Our family chose to do Lighthouse because we had been looking for a service trip for many years. When we heard about this organization, we were so happy because we knew it would be a wonderful opportunity for my whole family. Since it was kid friendly, my brother and I could learn to serve others. I was really looking forward to that!
We were fortunate enough to be matched up with the most beautiful family! The Koiciba family has three girls and a sweet (self-professed) momma bear, Phenicia. The youngest of the three girls is Livvie who has Downs Syndrome and Leukemia. She is adorable and the way that the family all cares for her is so inspirational and absolutely amazing.
My favorite Lighthouse memory from that summer was the Unbirthday Party. That night is an opportunity to celebrate the children in treatment and their siblings. It is a time to give them the true birthday experience they may not be able to have due to treatment or hospital visits. This special time together was filled with ice cream, face painting and lots of dancing. We danced until the sun went down and sang the night away. I remember getting ready for this special moment. We braided our hair and decorated it with purple and pink glitter. Livvie was so excited to see her condo decorated with streamers and balloons. Ane now, I look forward to the Unbirthday Party every retreat because I love to see the happiness and surprise in the family’s eyes.
Moving forward from summer, I have wanted to see Livvie again ever since the moment she drove away the last Sunday of our retreat. We FaceTime regularly and text but there is nothing quite like meeting in-person. As Covid started to settle down, I knew I wanted to take this opportunity, so I asked for a trip to see her as my Christmas gift. I cried on Christmas morning when I opened the present that said my mom and I had plane tickets to fly to San Antonio, TX to see Livvie and her family!
We surprised Livvie and she was so excited, (as were we) when we finally got to meet again! We spent our days talking, walking, shopping, and eating through San Antonio with them. The week I spent with the Koicuba’s on retreat and the weekend in TX with them were some of the happiest times of my life.
Blog post written by Ansley Davis