have prayed about, planned for and at times thought would never happen was here....they were here....we were here...together!

Thank you Bill Hurley and Family for taking our picture.

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Big Welcome to Susan from Bethlehem, NY

A big thank you to Hamagrael Elementary School in Bethlehem, NY and the Kids Helping Kids Program for their amazing, beautiful, thoughtful gifts, signs and cards for Susan. A special Team Susan SHOUT OUT to the classes of Mrs. Cox, Mrs. Szczech and Mrs. Schade for their generosity and kindness.