Hey everyone, it’s just Lindsey today! Lilly and I have been getting a ton of inquiries and feedback about my time on the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda, so I thought - what better way to share my experience than with a blog post. Am I right?!
Ah, where to start?! Let’s start at the very beginning - the reason behind the letter and entire “Everyone has a Story” segment. Three years ago one of my best friends, Lindsey Waibl, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Dylan Michelle Waibl. After a complicated pregnancy, they were expecting challenges but sadly they did not know how big these challenges would be. After 5 agonizing days, Dylan was diagnosed with Trisomy 18...a genetic condition that we were told she would tragically be unable to overcome. We were also told that the chances of Dylan surviving more than a week were slim.
Let me fast forward 3 years to the happy part of this story because that very same girl just celebrated her 3rd birthday! To say that Dylan is a fighter is an understatement. None of which would be possible without Lindsey, her husband Dustin, Dylan's big sister, Charlie, and their entire family fighting and advocating for surgeries, procedures and a better quality of life for Dylan every single day. We've been told that Dylan will never talk, walk, see or hear, but she continues to defy the odds. She is truly a miracle, inspiring her slogan - "She be little but Fierce".
Rewind back to 20 years ago to when I met Lindsey and our two other best friends Megan Dwyer and Jennifer Muska in 4th grade. In the span of our 20-year friendship, we have found ourselves living in 4 different cities and states, but our rare bond remains stronger than ever.
When Lindsey had Dylan we all immediately booked flights to Tennessee to be with her, cry with her, pray with her and be there for her during the hardest time of her life. We’ve always been told that our friendship is something rare - unforgettable even, and it’s not something any of us take for granted. We constantly remind each other just how lucky we are to have one another.
So, what were we doing on the Today Show? If you know us, you know how committed each and every one of us is to the Today Show. My day cannot and will not start without a cup of coffee, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb - and the same goes for Lindsey, Megan, and Jenn. Being that I’m one of the owners of a Public Relations company in South Florida, I decided to write into the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda with the off-chance opportunity that one of the producers would get back to me and have us all on. I wrote about Dylan and Trisomy 18, the rare genetic disorder she was born with. I wrote about a 20-year friendship between 4 friends living in separate cities and states. And, I wrote about our bond over the Today Show.
Ring, ring, ring! The producers called and the rest is history. This all started off as something nice I wanted to do for my best friend and turned into one of the most remarkable experiences of our lives. If we didn’t love the Today Show and Kathie Lee and Hoda before….we certainly do now! They surprised Lindsey with Megan and Jenn on-air and flew each and every one of us out to NYC and put us up in fancy hotels with the true VIP treatment.
The morning of the show, Lindsey and I walked in silence to Studio 1A (the PLAZA) to get our hair and makeup done in the Today Show greenroom - THE Today Show green room, while Megan and Jenn hid in a separate green room for hair and makeup.
I think this is the first time in our lives we were completely speechless. The only thing that came out of our mouths (at least 15 times) was “We’re about to be on the freaking Today Show”.
Shortly after hair and makeup, Lindsey and I were escorted into a holding room to get we called “the fishbowl” to get mic’d up, while people outside took photos of us through the window because they thought/knew we were famous.
From there we were brought into STUDIO 1A to meet Kathie Lee and Hoda, who were equally as excited to meet us!
From there the segment began! My letter was played, tears were wept, Jenn and Megan’s surprise went off without a hitch, and Q. Smith, the star of the Broadway musical “Come From Away,” performed a song written by Kathie Lee Gifford and David Friedman called “She Be Fierce”. The entire experience was overwhelmingly perfect. To say it went by fast would be an understatement - we had three commercial breaks with them and got to hang out with everyone after the show!
That night we were treated to one of the best meals we have ever had at Bond 45 and saw our new BFF, Q. Smith perform in the incredible broadway show, “Come From Away”.
"Come From Away” is the true story of what transpired when 38 planes were ordered to land unexpectedly in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, and Labrador, as part of Operation Yellow Ribbon. The characters in the musical are based on (and in most cases share the names of) real Gander residents as well as some of the 7,000 stranded travelers they housed and fed. Ironically, myself, Lindsey, Jenn and Megan were together on 9/11 and had no idea any of this had even transpired. I’m getting chills just writing about how amazing this production was! We were honored to have a tour of the backstage and set with Q. herself!
Recapping our time in NYC last month on the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda, and everything that transpired before and after that is surreal. I can’t thank Kathie Lee, Hoda, and the Today Show family for giving us such an unforgettable experience to share with each other. It was truly one of the greatest things that have ever happened to us.
Also, a big thanks to the anchors and producers at the West Palm Beach NBC Studio, WPTV for coordinating a time for me to record my letter for the segment and for spotlighting our segment to their local audience on-air!
An even bigger thanks to everyone that has reached out and supported us since the segment aired. Our phones and social media pages were blowing up. It’s so refreshing and heartwarming to see how many people love and support Lindsey and Dylan.
To learn more about Trisomy 18 and to stay up-to-date with Lindsey and Dylan’s story, follow Dylan’s Journey on Facebook. “Thank you” will never be enough.