On Emmi’s 3rd birthday, we delivered a $3,000 check to pediatric oncology St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa.
Often times we see families who have lost a child celebrating that child’s birthday. For us, since we never got to celebrate a birthday with Emmi Grace with us, we just did not know what to do. Her first birthday was a particular challenge for our family. So we started seeking and discerning different ways we could honor her second birthday. I reached out to Nora Gunn at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Foundation. Nora has been a great resource for us. I asked her what they needed. I asked her if there was anything that we could do. She was able to rattle off a very large list of needs that these children had. One stuck out in particular. One hit me in the gut. I told her I wanted to speak with Ryan and would get back to her.
That night, Ryan and I talked about how sad we were that we did not get to celebrate Emmi Grace‘s birthday. So we tried to focus on the blessings that we did get to share with her. One of those big blessings was Christmas 2016. We have had only one Christmas as a fully complete and joyful family of 4. Emmi Grace was born only a few days before Christmas and we are so thankful that we were able to share that special time with her.
I began to tell Ryan about what Nora had told me. We were both saddened and shocked to learn that there are times when a child battling cancer is able to be treated out-patient (continuing treatment at home) but at times they are either uninsured or underinsured. Their are families who simply cannot afford the required meds and supplies at home so the hospital keeps them inpatient to continue treatment. As most of us know, no one wants to be in the hospital one minute longer than they need to be, not to mention for days, weeks, or months. We wanted to help get these kids discharged with the supplies they needed.
The idea was clear. We would raise as much money as we could in a few short weeks and on Emmi Grace’s birthday, Nora arranged for us to meet and present a check to Dr. Mogul at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. Through the generous support of our families, friends, and Ryan’s co-workers at Hill Ward Henderson, we were able to deliver a $2,000 check in honor of Emmi Grace for her 2nd birthday.
For her 3rd birthday, we were able to raise $3,000. We also teamed up with Hillel and Amy Gail Buchman Preschool at Congregation Schaarai Zedek to deliver 5 large boxes full of items collected BY children FOR children in treatment.