It was a week ago today that I was given the opportunity to meet the man who gave me a second chance at life. There is so much I could talk about regarding Matt and my trip to Austin to meet David and his family at Austin City Limits Music Festival; I have no clue where to begin! It is hard for me to describe how truly amazing it was! David and I hit it off instantly. Matt said it was amazing to see how quickly we talked as if we were brother and sister. I was anxious to meet him because I didn’t know how it’d all go. You hope it’ll be easy to talk to your donor; this exceeded my expectations. In fact now having met him I think it will be a lot easier from here on out to talk. Before we met I had so much to say and ask but no clue how I would do it. Now it’s like talking to family!
Matt and I landed in Austin last Thursday afternoon, checked into the hotel, cleaned up and then headed to meet with the Red Bull team to film my interview portion of the segment. I was a bit tired from traveling but we got through the interview (baking in the Texas sun) fairly quick once the setting was chosen. The director, George, wanted me to elaborate on the inappropriate jokes when I mentioned humor. Inappropriate humor was one of the main ways how we got through my hospital stays but I couldn’t do it…needed to keep it PG haha 😃 Once we were done filming, Matt and I went to Lamberts Downtown Barbeque and ate at the bar, enjoying good food and local beer. We were both getting antsy to meet David, it was really all we could talk about!
Friday we were driven in to the production trailers for Red Bull to get our “crew” passes for the festival and given meal tickets to use in catering. These passes got us access to most areas behind the scenes which was pretty cool. We spent most of our weekend in this area outside the general festival grounds called the Artist Lounge hanging out with David and his family and friends (more on that later!). Not thinking about Texas weather and how I shouldn’t get too much sun, I didn’t bring a hat. Dr. Chen would be proud of Matt for scolding me on that one! Matt and I had time to kill before they filmed the first time David and I met so we walked around the festival enjoying music and the vendors, one of which is where we picked up a new hat for me.
I also captured a pretty cool panoramic photo that didn’t really show how many people were at the festival or all the different stages but does give you an idea of the venue with the Austin skyline in the distance! It was such a cool festival and tons of people!
We were scheduled to meet David that afternoon at 3:30 but I got a text from the Red Bull team postponing it until 5…I was so anxious at this point because I just wanted to meet him already! I felt like we were enjoying ourselves but by having to wait to meet him, our minds were focused on that more than enjoying the music! It was about 4:30 when we were listening to Billy Idol that I couldn’t wait anymore and told Matt we should head over to the meeting place. Tronica (the Red Bull producer) saw us and said she almost texted to tell us to not be early because she figured we were excited. Lucky for them we walked right by the press area and didn’t notice them in there filming David’s interview so the meeting wasn’t ruined! After a little more waiting the time had come for us to meet! Instead of describing it I will post the Red Bull video here… http://aclfest.redbull.tv/video/AP-1JYTGBCS91W11/acl-cares-austin-city-limits-2015 Red Bull did a phenomenal job putting the piece together…get your tissues ready for the emotion! 😂
After meeting David, you will see on the footage we met his mom, Carmen. It was nice hearing her story, getting to learn about how well she is doing and how David got onto the registry. What an incredible woman! From there we began to meet all those closest to David. I cannot begin to list everyone we met, it was fantastic! We spent most of the weekend with David, his mom Carmen, dad Ken, girlfriend Ryley, and her dad Logan. We met his work crew and brother, Brian and some of his friends too! It was phenomenal…I don’t know how else to describe it! We enjoyed music all weekend but mostly spent time with David, family and friends; that time with them was most important to us! I will have to credit the remainder of the photos to Carmen and Ryley…
Something I didn’t mention was that a local news crew stopped by the LHS booth to do a segment where they interviewed me. Like all news reports, it wasn’t completely accurate but the good thing that came from it was the following day people went to the booth saying they saw the segment and wanted to join the registry! That is what matters! http://www.kvue.com/story/news/local/2015/10/03/donor-meets-woman-he-saved-acl/73318740/
Lastly, it was bittersweet for Matt and I to leave Austin. We didn’t want to say goodbye to David and the wonderful people we met. With that said, we know it won’t be the last time we go to Austin! We now are blessed to have family there! I think the next trip we are hosting so David and Ryley can visit us in Maine where we can introduce them to our family and our neck of the woods! We love you guys! Thank you all for the hospitality and thank you to Red Bull, C3 Presents, ACL, and Love Hope Strength for an amazing and unforgettable weekend!