Joy for Junie

IMG_1735smlucas trainIMG_1813bwsmMany of you know that a few months ago we bought tickets for Sophie for “A Day Out With Thomas” at the B&O Railroad- an opportunity to not only ride on a real train, but a train pulled by Thomas himself!!! We were so sad when complications from chemo kept her in the hospital so long that we missed the event.

Sophie’s earliest memories are from the beach trip our family took in September. She was diagnosed with cancer in late November. So the majority of her life memories involved the hospital, pain, fatigue, frustration, separation from half of her family, and limited bodily function and autonomy. We so badly wanted to tip the balance a little toward the good and positive side for her. We wanted her to have pictures of a happy time to help her get through the hardship we knew she had ahead of her still.

It was a total blessing in disguise that we missed the opportunity to ride on what we later learned was a ‘stinky and old baltimore amtrak train’ pulled by Thomas.  A month or so later we got a tip that Thomas was coming to Lancaster County, PA and it was only a 2.5 hour drive from Children’s Hospital! We got tickets and kept our fingers crossed that this time would work out. And it did! ABC_7999smABC_8035smABC_7963smThe train was made up of historic late 1800s coaches that were beautifully restored.ABC_8070sm

ABC_8112smWe could also take a ride on a real steam engine afterwards and have lunch in the classy dining car- complete with stained glass window accents and gas candlelights!

ABC_8046smIMG_1755smAll of the conductors and railroad employees played the part as well- dressed in period costume. It was so much fun! An event Laith and I were thinking would be just for the kids turned out to be something we enjoyed immensely as well.IMG_1843b IMG_1744sm ABC_8081sm

In addition to the train rides, we were able to spend an extra day at the “Adventure Farm” where the kids could slide down hay bale shoots, hold and pet baby chicks, and other farm activities.Untitled-1sm IMG_1715 IMG_1702sm goatsm ABC_8062bsm

Sophie was still incredibly tired and weak and in need of comfort from Mommy so I had to hold her (and support her- she’s basically like a limp but movable sack of potatoes) the entire time. I was so bummed I couldn’t use my DSLR camera for the first time in ages because it was too heavy and bulky with her in-arms. I had to rely on Laith for most of the photos. Thank goodness he’s a good photographer!IMG_1808sm

ABC_8089smThe joy on her face as she first saw Thomas,

ThomasReactionand the peaceful contentment while she rode the train was priceless.sophie on thomasSM choooooSM

I’m so glad we made this trip and so glad she has some happy family memories now!

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4 thoughts on “Joy for Junie

  1. I’m so, so happy you all were able to make some joyful family memories together! The entire trip looked like a ton of fun for adults and kids. It’s wonderful to see the photos, especially the ones of Sophie with the goat and reacting to seeing Thomas. Keeping you all in our prayers,



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