Drew Wall's Journal
Written Nov 26, 2013 7:44am by Robin Wall
We hope this note finds you well and hope you’re looking forward to a wonderful Thanksgiving. A year ago today, November 26, 2012 our Drew made his way home and Home. We brought him home from Iowa City to peacefully make his way Home to heaven.
We’re sure he’s had a most excellent year. He was the very first to welcome into heaven his Grandma Leta in April and his Grandpa Dye in August. He showed them all around and made them feel so right at home. Oh how we miss them, but it has given us so much peace to know they are all together and taking good care of each other.
We thought we’d share a few of Drew’s favorite things about this time of year.
Sleeping in – this week the Cedar Rapids schools have the whole week off from classes as they finished their finals and the first trimester on Friday. As much as Drew loved school, he really enjoyed sleeping in and having a break from how hard he worked at all his school work. We know Drew is especially proud of his brother this week – Adam finished his trimester with all A’s (even has A’s in his two AP classes – AP Bio and AP Psych, along with LA, Adv.Algebra 2, World History and Chinese). Adam is honoring his brother by sleeping in today until basketball practice at noon :)
Savor great food– Drew loved to eat all kinds of food! Take time to savor some great food this week and enjoy it with family! We’re looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with family in Cambridge, IA.
Christmas decorations – Drew loved all the lights - from the time he was little he liked to ride around and check out all the Christmas lights. He was always willing to help me put up outdoor lights and decorate the tree. I treasure and adore all the Christmas ornaments that Adam and Drew made while in preschool and elementary school. He knew they were my favorites and I think he loved getting them out and putting them on our tree as much as I do.
Snow – we got a few inches here in Cedar Rapids yesterday, not a lot, but an enough to make the cold enjoyable. Drew loved to be out in the snow from sledding to skiing. He first skied on two legs at age 9 and 10. In March of 2007, we all went to Colorado to ski with Grandpa Dye who also loved to ski and wanted to celebrate his 70th birthday on the slopes. Drew also skied on one leg with his classmates on their 8th grade ski trip. We’re sure Drew and Grandpa have been enjoying the slopes of heaven – oh the view from those chair lifts has to be amazing. :)
Christmas music – he loved all the classic Christmas carols and played a beautiful Silent Night on piano. Two of his other favorite Christmas time songs are the original Thurl Ravenscroft’s You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch! Watch the classic cartoon or YouTube just the song – he would sing every word and really loved the line about the seasick crocodile. As a pianist he also loved to play the original Linus and Lucy song by Vince Guaraldi (even the tough part in the middle:) from the Peanuts Christmas program.
Thank you for helping us remember Drew today. We miss him so much!
Enjoy Thanksgiving, count your blessings and look forward to a blessed Christmas remembering the true reason for the season.
With all our love and thankfulness for your prayers and support,
We’re LivingStrong by Joshua 1:9,
Robin, Doug and Adam
Written Aug 30, 2013 11:15am by Robin WallHello Dear Family and Friends,
We wanted to post today to try to spread the word that Drew's Grandpa, (my Dad), Bob Dye, suffered a stroke on Tuesday following a scheduled knee replacement surgery. We are now at St. Luke's Hospital in the hospice center. We know that many of you may also know my dad, and thought, especially because of the urgent nature of this illness, this might be a good way to spread the word to our family & friends.
Thank you so much for the love and your continued prayers for us. It's been a tough week, but we have all found peace within and are thankful for this lovely new hospice wing as Dad is so restful.
If you'd like to follow dad's CaringBridge page, please do:
Thank you so much, again, for the love and the prayers.
Robin and Doug and Adam
For the entire Bob Dye family
Written Jun 27, 2013 6:34am by Robin Wall
We hope this note finds you enjoying your summer. We want you all to know we’re doing well and we know that Drew would have it no other way.
17 years ago today, on one of the hottest days of 1996, our Drew was born about 7 am. He was 9 lbs 5 ½ oz and was 21” long. We thought it would be nice to honor his Birthday today by passing on a few of his very favorite things. Pick one or two and help us remember him today.
Play Golf - Wear a polo and nice pair of golf shorts and be sure to tuck your shirt in! :) Play a round, or just 9 holes, or a hit bucket of balls at the driving range. Even a round of miniature golf in his honor would make him smile! If you don’t play golf you can always watch it – today is the first round of the AT & T National at Congressional. Drew liked how Tiger Woods and the PGA make it a priority to honor the people who serve in the Military at this tournament.
Ride your bike - Get out and enjoy summer from your bike. No bike – that’s okay – take a walk in Drew’s honor and thank the very good Lord for both your legs. :) Or lift some weights – another Drew passion. He was such an inspiration for our family to get out in the garage and lift together. It wasn’t a chore for him – he loved to get stronger.
Play some piano or listen to music – he loved it all from U2 to Reliant K and anything in between. Here are a few of his favorites: "What Faith Can Do" recorded by Kutless, "Word of God, Speak" by MercyMe, "I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin, "How He Loves" by John Mark McMillan, "Grace Like Rain" recorded by Todd Agnew.
Barbecue - especially a big juicy t-bone steak or baby back ribs, even a big juicy burger - don’t forget the baked potato and asparagus with lots of butter – save room for chocolate cake or brownies!
Read your Bible – The New Living Translation was Drew’s favorite. Read Joshua 1 - re-read verse 8 and 9 a couple of times and remember how well Drew lived by these verses! Read Psalm 139. Drew memorized that entire chapter when he was 7. You can go to biblegateway.com right now and click on the NLT translation and type in Joshua 1 and Psalm 139. You’ll be amazed.
Hug-your-brother (or sister) AND hug your mom and dad – Drew loves his brother so much – their hugs were more like wrestling matches. We miss his hugs but know the love he had for his family will keep us going.
We also want to thank Natalie for setting up this facebook birthday event for Drew – you can check it out by clicking here https://www.facebook.com/events/382597591842531/ Tell us about your 17 random acts of kindness.
We want to thank all of you for your continued prayers for us. We can feel God’s blessings each day for peace. He truly helps us get through the jello moments when we miss our Drew so much. We thought you might want to know some of ways we’ve tried to Live Strong by Joshua 1:9 for Drew since we last wrote in January (so sorry it’s been so long since we gave you an update).
Adam finished his freshman year at Kennedy doing better and better in his classes. I think he knew his brother would want him to keep working hard, apply himself and do his very best in every class. His final GPA is an awesome 4.055. Great job Adam – we are so proud of you!
He also finished his freshman basketball season improving with every game. In his final game against Xavier on Feb 12 Adam had 12 rebounds, 6 block shots and 17 points but the coolest part was his game winning offensive rebound and basket at the buzzer! Drew was always Adam’s biggest cheerleader and we know he had the best seat in the house for every game and was so proud of his brother.
The following weekend Adam had tryouts for a traveling AAU team and he made the top 15u team for Pump N Run out of North Liberty. What an incredible learning experience that has been. It’s a great group of boys from all over eastern Iowa and we’ve had a good time traveling almost every weekend to watch him play in tournaments in IA, WI, MN and IL. We have two tournaments left in July (Bloomington, MN July 19-21 and Kansas City, MO July 26-28). It’s been very nice to get to know the other parents and families. Along with AAU basketball Adam has gotten a lot out of the Athletic Republic program at our local fitness club. He works one-on-one with a trainer a couple of times a week to improve foot speed, strength, vertical jump, etc. He also has been doing some one-on-one training with Duez Henderson and Jason Price through Bound for Glory. Duez and Jason run the Pump N Run organization and both played basketball at Iowa. Adam also attended the “Big Man” Camp at UNI last week (at 6’8”, he qualifies :). Adam’s summer has been filled with a lot of basketball and workouts and he seems to love it almost as much as sleeping in. :)
To back pedal just a little, we really enjoyed our trip to Florida for Spring Break in March. We spent a week in the Panhandle and explored from Destin, to Panama City Beach all the way to Mexico Beach. The weather was warm and the sunshine was wonderful. A dear friend from my office offered us a perfect little house in Miramar Beach in a quiet neighborhood just a short distance to the beach. We spent a day with them at Mexico Beach and even did some skeet shooting at his farm in Youngstown (Adam’s great at it – I am not!) One of our favorite days was exploring Camp Helen State Park. We found a perfect place to leave a little of Drew – right on the beach under the incredible old dock. We’re sure he enjoys the view and surf.
On April 5, just two days shy of her 91st birthday, Doug’s sweet Mom, Leta Wall passed away. We know Drew was holding the gates of heaven wide open for her and he was very excited to show his dear Grandmother around. She died peacefully in her sleep after suffering a stroke on Palm Sunday. Here is a copy of her memorial sharing about her incredible life: http://www.teahenfuneralhome.com/?p=2650
April 30, the three of us attended Kennedy’s Senior Recognition Night. It was our pleasure to present the first Annual Drew Wall Scholarship to senior golfer Davie Sutton. Coach Wilden and the entire Kennedy golf team and their families sold over 2,500 of the “Just Drew It” t-shirts. We were able to put all of those proceeds into an endowed scholarship fund with the Greater Cedar Rapids Foundation and so every year from now on we’ll be able to give a $1,000 scholarship to a Kennedy senior golfer for college. We’re so blessed by the t-shirts incredible outpouring of support and we couldn’t possibly come up with a better way to honor Drew. It makes us so happy to see the purple Just Drew It t-shirts at random times all over the city and state. Thank you to each and everyone that wears one with pride.
On May 8, KCRG (a local TV station) held the annual Athlete of the Week Banquet. They wanted to honor Drew with a memorial Athlete of the Week award. The evening was very touching and they played the feature news story they had done on Drew last summer. We are very blessed by such a caring community that has been touched by Drew’s inspirational story.
On May 30, Adam and Doug were guests of Kirk and Mary Ferentz at the Annual U of IA Children’s Hospital Open. Drew had been the speaker at last year’s event and Coach Ferentz spoke this year. Coach did a wonderful job and much to our surprise he told Drew’s story to everyone this year. Drew’s story of strength and courage continues to inspire so many.
On June 3, Doug and I were honored to attend the 8th Grade Recognition ceremony at Taft Middle School. The staff and students wanted to do something to honor Drew’s memory and they have named their Leadership Award for Drew. We were able to present the Drew Wall Leadership Medals to the 8th grade Leadership team and are so blessed by their commitment to honor him in this way.
We really enjoyed our annual Wall/Ceynar/Salzbrennar family reunion at the Adventureland Inn June 8 and 9. It was wonderful to share memories of Leta and Drew, as well as Uncle Bill and Uncle Don. We’re also looking forward to our Dye/McGinnis/Crowell family reunion in New York July 11-14 at the Lighthouse Christian Camp in Barker, NY.
On June 21, Doug and I were invited to share at the official Groundbreaking for the new U of IA Children’s Hospital. It meant a lot to us to represent the families of patients and talk about our role with the Family Advisory Council. It was important to us to share, that along with the patients and families, this new hospital is for the amazing staff, doctors and nurses. They truly deserve the world class facility to match the world class care they provide. We also wanted to represent Drew and all his hard work with the Youth Advisory Council. He had such a passion for doing his part to raise money for the new Children’s Hospital and took his role in the planning of the new hospital very seriously. Bryan LaRue, a fellow member of the Youth Advisory Council, was also a part of the program. He is an amazing young man and had his Just Drew It t-shirt on. He shared these words, “I would like to take this moment in front of you all here today to recognize Drew Wall, a very valuable member of our team who unfortunately passed away before he could see our team’s ideas and dreams become a reality. See, I was asked earlier this month what I was most excited about in our new children’s hospital here at the University of Iowa and after many hours of looking over the notes from our meetings I finally figured it out. It’s kind of bitter sweet, but once the foundation is poured and the walls are built the ideas and dreams of Drew Wall will be alive once again and that is what I am most excited about.”
Bryan didn’t know we were going to be there and was simply sharing from his heart. It was a beautiful day and we’re grateful for the opportunity to continue to be involved with the hospital. Here is video of the event (Bryan’s part is at the 8 minute mark and Doug and I are at the 12 minute mark). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGayAgCl7oM
In August, right before schol starts, we have a vacation to Boston and the coast of Maine planned. We’re looking forward to getting away together and will take a little of Drew with us on our adventure. We’ll take in a game at Fenway Park (the Yankees are in town) and take our time driving the Coast in a convertible.
I’m so sorry this is so long – Thank you for taking some time to remember Drew today and for all your continued prayers for us. Please leave us a guest book note – share with us your favorite Drew memory or tell us what you’re up to this summer.
Blessings to you all!
We’re Living Strong by Joshua 1:9 for Drew,
Robin and Doug and Adam