Amy Roberts: From the bottom of my heart
January 13, 2015
This time of year, I find myself buying a lot of stationary and stamps. Last month’s holiday and birthday gifts from vendors, co-workers, family and friends mean I spend hours writing thank you notes.
The recipients of these handwritten cards often tell me they’re surprised to have gotten a thank you note in the mail. Call me old fashioned, but I’m a big believer emails, texts and Facebook posts just don’t cut it when it comes to expressing your appreciation. So every January, I write my way to the brink of carpal tunnel syndrome.
But every once in a while, a notecard becomes the equivalent of an email — it just simply isn’t enough. It can’t possibly capture the amount of gratitude you feel. And that’s when I’m really happy to have a weekly column. Because this space in the paper provides me with a lot more ink to express how grateful I truly am. Both to my friends who embraced an idea and to a ski resort that helped make it all happen.
My sister, Heather, who is terminally ill with brain cancer, has always wanted to come to Park City for the FIS Visa Freestyle World Cup. With her tumor growing again, we decided this was the year this trip needed to come together. But given her illness, there were some obstacles I had to ensure we could overcome first. Her brain surgeries have resulted in her left side being partially paralyzed, so walking up the hill at Deer Valley Resort to the event wasn’t really an option. When I called Deer Valley’s marketing director, Coleen Reardon, and asked if there was another way to get Heather up the hill, Coleen and her team graciously arranged snowmobile transportation for her. And then, they sweetened the deal and threw in some VIP passes so Heather could experience the event in style and enjoy the Deer Valley difference.
That alone would have been enough to make her weekend unforgettable. But in this town, anything worth doing is worth going overboard for.
I mentioned to my dear friend Christina Shiebler how nice it was of Deer Valley to arrange these passes, and Christina decided even more could be done to make my sister’s weekend here extra special. And just like that, Operation: Make Heather’s Park City Vacation Amazing was underway. Christina called her friend, Trisha Worthington, at the USSA and managed to get Heather outfitted in US Ski & Snowboard team swag — right down to the cowbell. Which, again, would have been more than enough. But Christina was on a mission. It was like Make-A-Wish for adults. Christina, whose boyfriend is aerialist’s coach Joseph Davies, pulled a few more strings and arranged for Heather to have a private tour of the USSA building, with Joe as her guide.
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I had a work commitment and was unable to attend, but the smile on Heather’s face when I picked her up was nothing short of ear-to-ear. The rest of the weekend she quizzed me on all she’d learned during her tour. "Do you know how high those aerialist’s jump during the competition?"
Without waiting for me to respond with a "No" she blurted out, "65 feet!" And proceeded to explain to me in great detail a variety of other lesser-known facts about the sport.
But Christina didn’t stop there. Aware Heather is a Packers fan, and myself a Cowboys fan, she wanted to be sure we watched Sunday’s NFL playoff game in style and somehow got the Boneyard to give Heather a gift certificate to what is now her most favorite bar in the world. Especially considering the Packers won.
And while my sister was showered with attention and gifts and extra special everything during her stay, what she’s most thankful for is the same thing I am: friends that go above and beyond, for no other reason than to spread joy. From the bottom of my heart, I thank them.
Amy Roberts is a longtime Park City resident, freelance writer and the proud owner of two ill-behaved rescue dogs, Boston and Stanley.