Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Gibson Family Fundraiser

Hello friends! This next fundraiser we are launching is for a cause that is very near and dear to my heart.  We want to show support to The Gibsons, a local family whose daughter was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor towards the end of last year.


I recently had the privilege of meeting and photographing this sweet family.  I was very inspired by them and admire their strength and joy during this time.  I asked them to share some of their story, and here is what they had to say...

"Emilie is our amazing 9 year-old girl and best friend to her big brother, Alex. She began to have headaches over the summer while swimming and we eventually made our way to a neurologist who ordered an MRI.

On September 9th she had her MRI and within an hour we got the results no parent should ever get and immediately headed up to the hospital. Emilie had a rare brain tumor called a DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma).

We quickly learned that pediatric brain tumors are now the #1 cancer killers of kids and DIPGs are the worst. 50% of children with DIPGs do not make it 9-12 months past diagnosis.  We were lucky in that after a biopsy at University Health in Shreveport, 6 weeks of radiation at St. Jude in Memphis, and 5 weeks of immunotherapy in San Francisco, her tumor shrank around 60%. 


In our every three week trips to continue immunotherapy, we try to make the shot experience as painless as possible through crazy hats that Emilie delights in making the entire family wear.  Due to this, she has accumulated a large collection and once received a few smiles while wearing a bunny eared hat through airport security.



San Francisco has become part of our drive to make as many special moments as we can through food trucks, a trip to Alcatraz, and multiple visits to the sea lions, and Emilie never disappoints with her sweet, witty, crazy, and dancing disposition.  She has held her brother’s hand all through wizarding at Harry Potter World in Orlando, has thrown the first pitch at Airline High School’s softball game, and has raced in a car simulator at the Bossier sheriff’s station. 

Then there is our everyday life which is filled with friends and family along with her competitive spirit during favorite card and dice games such as Qwixx. 
 A regular week involves mostly school and her greatest passion, swimming, which is where our family motto has evolved:  Just Keep Swimming

The shadow of DIPG hangs over our family, but Emilie’s name means “rival,” making her a fighter who will continue to fight.  We have all been forever changed by the events in this past year, and we keep moving forward with an additional reminder to “Never Tell Us The Odds” and to come out the other side swinging."  


The Gibsons are taking life one day at a time and making the best of each moment.  Having been through a very similar situation with my own family,  I know the financial struggle that can come during a time like this.  We want to try and help!  I asked them which necklace they would like for me to design for them, and they chose Emilie's motto "Just Keep Swimming".


This necklace has recently been added to the shop and is available for PREORDER.  From now until June 18th half of all proceeds from not only this necklace, but ALL online sales will be donated to the Gibson family to help with their expenses as they travel back in forth from Louisiana to California.  Please consider purchasing a necklace and helping them!

Also, you can follow their journey on their Facebook page, "Friends of Emilie Gibson".  If you would like to further support them, you can visit their Go Fund Me page.

They have also been inspired to create the NWLA Childhood Cancer Awareness page on Facebook to help other families traveling similar journeys to not feel so alone.  

Thank you so much for your support!  Please keep Emilie and her family in your prayers.




Tuesday, March 14, 2017

On March 21, we will celebrate World Down Syndrome Day.  This is a day to create global awareness for people who rock an extra chromosome.  We want to show the world how valuable their lives are and how they are more alike than different!

Throughout our journey with Deacon, we have met some amazing people and families in the Down Syndrome community.  One of those families is the Job family.  This family has recently begun the process of adopting a little girl from China with DS.  I reached out to Sasha and asked her to share her story.  Here's what she had to say:

"We're the Job family - mom, dad, Annicka, Jericho, Liam, and Zoey!  A little bit about us:  we're a little crazy, we laugh a lot, and we love big!  

In January 2010 Zoey (our fourth biological child) entered the world, complete with a broken heart and an extra chromosome.  (She had a congenital heart defect and has Down syndrome.)  Parenting her has been life changing in ways we never could have imagined!  We get to see the world through her eyes, and let me tell you - the view is amazing!  Having a child with Down syndrome has opened our eyes and our hearts ... it's been an absolute blessing!



For years we have talked about adoption, always thinking it would be a part of our lives "some day".  That day came sooner than expected, when one day in November I saw sweet "Angel" on Reece's Rainbow ...  I can't quite explain it, but I knew immediately that I was her mama!



"Angel" (or "Little sister", as we affectionately call her - for now) also has Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect!



It has been incredible to see God's hand over this journey.  He was working on this before we realized, but looking back we can see it.  He put some pieces together ahead of time.  He opened eyes and hearts.  He provided peace as we grappled with how we would come up with the finances to bring our girl home to us, her family!  



It was a leap of faith, we knew we needed to just jump, so we did!  What a beautiful journey it has become, already we have been blown away with support of all kinds!  Prayers lifted for us, many rallying behind us with love and excitement, participation in our fundraisers, monetary donations!  We are climbing that mountain.  The big, scary financial mountain!  There will be stumbles, perhaps even falls - but we're halfway and that's astounding!  We still don't know how all the finances are going to come together, but we are trusting God that everything will fall into place!"

The Job family has been working very hard putting together online auctions and other fundraisers to help bring their daughter home.  This month we would like to support them and try to help lift some of that financial burden. We have just added this "Be the Change You Wish to See in the World." necklace to the shop and from now til the end of March, half of the proceeds from this necklace will be donated to the Jobs. 



This family truly is being the change, and you can too by supporting them! So head on over now and get yours!

You can also visit their daughter's page on Reece's Rainbow to find out more and donate extra.  Thank you so much for your support!!



Monday, February 6, 2017

Meet the Forbes

This month I am happy to announce that we are supporting Jacob and Allison Forbes as they begin growing their family through adoption.  

Allison reached out to me through a mutual friend, and here is what she had to say...
"During engagement and the early parts of our marriage, Jacob and I loved dreaming of our future together. We talked of adventures, shared hopes and dreams, and the desire to start a family someday. Adoption was always on our radar but we expected that we would have biological children first. In the midst of our fertility struggles, we talked more seriously about adoption and God shifted our hearts towards it more and more. I realized that my deep desire was to be a mother and that pregnancy wasn’t the only way for that to be possible. We prayed, had a lot of conversations, sought wise council and did a bunch of research and came to the decision to pursue adoption right now. We are excited about this opportunity and feel that adoption reflects the Gospel in a uniquely beautiful way. We are pursuing an infant, domestic adoption through Faithful Adoption Consultants. We are open to a little boy or girl and it will be so fun to see what God blesses us with! Through this whole process, we are seeking to trust the Lord fully with all of the pieces and we cling to the promises in these verses:
Psalm 37:3-7 "Trust in the Lord, and do good, dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him."

You can help this sweet couple by purchasing the "Delight yourself in The Lord" necklace pictured below.  



Half of the proceeds from this necklace will be donated to the Forbes to help with their remaining $10,000 in adoption fees.  Visit the shop to purchase yours and help support this family!

You can read more about Jacob and Allison by visiting their blogAlso, if you would like to make additional donations, please visit their YouCaring fundraising page.

Thank you so much for your support!!!