My husband, Jonathan, tells me Thursday night we are having dinner with his boss on Friday. The thing that bugged me about this was the time. I had to be back home from work and ready by 4:30. It’s hard enough for me to get home by five on a normal day but add the end of the 6 weeks to the equation and let’s just say I was stressed.
On Friday afternoon, nothing seemed to go as planned for me. Everything took twice as long and three times as frustrating than I planned for or seemed normal. Chemo brain at its finest! I rushed around to leave school and get home in enough time to get ready for this dinner by 4:30. Anxiety and stress just don’t mix well with a bad day. Meltdown in the making began to pour out of my pot. Jonathan says my jeans and shirt are just fine. It’s not a fancy dinner after all and we can leave 20 minutes later. Whoa! What?!?! Not normal. Red flag.
On the way to so called dinner at a place I could never get the name of but was new and supposedly awesome but needed no GPS to get there (hmmmm), we have to stop at Academy to get a Cowboys flag for Jon’s boss’ car! Nope! Not buying it! Jonathan parks the car and I announce I’m staying in the car because it’s cold and rainy outside. No one needsme to go in and buy a flag. Jon tries first and then the kids guilt me into getting out of the car. Not happily by the way either! I’m ranting about it not being fair that I have to go inside in the cold as my family smiles and falls behind me letting me go first.
I walk into the store to a crowd of people clapping. Ummm . . . Awakward! Thinking I must have been the five hundredth customer to walk in the door or something silly like that, I bow and try to make my way around the group of people standing in front of all the Cowboys gear in search of that car flag, so we can go eat.
This man stops me and asks if I’m “Kandi Stewart” – okay, so I’m a lot freaked out at this point. I remember looking back at Jonathan to come and save me from the crazy Academy worker who knows my name, but he just smiles with his eyes dancing as if it’s Christmas morning. The man from Academy (his name is Matt by the way) asks me if I’d like 4 tickets and a parking pass to the Dallas Cowboys game on Sunday. I’m pretty sure I said yes before he finished talking but I was blown away excited!!! I hugged that strange man and cried right there in front of everyone. And if that wasn’t enough, Academy threw in a $200 gift card we were able to spend on the spot on Dallas Cowboys gear. Unbelievable!
The crazy part of this story follows shortly after receiving the tickets. Apparently someone in leadership at Academy saw my story on NBC5 that had aired in November after I was chosen as one of the five Star Survivors in an essay contest put on by Komen, Ford and the Cowboys. This person from Houston wanted to gift my family and me this amazing experience. I’m still in shock!
We didn’t go to dinner with Jon’s boss either in case you were wondering. That was just part of the setup. I guess the Academy person contacted NBC5 who contacted my school district who put the reporter in touch with my principal who then allowed the reporter to get in touch with my husband. Jon called the person in Houston who then put him in touch with Matt at Academy Grapevine. My kids and husband knew the day before and kept it all a secret. They pulled off an amazing surprise!
The game was nearly everything one could wish for out of a competition. The only drawback was the Cowboys didn’t finish the fight. I left thankful for the experience. It will be something I’m forever grateful for and will remember always. Yet, I was crushed in their defeat! I wanted them to win so badly in the same season I did. It seemed perfect, yet it didn’t go down that way. In reflection, I realize their season was a lot like my 2015-16 school year. I was sure I had finished my fight only to find out I had more surgeries and difficulties to go through. Other cancer patients are just like me and Cowboys players are at that same point. A choice has to be made and I know they will choose to FIGHT! It’s all they know. I challenge every reader to do the same. No matter what challenges you are facing – FINISH THIS FIGHT!
Academy Sports and Outdoors thank you again for helping us make more memories with our kids.
Video of my surprise and the Nov. newscast