Stars Worth Searching For

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Chapter Fifteen

“Hey.” Leo meets me after my advising appointment.

“Hey.” I smile, and take his hand.

“How did it go?”

“Good, I picked my classes. I’m only taking three, because they’re really hard, and I want to keep my job at the vision clinic.”

“Oh cool, which classes are you taking?”

“Anatomy and Physiology and Lab, and Health Care Medical Terminology.”

“Good luck with that.”

“Yeah, right.” I laugh, rolling my eyes.

“Do you work today?” Leo asks.\

“No, I just wore my scrubs cause they’re comfortable.” I answer sarcastically.

“I wear my scrubs cause they’re comfortable too.” Leo laughs.

“Are you gonna bring up the idea for the fundraiser at work?”

“Yeah, can you drop me off a little early?”

“Yeah, no problem.”

“Thanks.”

“You want me to go with you?”

“Yeah.” I nuzzle against his neck.

Leo kisses my forehead. “Let’s work on this together.”

We grab lunch at the university food court, and head over to the vision clinic,

“Who do I talk to about this?” I ask Leo quietly.

“Madison. She handles all of the fundraisers here.”

I sign in on Madison’s sign in sheet, and pretty soon a lady with a trendy up-do and glasses smiles at me. “Alex?”

“Yeah.” Leo and I follow her back to the office.

“How may I help you?” She smiles.

“Well I’m studying to be a medical researcher, because I want to do more research into ROP and other diseases that cause visual impairments.”

“Oh, really?” She smiles. “Do you know anyone with ROP?”

“Yeah, I actually have it.”

“Oh wow, really? When were you diagnosed?”

“Actually I wasn’t diagnosed until like four years ago, but I started showing symptoms at nineteen.”

“Really?” She raises her eyebrows.

“Yeah, that’s why I wanted to become a medical researcher.”

“Is there anything I can help you with?”

“I was thinking of doing a fundraiser, like having a bake sale to raise money for research for diseases that cause childhood blindness.”

“That actually sounds like a great idea.”

“Could we have the bake sale here?”

“Yeah. We actually have an event coming up called Family Day. Where the parents of the patient’s here get to meet their children’s therapists. It’s next Saturday.”

“Oh cool, what do you usually do on family day?”

“I’ll sell the idea of your bake sale, it won’t be a problem, and we usually have bounce houses, cotton candy, and a carnival for the kids.”

“Wow, that sounds fun. I’ll be able to have everything by Saturday.”

“Just write your information down, and I’ll call you with what time you need to be there.”

“Okay, thanks for hearing me out.”

“No problem, have a good shift.”

“Thanks.” I head to the office to wait to see where I’m working today.

“Hey, Alex.” Lorraine calls me back into her office.

“What are we doing today?” I ask.

“We’re working with Anya on some family fun day posters.”

“I just heard about Family Fun day. I was going to have a bake sale.”

“Oh really? We’ve actually never had a bake sale on Family Fun Day before. Maybe Anya and I can help you make signs for it.”

“I was gonna kinda do a fundraiser.”

“For Medical research, right?”

“Yeah, I’m starting classes for Health Science in January.”

“Oh, that’s nice. You should talk to one of our interns.” Lorraine goes to get Anya.

“Maybe I will.”

Lorraine leads Anya into the office, by her hand. “We’re making posters today.”

“Oh, cool, I love posters!”

“Yeah, you guys are coming to Family Fun Day, right?”

“Yeah, my family is really looking forward to it.”

“Which color do you want to use, Anya?”

“Can we use paints?”

“Sure!”

I hand Anya a paintbrush.

“You have pink on your left, and yellow on your right. The bowl of water is in the middle.”

“Okay, cool. Can you do bubble letters on the poster, and I’ll paint them?”

I grab a sharpie marker.

“Do you want me to write Bake Sale, or Family Fun Day on it?”

“Bake sale, I love bake sales!”

“Me too, do you like brownies, cupcakes, or cookies better?”

…………………………………………………………………………………………

I finish draining the spaghetti and help set the table for dinner, and I bring up the topic of the bake sale.

“So on Saturday, they have something called Family Fun Day at work.”

Mom twirls her pasta with a fork. “Really? What’s that?”

“It’s like an event they have at the clinic, when the parents come to learn more about the type of therapy their kids get, while they’re there.”

“Oh, that’s nice.” Ashlynn chimes in.

“So I’m having a bake sale fundraiser to raise awareness for more research for diseases that cause childhood blindness, such as Congenital Cataracts and ROP.”

“Oh cool, can I bake something for it?” Hannah chimes in.

“Yeah, that would help, considering I work Friday, and this has to be done by Saturday. I was gonna buy stuff for it.”

“No, I’ll bake for it. What do you think I should make?”

“Cupcakes. Vanilla Buttercream and chocolate. Brownies, blondies, -----------------”

“Ashlynn!” I laugh at my little sister.“I’ll make some stuff before I leave tomorrow morning, I think we should also have some Gluten Free stuff.”

“Yeah, some patients may be gluten free.”

“What time is the bake sale, cause I work Saturday.” My sister, Mady, comes into the kitchen.

“It’s from one to five, but Leo and I are going earlier to help set up.”

“Oh, maybe I can help set up, then I have to get going.”’

“That’s cool, thanks.”

I finish writing Hannah a list of things for the bake sale, then go to the store to buy all the ingredients for them.

This is gonna be so exciting

…………………………………………………………………………………….

Two days later, it’s Saturday, and the day of the bake sale. I’m so excited.I grab my light blue Family Fun Day shirt I picked up from the clinic, and khaki shorts, and hop into the shower.

“Hey.” Hannah meets me in the kitchen with baking disease full of brownies, blondies, cupcakes, and cookies.

“You made all of these?”

“Yeah, I couldn’t sleep last night.”

“I’ll help you pack these.”

I gently put the cupcakes in a cupcake box, and the brownies. Blondies, and cookies in individual baggies.

“Is Leo picking you up?”

“Yeah, he’ll be here in a half hour.” I pop a toaster strudel into the toaster.

“Sorry I can’t go, I got called into work early.”

I pour myself a glass of chocolate milk. “It’s okay. I promise you’ve done enough.”

“So are you excited to start school after break?” Hannah sits at the bar counter.

“Yeah, not excited for anatomy, though.”

“Oh don’t remind me. I barely passed anatomy.” Hannah takes a sip of her coffee.

“Well it paid off, because you’re a Respiratory Therapist now.”

“Yeah.” Hannah smiles. “I love my job.”

“Me too.” I finish breakfast and load the dishwasher, and wait in the living room for Leo.

He pulls up five minutes later.

“Hey, Hannah can you help me bring this stuff out?”

“Yeah.” Hannah takes the cupcake tray, and we put the food in the back seat.

“Wow, got enough food””

“I know, she kinda went overboard.” I laugh, opening the passenger’s side door.

“Wanna come over after the bake sale? And watch a movie?”

“Yeah. It seems like we’ve had no time to just watch a movie and cuddle lately. I’d like that.”

Leo takes my hand, and kisses my knuckle. “Me too.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………

We arrive at the vision clinic, and I see a set of tables and the poster that Anya made advertising the bake sale.

“Hi, Alex.” Madison greets me smiling. “I made some items for the bake sale too, I hope you don’t mind,”

“No, my sister went all out.”

Leo goes to get a cart, to carry the baked goods to the tables.

“How much did you want to charge for these?” She takes out a poster to write down the prices for the baked goods.

I hand her the printed list of prices per item, and she staples it to the colorful tablecloth.

“This is gonna be a huge hit.” She hugs me. “This was such a great idea.”

“Thanks.” I smile at her, and finish setting up.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

An hour later, a girl walks up to the table. She/s incredibly thin and has trendy pink glasses, and a blood sugar monitor clipped to her shorts.

“Do you have gluten free options here?” She smiles. Showing me her braces.

“Yeah, the gluten free options are at the table right next to this one.”

“Thanks. I have Celiac, so I can only eat gluten free. The brownies are my favorite.”

She takes a brownie and a napkin, and walks over to the table. “You’re raising money for medical research for ROP?”

“Yeah, well basically any type of disease that causes childhood blindness.”

“Oh, wow.” She smiles. “I have Diabetic Retinopathy, so this means a lot to me.” She drops a twenty dollar bill into the clear tip jar.

“Do you mind if I sit with you?” She asks. “I want to help with your fundraiser.”

“Sure!” I gesture towards the chair next to me.

“Hi.” I shake her hand. “I’m Alex.”

“I’m Rebecca.” She smiles. “Do you volunteer here?”

“No, I work here. I’m actually an Occupational Therapy Assistant.”

“Oh wow, what made you want to do a fundraiser?”

“I have ROP. And I realize there isn’t a lot of research on the topic, so I wanted to raise money to fund more research. And I’m also studying to be a medical researcher.”

“Cool, can I help you with your fundraiser?” She asks. “I can do a fundraiser at my school, I’m sure my cheerleading squad would love to donate to it.”

“How old are you?” I ask, out of curiosity.

“I’m fifteen, so I’m not old enough to volunteer here, yet.”

“You’re a cheerleader, and you have Retinopathy?”

“Sorry.” I realize what I said. “I actually used to be a cheerleader, before I started having the problems I did, because my detachment was so severe.”

“I’m sorry.” Rebecca puts her hand on my arm. “I lucked out with my doctor, because he was able to do laser procedures on my eye, so it’s almost impossible for my retina to detach.”

“Oh.” I offer a small smile.

“We don’t have to talk about this.” She says quietly. “I’m sorry.”

“No it’s okay, I probably wouldn’t have done cheer after high school, but I used to love it.”

“Were you the captain?”

“Yeah. I cheered from kindergarten to eleventh grade. I loved it.”

“Maybe I could get some of the cheerleaders to volunteer here.”

“You should. It is pretty fun.”

Rebecca smiles at me. “You’re really inspiring.”

“What do you mean?” I grab a cupcake, and put a five dollar bill into the tip jar.

“You usually don’t see people doing fundraisers like this. It’s inspiring. I wish there was a cure for ROP too.”

“That’s the main reason why I want to go back to school. To become a medical researcher.”

“Well I don’t blame you.” She smiles. “You’ll be great.”

“Thanks.” I grab a napkin, and write my number down. “Text me anytime. Maybe we could meet for coffee or something.”

“Yeah, I’d love to.” She smiles.

“Can I help clean up?” She asks, after seeing us start taking the stuff down.

“No, thank you it’s fine.”

“Okay.” She hugs me. “I’ll be sure to tell the cheerleaders about your fundraiser.”

“Thanks, that means a lot.”

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