Saturday, April 30, 2011

Boo Yah!...

Put this date on your calendar:  May 7th, 2011

I don’t pretend nor profess to know the Lord’s plans, however, the religious side of me believes he’s aware of this date; it’s forecasted to be 70 degrees and “mostly sunny.”

May 7th, 2011 we commemorate “Gates’ May Day.” 

“Mayday” by definition, is an international distress call.  In this instance we’ve punned it to mean a call to action, which – as it were – conveniently takes place in the month of May.  It’s a day for us to celebrate our friendship with, respect for and love towards Gates Hunsaker.

Tonight, as my spouse and I visited with Gates and Brian in the hospital our discussions turned to the plannings and preparations for said event.  I was rambling about the details; who was doing what, what organization was taking place, some of the sponsors and other particulars when Brian, grinning, politely interrupted.

Brian:  “Guess who else is going to be there?”

I stood there silently with my head halfcocked and eyes wide open; my mind was racing as to which celebrity or personality would make an appearance. 

Brian’s smile never changed, though his gaze shifted from me down to my good friend lying on the adjustable hospital bed.  Gates smirked, gestured his head, almost as if his rising eyebrows lifted his chin straight up and said, beaming:

Gates:  “Boo Yah!”

I’ve typed, read, reread and read again those last two paragraphs; I get the chills every time!

Gates’ first scheduled “field trip” will be to the concert, held in his honor, at the South Davis Recreation Center.  The “Gates’ May Day” will begin long before that; I will post the details immediately following the next two paragraphs.

“Our Heavenly Father is a powerful, moving, directing being. While we may, at times, bear burdens of sorrow, pain, and grief; while we may struggle to understand trials of faith we are called to pass through; while life may seem dark and dreary—through faith, we have absolute confidence that a loving Heavenly Father is at our side.” – Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Gates needs our faith and focused prayer that he’ll have a good, strong week.  If he continues to show improvement we’ll all get to see him on May 7th, 2011.


A schedule for “Gates’ May Day” events are as follows:

8:00am – Eagleridge Tennis and Swim Club (711 So. Parkway Drive, NSL, UT 84054.  (801) 397-2582):
·      Dan Bitner, swim team captain when Gates was a freshman, is swimming eight straight hours (the same amount of time Gates was in surgery (six) and recovery (two))!
·      Additional swimmers will be in the pool, to raise money for each lap they swim
·      Tee-Shirts will be sold at $15 (all sizes Youth and Adult)
o   You can email your orders to:
·      Donated Gift Baskets will be auctioned off
·      Wrist Bands will be sold at $5 each
·      Not only are the owners of the Eaglewood Tennis and Swim Club donating the use of the facility but they are donating all the proceeds of the day to Gates’ recovery.

1:00pm – Outdoor Amphitheater at South Davis Recreation Center – The Old “Bubble” (550 No. 200 W., Bountiful, UT 84010)
·      Tickets to the show are $5
·      Tee-Shirts will be sold at $15 (all sizes Youth and Adult)
o   You can email your orders to:
·      Bands playing at the event are:
o   Mountain Hymns
o   The Spins
o   The Old World
o   Holy Water Buffalo

*All Money Raised Will Go Towards Gates’ Recovery

Thursday, April 28, 2011

It did what I wanted it to do!...

Cherie, Gates and Brian
If you’re not from Utah, or don’t have ties to an avid meteorologist, it might be odd for you to read…  it snowed here yesterday.  Not only did it snow yesterday but Doppler Radar tells us it’s going to snow again on Friday!

You know when it didn’t snow?


Guess where Gates was today… 

The allure of beautiful weather and fresh air seduced Gates past the reception area and into the sunlight, companioned by a cool breeze.  He joked to his dad, “As soon as I get a motorized wheelchair…  I’m outta here.”    He was outside.

I’d explained, a few days ago, I was going to slow down on my daily posts and yesterday I shared a magnificent video of Gates; a fitting place to give time for others to catch up for a day or two.  On a family walk, with my two small children, I slowed as I passed the Hunsaker home; I felt a strong impression to write tonight, I am elated I called Brian.

“Through personal prayer, through family prayer, by trusting in God with faith, nothing wavering, we can call down to our rescue His mighty power. His call to us is as it has ever been: “Come unto Me.’” – President Thomas S. Monson

Gates held his arm straight, from elbow to fingertip, and then slowly lowered his hand, keeping his arm steady.  He exclaimed with boyish excitement, “It did what I wanted it to do!”

As a collective effort from all of you, of all beliefs, we’ve focused our prayers on Gates gaining control of his wrists.  Today, “It did what [he] wanted it to do!” 

Thank you!  Thank you for your continued prayers!  Gates progress is more than impressive, as many of you shared, “inspiring.”

It gets better… 

His therapist then gave Gates a paper cup, asking him to bring it to his mouth to drink.  After the third or fourth attempt, he did it!

In classic Gates spirit, he threw the remaining water on his therapist…  


Ciera Belyea
Dance Company Tryouts

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Captain of my soul...

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

INVICTUS by William E. Henley

Art thou in truth? Then what of him
Who bought thee with his blood?
Who plunged into devouring seas
And snatched thee from the flood?

Who bore for all our fallen race
What none but him could bear. –
The God who died that man might live,
And endless glory share?

Of what avail thy vaunted strength,
Apart from his vast might?
Pray that his Light may pierce the gloom,
That thou mayest see aright.

Men are as bubbles on the wave,
As leaves upon the tree.
Thou, captain of thy soul, forsooth
Who gave that place to thee?

Free will is thine -- free agency
To wield for right or wrong;
But thou must answer unto him
To whom all souls belong.

Bend to the dust that head "unbowed,"
Small part of Life's great whole!
And see in him, and him alone,
The Captain of thy soul.

by Elder Orson F. Whitney of the Quorum of the Twelve

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Today is Easter Sunday.

Nineteen days ago my nineteen year old son's life took a sharp turn in a different direction than any one could have imagined. Words can't express how we feel. We are overwhelmed by this tragic accident that Gates is experiencing. We are equally overwhelmed by the outreach to Gates and our family of love, and support in so many ways.

“Incredible” is a word that Gates uttered to me while he lay in the ER room while I told him about the seriousness of his accident. “Incredible” is a word that I have uttered, under my breath, many times over the past 19 days as I try to comprehend all the implications of this accident on Gates and our family.

As I drove home yesterday morning from the hospital and turned the corner up Sunset Way I uttered the words "Incredible" again as viewed Sunset Way and the vehicle lined street while dozens of our friends, neighbors, and ward members were at our home lending support to our family.

We have been lifted and buoyed up by your support. This is a trial that Gates and our family will get through. The burden is heavy, but the burden has been made lighter by so many!

Many have been helping behind the scenes offering support to our family. We feel so blessed. I can't believe I can utter those words considering the magnitude of this accident. But I can say we are so blessed because so many are willing to make the burden a little lighter.

We love you!

Our family has been a huge support and we love you! I know Gates burden has been lifted by his amazing friends. They have been a huge support for him as well to our family. We knew Gates had great friends, but so many! You have been awesome we love you!


Brian and Cherie Hunsaker

“’Jesus’ perfect empathy was ensured when, along with His Atonement for our sins, He took upon Himself our sicknesses, sorrows, griefs, and infirmities and came to know these ‘according to the flesh’ (Alma 7:11–12). He did this in order that He might be filled with perfect, personal mercy and empathy and thereby know how to succor us in our infirmities. He thus fully comprehends human suffering. Truly Christ ‘descended below all things, in that He comprehended all things’ (D&C 88:6).

“Part of enduring well consists of being meek enough, amid our suffering, to learn from our relevant experiences. Rather than simply passing through these things, they must pass through us and do so in ways which sanctify these experiences for our good (see D&C 122:7). Thereby, our empathy, too, is enriched and everlasting.” – Elder Neal A. Maxwell

The "Better Half" of Service!...

"Author and historian Wallace Stegner wrote about the Mormon migration and gathering to the Salt Lake Valley. He did not accept our faith and in many ways was critical; nevertheless, he was impressed with the devotion and heroism of our early Church members, especially the women. He stated, “Their women were incredible.” I echo that sentiment today. Our Latter-day Saint women are incredible!" - Elder Quentin L. Cook 

And we echo Elder Cook...  The "Better Half" of Service!

Sisters, if you have other photos please submit them to

Saturday, April 23, 2011


It was a little bit like counting ants… but from my math there were 63 "boys" (and three women) at the Hunsaker’s home today.  I know, however, at the time I counted there were a few who had to leave and still others who came after my walkthrough.  Another miracle...  not one injury was reported.

Contrary to the teasing…  my “typing fingers” can do more than just tap dance on the keyboard; they can press a button to snap pictures as well.

The Savior said, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me” (Matthew 25:34-36).

The righteous, who are puzzled by this declaration, ask: “Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?” (Matthew 25:37-39).

Then the Lord answers, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).