Memory Monday With Diana Sloban

The year 2014 was one of many special years for my family and my coaster family. Over the years, my coaster family has grown. My love for the parks started at a very young age for me. Sometimes I think I was born with an amusement park freak inside me!
    Every year my family and friends get together on what we call “Cousins Day.” Now there are more than just my cousins and me there. This is the day that is like Christmas to us because we all looked forward to this day, when we could meet up with my special cousin Kirk.
      My cousin Kirk was very much like me in that he was, as our family called us, the ” Cedar Point Junkies.” We loved that. On the cousins day our group would spend from dawn to dusk at the park laughing and having the best day of the year! We are a crazy group that would take in everything we can in one day. There have been times that we would laugh so hard that our sides would hurt for several days.
        Cousin’s day 2014 was to become a day that would be different from the rest. In fact, the whole meaning of cousin’s day and being at Cedar Point, which has become even more a special place in my heart and what we call our ” Happy place,” would be different forever.
          About this time last year, I got news from Kirk that blew me away… he told me that he found out that he was in the last stage of lung cancer and didn’t have that much time left but swore he would fight this demon to the end. Then he told me that he didn’t want me to feel sorry for him or to be sad, just to focus on the happy. Then he wanted to ask me to help him grant a wish that became his last wish, that helped him stay in the happy until he lost his battle to what he called the “Demon” in September. Before anyone gets sad because that is not what we want this memory to be, I want to share this memory in which I hope will make people enjoy the park as much as we do.
            Kirk’s wish was that he wanted to go to Cedar Point with our group one more time and have the best time of our lives with no sadness and talk about being sick.  Then he told me that he would have a small window in which he knew he would be able to go between all the treatments and when he thought he would have the most strength. That day happened on July 21,2014.
              We did make that day, the best day ever. I wanted to surprise him with a gift from me that would make the day even more special. His favorite coaster was the Blue Streak.
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                  I thought it would be so cool to see if there was a way to be able to get our whole group to be able to ride with him and that the train would be his!!!! I emailed several people at Cedar Point with the idea but told them that Kirk was not the one who wanted to be treated special or be put on display. I got a email back from Cedar Point giving me the thumbs up that they would love to help me and asked us if I would like their staff photographer to take a picture of our group. That blew me away. I had asked if there would be a way to have someone take a picture to have but I didn’t expect them to have their staff photographer take the shot.

                    They had our group meet up at Blue Streak at noon and they escorted our group to our own personal train. They took several pictures and then we were off. The emotions from everyone was overwhelming for both our coaster family and all the people waiting for a ride! The people in the station started cheering and clapping their hands. We were all so happy. I wish we could have had that moment forever. Blue Streak gave us an awesome ride as she always does, with lots of air time. When we came back into the station, everyone was so excited cheering for us. It made my cousin’s day. He gave me a huge hug, a thank you, and said he will never forget that moment! When we exited the ride, we got in front of the Blue Streak, where the photographer took a picture of us.
                      Now every time I look at that picture, I smile because I know that even though Kirk is gone he is always with us in spirit. Plus every time I rode Blue Streak the rest of the 2014 season, I felt like he was riding right there with me.
                      Here is that special pic of that special day and a couple that I took the night before we said our goodbyes to Kirk. I felt that I needed to go to the place that meant so much to him and me…that is Cedar Point!
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                        -Diana Sloban 1-14-15