During the course of our misadventures right after Charlie was born, during our stay at Children's Mercy, we were fortunate enough to have the love and support of so many people from all across the nation. So much so that our lives have been deeply touched and will never be the same. Our eyes have been opened, and we now see that the world is full of very kind people, and it is now time to give some of that kindness back. I have vowed repeatedly that I will try and pay back all of the kindness, positive thoughts, and charity that we received and pay it forward to others that are in that dark place that we have now moved past.
I started my journey on giving back last week. Late one evening, while checking my favorite social networking site, Cafemom, I stumbled across a journal post that another mother had written. Upon reading her journal I was struck by the similarities in what she was going through to what we had just been through. She said her daughter was born and immediately had to be life-flighted to the hospital and they were now staying at a Ronald McDonald House. After reading her journal I went to her page to see where she might be from, and low and behold she was from Kansas. Not my hometown, but Kansas nonetheless, which led me to believe they were possibly up at Children's Mercy in KC. I sent her a message and told her I had just gone through a similar experience when my son was born and offered my support and an ear to listen if she wanted to talk. I also asked her where they were staying. She wrote back the next day that they were not at Children's Mercy but in a hospital in my home town, just a few blocks away from me. I knew immediately that this was my first chance to pay it forward. I asked her the room number she was staying in at the Ronald McDonald House and told her I was going to bring her a care package. I then assembled a basket full of goodies, treats, magazines, lotion, a little toy for her baby, and enclosed two photos of Charlie (one right after surgery and one now, to show her how fast and far little ones can come.) That evening I dropped the basket by the Ronald McDonald House. When I rang the doorbell the Director answered and I asked her to give the mom my basket for me. I ended up speaking with the Director of the house for quite awhile and told her I was wanting to volunteer there, cooking meals for the families staying at the house. She took down my information and had the volunteer coordinator give me a call the next day. I decided I was going to need some help with the cooking so I started a group on Cafemom for area moms who want to volunteer locally, it's called Mamas With a Cause. It wasn't hard to get volunteers, we already have a pretty tight-knit group of local moms on Cafemom that I founded some time ago. We have made arrangements to cook a meal every two weeks starting next Tuesday. I am very excited! It's possible that the mom that I left the care basket for will still be staying at the house. Unfortunately she has been going through a lot since I left her that basket. Her 6 week premature daughter was discovered to have two holes in her heart, requiring open heart surgery, but not until she has gained enough weight to support the surgery. She was then diagnosed with Edward's Syndrome. Children diagnosed with this syndrome have a 5% chance of living to age 1. She has contacted me to take photos of her daughter, after seeing the photos I had taken of Charlie. I told her I would be honored to take them free of charge, and was actually glad to have the opportunity to make use of an organization I have been a volunteer for over the last year called The Littlest Heroes Project. I am looking forward to setting up a time with her to take those photos.
This is the first of many ways I plan on spreading kindness to others in need. And I would challenge each and every person that reads this blog to do the same. It took a life threatening event to fully open my eyes, when I should have been looking around for ways to support others in need all along.