I have definitely had proud moments in my lifetime, however, none of them seem worthy enough to be deemed the proudest moment. I've been throwing this question around in my head for a few days, and I think I know what my answer is.
My freshman year of college started off perfectly. I had a great roommate who I became fast friends with. I loved my classes and my campus. I joined rugby and was a starter, even though I'd only been playing for a month. I even formed a team for the Relay for Life, which was to take place the next April. Everything was perfect!
I flew home for fall break (my very first time flying alone, and 2nd time flying ever). While I was home, Mrs. Kane got in touch with me. She wanted me to see Liam while I was home, and there seemed to be some urgency in her voice. The day before I left, Liam was in outpatient at A.I. duPont Children's Hospital (about 5 minutes from my house) getting platelets, so I visited him with Kelsey and Dan. When it was time to leave, I walked away, glancing over my shoulder at Liam every few seconds. The last time I looked at him before walking through the door, he was looking intently up at his father, while Mr. Kane was talking to him.
It was the last time I saw Liam with life running through his little body. 39 days later, while I was 450 miles away, Liam passed away at home, in his parents' arms. My mom called me... I was at the caf on campus, eating lunch with two friends. I had just sat down with my tray when I answered my phone. "Kris...today is the day that Liam died". I will never, ever forget those words. "What?" I screeched. "What? What? What?" I just kept saying "what" and "No!" I left my friends and tray behind, ran out of the caf, pounded down the stairs and burst into the fountain area. I paced the sidewalk, crying so hard I couldn't see, dialing numbers...calling Kim and Suzi. I called my mom back and she immediately got me a flight home for the next day. The rest is a big blur. Suzi had been on her way to work and she came to campus right away with Kim. My friends from the caf abandoned their lunches and came to find me. While we were still outside, I was sobbing and a cop came over to make sure everything was okay. Kim and Suzi took me up to my room and packed my bag for me. Kim took me to her apartment, where I spent the evening and night curled up on the couch, trying to watch television through my tears. I boarded a flight the next morning and the rest is somewhat of a blur.
When I got back to Greensboro after Thanksgiving, I promised myself that I would still do the Relay for Life. I had an even better reason and motivation now. I worked so hard on that team. We called it "Legs for Liam" and I became passionate about raising money. My original goal of $750 was passed, so I raised it to $1,000, which I then reached. When I realized that checks and cash were reaching my mailbox in record numbers, I upped my goal to $2,000. I reached that goal with ease, and raised somewhere around $2,400. Our team raised by FAR the most money in the entire Relay for Life. We raised $5,462. I was so proud of my team and of myself. I felt like Liam was proud of me, which was the best feeling in the entire world. I was on Cloud Nine the entire night of the relay. My mom and sister drove down for it, and they brought with them a package from the Kanes. They sent a HUGE tub full of Liams favorite foods and drinks. His favorite cookies, favorite chips, favorite gatorade... I remember pulling the team together before the relay started and reading them the letter from the Kanes (which I still have, and read sometimes). When I finished and looked up, so many people had tears in their eyes, and I felt like Liam was making a difference.
I was so proud of myself for putting that team together. I had really kickass tshirts made and went to all of the meetings. I remember swelling with pride at every collection night. I would bring up the latest bunch of checks or cash from the entire team, and every time it was hundreds and hundreds of dollars. The Relay for Life treasurer's mouth would drop every time at the first few collections, and then she became used to me turning in so much money. She would just shake her head and smile.
It felt so good to raise so much money for the American Cancer Society. I know that ACS does not allocate appropriate funds for Pediatric Cancer, however, even though my team was named Legs for Liam, I formed that team to honor each person in my life who had been affected by cancer, including my Grandmother, my cousins' father, and many friends of the family.
That was a pretty long and drawn out answer... but Liam is my favorite topic of conversation, so I can't help it. :)