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.

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