Sunday, October 12, 2008


*UPDATE 10/13/08: ari is undergoing brain surgery again tonight in order to remove a blood clot.

please keep her in your prayers.

as for the count for saturday's car wash, it faaaaaaaaar exceeded anyone's hopes or dreams: over SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS! almost $1K an hour!!!


last friday, one of our students, a 15 year old sophomore named arianna, was struck head-on by a hit-and-run driver at our homecoming game.

paramedics rushed her to the uci trauma center, where she underwent brain surgery and remains in critical condition.

while the rest of the student body laughed and cheered and enjoyed the evening's festivities, arianna fought for her life inside a speeding ambulance.

. . . police have still been unable to find the driver.

though i have yet to meet arianna, her friends, many of whom have been my students, tell me she is bright, happy, intelligent, beautiful, kind, generous, honest, and everything that's good and wonderful in the world.

so, last monday, when these same students approached me about assisting them in putting on a car wash fundraiser at our local bowling alley i was only too happy to help in whatever way possible.

several days of preparation later, we had THE SINGLE MOST SUCCESSFUL car wash we've ever had. the community support yesterday was overwhelming. we easily had 30+ cars per hour the entire time we were there! in fact, we had to keep open an extra hour just to accommodate everyone.

at 4am, i got up, got ready, and by 5am i was at school to pick up posters we'd made earlier in the week, as well as soap, cloths, buckets, hoses, and everything else we'd need throughout the day. i was sure i'd be doing it alone, that the kids would never manage to get up before the sun (god only knows they never make it to my english class on time), but imagine my surprise when i found all of their bright faces in front of the school ready to work (there were at least 100 kids helping. and that's not even counting all of the family, parents, and community members who showed up to work side-by-side with the kids. a special thanks to the gentleman--whose name presently escapes me--who brought in his power washing equipment to expedite the process . . . THANK YOU!)!

by 6am, everything and everyone was in place. then, about a quarter to 7am, cars began streaming in . . . a caravan of cars was lined up the major thoroughfare the ENTIRE day.

there were no breaks, no lunch, just LOTS of hard work (and admittedly, lots of laughs . . . ok, AND a little bit of yelling and whip-cracking on my part) for almost 9 hours.

i am soooooooooooooooo proud of our kids. wow. what an amazing group of students we have. we are so blessed to have such a fabulous, giving, caring school-community.

i still don't know how much money we raised (we charged $5 per car, but many generous people gave twice as much, and in some cases, twenty times the cost). i'm guessing several thousand ($2K at least), though not nearly enough to pay for what it's costing to keep ari in the hospital (hey, great to live in a country where there's no universal healthcare! yeah, arianna's mom is single and doesn't have health insurance, so everything is out of pocket).

still, we hope it's enough to let arianna and her family know that we support them, love them, and pray for them with all our hearts and might.

"be determined." --ari

(all photos 2008: whittier, ca.)

this is the face of complete and utter (yet smiley) exhaustion. up at 4am, finished at 1pm . . . what's that? nine hours (plus or minus 2 hours for setting up?) of car washing? yeah, and you see those nice, red cheeks? uh huh, someone forgot to wear sunblock. sweet.

BUT, it was sooooooooooooooo worth it.

get better soon, arianna!!! everyone misses you and me, well, i can't wait to meet you!


unique_stephen said...

Let us know ow she's going

Cassy said...

Hey LB, you are awesome for being so involved in the kids and their efforts. Amazing how, we teach them, and then they teach us more!
Que maja que eres!

I'm sending good wishes Ari's way...

Lana Banana said...

stephen: i will. it's one step forward and two steps back . . . so, please, just keep her in your thoughts.

my dear amiga: no, no, love. you had it right at the end . . . it's THEM. these kids just blow me away all the time. they're inspiring and kind and generous and resilient beyond anyone's imagination.

you and me, we, we teachers, we're so blessed.

i feel so very blessed.

unique_stephen said...

Stay well girl. life is worth clinging on to

De Campo BC said...

The sense of community I feel when reading about this warms my cold dark heart. A glimmer of hope for the youth of America. Seriously, I hope the young woman pulls through. What an effort all of you displayed! Amazing.

Don't let all this community organizing go to your head. After all, it's nothing compared to being a small town mayor in the Klondike.

Lana Banana said...

mr. de campo, sir: glad to have you back. i thought maybe the germans had lured you away from us permanently . . . what with their fancy beers and sausages . . .

and no, of course i won't let all of this community organizing go to my head!

but i tell ya, if i could shoot a moose at 300yds while wearing my pretty, pretty princess tiara, then i might let THAT go to my head . . . 'cause you know, well, that's just dang special.

unique_stephen said...

How is she doing?

Lana Banana said...

stepehen: thanks for asking! she's GREAT!!!

ari is talking, texting friends, working her way back beautifully.

everything is looking very, VERY good!

blessed be god and those fucking amazing doctors at UCI.