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Connie Jo
12-01-2009, 02:54 PM
Nov. has been a marathon month with family & friends events, keeping me busy & grateful for all. I want to share a story of friendship, reminding us to be grateful for our many blessings in life, most important...life and those we love.

This will be a long read, but I feel worthy. I will break the story up in subsequent posts, to ease patience with reading, and I hope those who take time to read, will enjoy my story of "Best Friends". I will include priceless photos at the end of each related post, to help tell the story visually.

Please remember to give thanks, not just at during the holiday season , but each and every day...for family and those dear friends whom we love and consider family, and of whom make a positive difference in our lives. Enjoy every moment possible with those you love...family and friends. :)

"Best Friends"...part one

Early 2004 I became familiar with a young man, Dillon, 11 yrs old, at Kid Rock's former fan club website, of which we were both members & fans. As well, on occasion I was asked to write for the websites homepage, & for fellow fans.

As fate would have it, Dillon and I don't live far apart, he & his family reside in Liberty of the KC metro area. In August of 2004, I met Dillon and his mom for the first time at the Iowa State Fair, of which Kid Rock was performing. Prior to the concert we began conversing, & they told me of Dillon's battle with Cancer. He was diagnosed at age 5 with an inoperable malignant Brain Tumor. Dr's at St. Judes said Dillon would not survive past his 6th birthday, but they were unfamiliar with his strong will to live & love for life.

By the Grace of God with the help of St. Judes in Memphis, Dillon turned 17 this year, and is considered a miracle by his Dr's. Dillon continues to battle Cancer, as it goes in & out of remission. The original brain tumor has spread into four over the years.

He is currently undergoing yet another round of Chemo protocol treatments, as his last MRI showed tumor growth. He visits St. Judes periodically, and is treated at KU Med Center in KC in coordination with St. Judes.

My friendship with Dillon was born that day in Iowa back in August of 2004, and our living within an hour & a half of each other has allowed us to spend time together on occasion creating priceless memories of friendship over the years. Dillon considers me a best friend, as I him, but with our ages being 17 & 53, our friendship is similar to that of a 'young at heart Kid Rockin grandma' & grandson, hahaha.

Dillon's love of music is in his bones, and he began taking guitar lessons at age 5, not long after being diagnosed with Cancer. His dream is to become a guitar legend such as Eric Clapton, Hendrix, and that of his personal guitar idol Kenny Olson. Kenny was the former lead guitarist with Kid Rock's band, Twisted Brown Trucker (TBT), for 11 yrs prior to leaving to do his own thing musically in late 2005.

Dillon relates to the music, but also to the lyrics in Kid Rocks songs, many of which he connects to his personal battle with Cancer..."Lonely Road of Faith", "Only God Knows Why", etc.. His love of music, his dream of being a guitar legend, and his connection in particular to Kid Rocks songs, have helped him emotionally survive his battle with Cancer. Dillon had a dream of someday being able to meet Kid Rock, shake his hand, and thank him personally for the music felt in his heart.

In my post following, I will continue with sharing one of two intended priceless memories of friendship between Dillon and I. :)

Connie Jo
12-01-2009, 03:13 PM
"Best Friends"...part two

In June of 2005, Kid Rock scheduled a rare concert during a non tour year in Birmingham, Alabama. Many fan club members decided to travel to "Bama"...as it became known within the fan club, taking the opportunity to attend a concert when few were scheduled with 2005 being a non tour year.

Dillon's parents decided to drive to "Bama" and attend the concert with Dillon to celebrate his 13th birthday, which fell within two weeks of the "Bama" concert date. As well, I also drove to "Bama" to participate in Dillon's 13th birthday concert celebration.

I wanted Dillon's 13th birthday to be priceless, considering it's hallmark year of entering teen years especially. The fan club members became familiar with Dillon and his battle with Cancer through my friendship with him, as I was more active with participation at the website than Dillon was...he's a bit quiet & shy until getting to know someone, and more of a 'lurker' than poster, haha.

There had been several attempts through some fan club members to arrange a meeting with Kid Rock and Dillon, but all failed. Some members accused Kid Rock of not having compassion and care for his fans, however...I knew that simply was not true, rather the attempts made had been unprofessional and through superficial so called "connections".

I had the discreet ability to contact Kid Rock directly, due to my participation with writing at the website. I was a bit uncomfortable with the thought however, knowing how busy Kid Rock is, and the thousands of requests he receives for such meetings of fans, and so on. After days of contemplating, I made the contact, and asked Kid to help me make Dillon's 13th birthday celebration while attending the concert in "Bama"...special & priceless.

Kid agreed, saying he would give me whatever I needed to make Dillon's birthday special in Bama. He had his manager 'Shakes' phone me a few weeks prior to the concert to begin making 'secret' arrangements for Dillon to meet Kid backstage prior to the show. Although I declined not wanting to take advantage, Kid offered us front row seats to the show as well...besides, we already had our tickets which were within the first 3 rows.

We arranged for Kid to spend at least an hour with Dillon one on one backstage, which was all I wanted from Kid...to make Dillon's dream of meeting him come true. My biggest hurdle was keeping the meeting plans a secret until after it had happened for security reasons, I couldn't even tell Dillon or his parents. The plan was to make an excuse to arrive at the Bama venue a couple hours early, then reveal the surprise once inside the venue...the plan was successful.

Once the meeting was over news spread like wildfire throughout the venue among fan club members attending the concert...that Dillon's dream had come true, and he had met Kid Rock. Kid also dedicated his song, "Jackson Mississippi" to Dillon during his performance, which is another of Dillon's favorite Kid Rock songs, and the first Kid Rock song he learned to play on his guitar as well. :)

Below are some photo's of my friend Dillon's dream coming true, meeting his music idol 'Kid Rock'. This story of friendship & blessings isn't complete yet, however, haha. More to come in the following post!

Photo of Dillon's dream coming true of meeting and shaking Kid Rock's hand, thanking him for the music that helps inspire him to battle his Cancer:
http://www.chiefscrowd.com/forums/images/imported/2009/12/2.jpg

This photo shows the compassion in Kid Rock's eyes for a very special fan...Dillon:
http://www.chiefscrowd.com/forums/images/imported/2009/12/3.jpg

This photo is priceless...taken moments after Kid Rock left the backstage area. Dillon maintained his emotional excitement and composure very well until AFTER Kid was no longer present, hahaha.
http://www.chiefscrowd.com/forums/images/imported/2009/12/4.jpg

Connie Jo
12-01-2009, 03:40 PM
"Best Friends"...part three:

I've lost count of how many times Dillon has underwent Chemo & Radiation treatments over the years, however...Dillon He will tell you, that it doesn't matter how many times he has to go through Chemo...he is grateful and blessed to be receiving it...as he knows all to well the outcome without it. In all honesty, my beloved friend Dillon hasn't known life Cancer free, considering he's been battling his Cancer for 12 of his 17 yrs.

Amazingly, Dillon is not bitter, angry, resentful...rather goes about living each day for the most part feeling happy and blessed, and to the fullest possible. He treasures every moment of life, and although he considers me his "Angel on Earth"...I consider him my "Angel on Earth".

You see, over the years of our friendship...Dillon has inspired me to appreciate and be grateful for life, more than I already was, and to appreciate life even during the 'bad & sad' times. He's influenced me to be grateful for each moment I spend and share with those I love, more than I already was. Dillon has inspired me spiritually more than any other person I've crossed paths with in life. I love Dillon genuinely, and consider him a "Best Friend" of course, but I consider Dillon family as well.

Dillon and his family are forever grateful to St. Judes, and they honorably donate much of their time and energy in support of St. Judes charity fundraisers within the KC Metro area. KFKF Country Music Radio Station in Kansas City, is the radio 'Partner In Hope' with St. Judes. If any are listeners of KFKF, you may recognize Dillon's name, as he often does radio segments related to fundraising events for St. Judes on KFKF...such as KFKF's annual radio telethon and related Kansas City metro 'Partners In Hope Concert', usually in February.

Stay with me here as my story of "Best Friends" takes a turn for the moment, but will all come together in the end.

In 2001 I bought a beautiful Limited Edition Christmas Fairy in a retail shop. The fairy was designed and created by Mark Roberts...a noted celebrity Interior Designer, Home Furnishings Designer, as well as designer of home accessories, including holiday decor. Mark appears often on CBS' morning show, and others...his appearances on TV are related to home decorating for all major holidays, including using his fairies, ornaments, etc.. He's somewhat a 'male' version of Martha Stewart, for lack of a better description, haha.

I'm not a fan of modern day so called 'Limited Edition Collectibles', realizing the LE is more of a selling pitch than truly being limited, the quality of such these days lacking. However, as a result of my being fascinated by the fine quality craftsmanship and detail of the first Mark Roberts Fairy I purchased in 2001...I acquired more over time, becoming a collector. Mark's fairies are true limited editions, few are manufactured, typically 500 or so of each design.

In 2006 by chance I met Mark Roberts personally, he was visiting a retail shop in Kansas City of which sells his fairies and other home design/decor accessories. As fate would have it, Mark and I became friends, sharing a mutual love of holiday home decorating, Interior Design, & of course a mutual appreciation for his fairies. He began emailing & phoning me once in awhile, and our friendship has grown to one of good friends.

Mark visits KC annually for a show & signing tour...meeting his fans, signing autographs, etc.. One of Mark's annual fairy designs is the "Fairy of Miracles", of which he donates proceeds to St.Judes. I had told Dillon about my friendship with Mark, and his "Fairy of Miracles" related to helping St.Judes...knowing Dillon would appreciate Marks efforts.

Dillon wanted the opportunity to thank Mark personally for helping the kids of St. Judes, including Dillon himself being a "St. Judes Kid". I had also told Mark about my friendship with Dillon, so in November last year, 2008, I arranged for Mark and Dillon to meet when Mark visited KC. At the end of the day when Dillon and I were saying our good-byes to one another...I hugged Dillon & gave him a kiss on his cheek. Dillon's mother captured my goodbye kiss on camera, and the photo became Dillon and I's favorite taken over the years of our friendship.

I emailed Mark several photos taken the day he and Dillon met, and included the one of me kissing Dillon goodbye. Mark phoned me soon after and said that photo was his favorite as well, and he was going to print and frame it for his office desk at Mark Roberts, Inc.. Mark, and others think the photo is 'Angelic', because of the sunlight breaking through at the very moment the photo was taken, casting down upon Dillon and I in a halo appearing to be a light from Heaven, so to speak.

Occasionally I suggest a variety of fairy design idea's to Mark. In December of last year I suggested he create and design a "Best Friends Fairy". Little did I know then, that Mark would follow through with using my idea. Three weeks ago Mark phoned with an early Christmas surprise, he told me that my idea of a "Best Friends Fairy" had become reality, and it would be included among his 2010 Spring Fairy Retail Collection. I was honored, but the honor didn't stop with Mark simply using one of my fairy idea's.

Mark said, that while he and his graphic artist were sketching & designing the fairy prototype, my friendship with Dillon entered Mark's thoughts, and as a result the inspiration behind the "Best Friends Fairy" design is the friendship shared between Dillon and I. In the promotional photo of the "Best Friends Fairy"...Mark included the 2008 'Angelic' goodbye kiss photo of Dillon & I that sit's on his office desk. As well, Mark said he decided to use the "Best Friends Fairy" promo photo for the cover of his 2010 Spring Retail Catalog.

As a gesture of appreciation for the 'Best Friends Fairy' being my original idea, as well as it's design inspired by Dillon & I's friendship...Mark reserved the very first two 'Best Friends Fairies' produced...for me and Dillon. :)

About a week after Marks phone call telling me about the "Best Friends Fairy" becoming reality...Mark phoned me again to let me know he would be in Kansas City, Sunday Nov. 22nd, for a show signing meet and greet at a retail shop. He invited me to lunch prior to his scheduled signing event...a couple days later we decided to include Dillon and his mom as well. Mark had mailed me, both mine and Dillon's complimentary "Best Friends Fairies", planning for me to give Dillon his...however, with plans changing to meet Mark for lunch, I took Dillon's fairy with me and gave it back to Mark in Kansas City, so he could give it to Dillon personally.

During lunch, Mark told us that he is including a 'cover photo' story in the 2010 Spring Catalog, of which will be the story of Dillon and I's friendship...Mark had autographed catalog prototypes for Dillon and I, and showed us where our story of friendship appeared in the table of contents...he titled it, "Angels on Earth". We had a wonderful time having lunch with Mark, as well, we joined him later at the retail shop where he was meeting fans & signing autographs.

Dillon was talking to Kenny Olson, his legendary guitar idol, on the phone at some point while we were there, and decided to buy a St. Judes 'Fairy of Miracles' from the retail shop we were at, for Mark to autograph as a special Christmas gift to Kenny Olson's mom. Dillon, Kenny, and I have become friends over the years as well. Together we visited and toured St. Judes Childrens Hospital along with Dillon in August 2008.

I talked to Kenny for a short time, he had driven from Nashville to Detroit to spend the holidays with his family, and was a bit tired after the long drive. I congratulated him on his record deal and band collaboration...'7 Day Binge'...and reminded him of his promise to do a show in Kansas City...which he says he's still gonna do! :)

We said our goodbyes to Mark, and as Mark hugged me goodbye he said to me..."Connie, I know you don't believe this, but you truly are an "Angel on Earth", which is why I chose that title for the catalog story. Well, no...I don't believe I'm an "Angel on Earth", and never will. What I believe is...I'm just a person God blessed with a compassionate heart. A heart that smiles most when doing for others what I can to make them smile. Dillon has a heart identical to mine...which is why we are "Best Friends"...we are each others 'Angel'.

Besides...I don't think "Angels on Earth" rock out to Kid Rock and TBT, drink too much beer tailgating at a Chiefs game, and cuss a bit too much when they lose! LOL

Dillon and I's friendship has become a part of retail history, but what I hold most dear to my heart from all, is that our genuine loving 'best friendship' is now eternally reflected in a limited edition heirloom, an absolutely beautiful fairy of which can be passed down for generations to come. The "Best Friends Fairy" will be available on the retail market some time after the first of the year...limited to only 200 produced, of which Dillon and I have the first two, and Mark will be keeping the third...197 will be sold through retail. Nope, we don't get royalties, in case you're wondering, hahaha...what we do get is by far of more priceless value than monetary...which is, our friendship reflected eternally in the "Best Friends Fairy".

Whew...that's a lot of typing! In my final post following are photos capturing our friendship story visually, including the promotional pic of the "Best Friends Fairy", as well as the original photo of Dillon & I from 2008 used in the promo pic, and photos from Sunday two weeks ago shared with Mark.

I wish each and every one of you, and your loved ones...a safe and peaceful holiday season filled with many blessings shared among family and "Best Friends".

Connie Jo
12-01-2009, 04:01 PM
These first photo's are of Dillon and I sitting outside the restaurant that Mark took us to lunch at:

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y31/connieemery/Kansas%20and%20Me/Mark%20Roberts/dill-me-bench1-700.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y31/connieemery/Kansas%20and%20Me/Mark%20Roberts/dill-me-bench2-700.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y31/connieemery/Kansas%20and%20Me/Mark%20Roberts/dill-me-kiss700.jpg

This is Dillon's personal favorite of our Sunday with Mark. He emailed me and said, "Thank you so much, I love all the pics, we have so much fun together. The pic of you and I laughing like best friends do...is priceless to me! Thank you for being you, I love you." Needless to say, as I read his email my heart filled with joy, & tears softly feel down my cheeks. I love Dillon too, very much, and each moment we share as "Best Friends" is priceless to me too. :)
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y31/connieemery/Kansas%20and%20Me/Mark%20Roberts/dill-me-laugh650.jpg

Inside the restaurant...we're showing some METAL! haha
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y31/connieemery/Kansas%20and%20Me/Mark%20Roberts/dill-me-metal650.jpg

Inside the restaurant...Mark, Dillon, me, and Marks assistant/photographer Peter:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y31/connieemery/Kansas%20and%20Me/Mark%20Roberts/mark-dill-me-peter650.jpg

Mark presenting Dillon with his "Best Friends" fairy. Mark autographed it, "Too Dillon, Mark".
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y31/connieemery/Kansas%20and%20Me/Mark%20Roberts/mark-dill-fairy650.jpg

After lunch, we joined Mark at the retail shop where he met and greeted his fans...in this photo are Dillon's mom, Mark, Dillon, & me:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y31/connieemery/Kansas%20and%20Me/Mark%20Roberts/donna-dill-mark-me650.jpg

Here is the original photo taken in 2008 of Dillon & I, that Mark framed for his office desk, and used in the promotional pic of the "Best Friends" fairy:

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y31/connieemery/Kansas%20and%20Me/Mark%20Roberts/dill-me396.jpg

The promotional pic, and 2010 Mark Roberts, Inc. Spring Retail Catalog:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y31/connieemery/Kansas%20and%20Me/Mark%20Roberts/BestFriendsFairy650.jpg[/URL]
[URL="http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y31/connieemery/Kansas%20and%20Me/Mark%20Roberts/dill-me-metal650.jpg"] (http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y31/connieemery/Kansas%20and%20Me/Mark%20Roberts/BestFriendsFairy650.jpg)

Connie Jo
12-01-2009, 04:22 PM
Lastly, I want to post these photo's taken last year at in Memphis, when Dillon, me, and Kenny Olson toured St. Judes, visiting with patients, and so on.

We all stayed in the same hotel. I didn't realize Kenny and Shannon, a noted accomplished drummer and music producer friend of Kenny's...were going to be joining us in Memphis. It was the week of my birthday, so this time Dillon arranged a surprise for my birthday! hahaha

Late Friday night, not long after checking into my room and asleep in bed...someone was knocking on my door! I opened it to find Dillon, Kenny, Shannon, & Dillon's mom standing there surprising me to celebrate my birthday with a hotel room party! hahaha NOTE my tee shirt in the pic!! The Chiefs are always present in my life it seems, hahaha. Sorry, the flowers cover my X Husband...didn't want his visual presence to be a distraction in the photo.

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y31/connieemery/Kansas%20and%20Me/Mark%20Roberts/Dill-KO-SH-Me-frm600.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y31/connieemery/Kansas%20and%20Me/Mark%20Roberts/Dill-Kenny-fr.jpg

This photo was used in a website and email flyer as a fundraiser project for St. Judes. I've eliminated the text once beneath the photo on the flyer...so as not to appear as Spamming, haha. :)

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y31/connieemery/Kansas%20and%20Me/Mark%20Roberts/stjudes-dill-me-KO2.jpg

IlovetheChiefs
12-01-2009, 05:30 PM
Thank you for sharing that story and all the pictures, Connie. That was so very nice. You sure are "a person God has blessed with a compassionate heart."

"Dillon has inspired me to appreciate and be grateful for life, more than I already was, and to appreciate life even during the 'bad & sad' times."

Yeah we really all have to count our blessings some times because we forget just how many there are. As well as life itself. Heh, I once enjoyed owning a pet parakeet and his energy and enthusiasm was even kind of inspirational. I had a book on parakeet care and the author at one point said of parakeets that they often show how excited and happy they are to be alive.

Dillon is an inspiration. God bless him.

Chiefster
12-02-2009, 01:21 AM
I'm going to stickie this thread. The story and photos are too special not keep at the top of the page for all read and be inspired.

Connie Jo
12-03-2009, 02:13 AM
Thanks for reading guys! Thanks Chiefster for the stickie too. It seemed appropriate considering the holidays especially, to write about my friendship with Dillon, and hopefully remind all to be grateful & happy for the moments with those we love. We often allow the holiday season to become stressful with all the hustle and bustle, which then distracts our focus from the true reason for the season. :)

It sure is a long winded story, haha. I was gonna edit the length, as well as correct typo's & puncuation errors prior to posting, but time was limited due to my caring for a sick dog right now, & wanted to get it posted, as the point of the story is what's more important.

It amazes me the paths my friendship with Dillon has taken us on since first meeting him, and no doubt it is a friendship of many blessings for us both. We tend to be each others 'light' when times are tough...seems something positive always happens related to our friendship just when one of us needs it most.

Dillon was feeling a bit down with his last MRI showing more tumor growth. His mom told me that the surprise of the "Best Friends Fairy" in honor of our friendship has lifted his spirits & brought about a sense of renewed hope within him.

The same circumstances had occurred prior to Dillon meeting Kid Rock...more tumor growth had him down emotionally a bit. Emotional well being is a key factor in battling & surviving serious illness. The MRI after Dillon's meeting Kid Rock showed no new growth. He was on such an emotional high for months after his dream came true of meeting Kid. Dillon & his parents believe the emotional high contributed to why there was no new growth on the MRI following his meeting Kid.

God does indeed work in mysterious ways. :)

tornadospotter
12-03-2009, 03:13 AM
I think I love you! CJ. Wow, that is a great testimony, May God Bless Dillon, his family and You!

Chiefster
12-03-2009, 01:27 PM
You're welcome Connie and thank you for posting this special thread. I, too, believe that ones outlook on life has much to do with their physical well being.

God Bless you and Dillon!

Connie Jo
12-04-2009, 11:48 AM
I think I love you! CJ. Wow, that is a great testimony, May God Bless Dillon, his family and You!

Thank you TS!!

"I think I love you"...LOL!

I'm blessed with many who love me...heck, even the X hubby loves me, which is unusual with most X's, though his love changed to one of being toxic and self destructive. :(

I'm blessed with my loving many in my life too, have a heart filled with much love all around, but...I admit there is a void that comes with divorce. Other than that void, I'm very blessed & grateful for all.

Y'all that are married...take care of one another's hearts while you can, cause people we love & whom love us...are what matter's most in life..my X figured that one out after too much emotional damage was done.

"God Bless Us Everyone!" :)