Four years ago my son was diagnosed as failure to thrive when he was only a few months old. After suffering through various testing in attempts to find a root cause with no answers, we were referred to the Ready, Set, Grow clinic at Children's Mercy. There, they informed us that in order to help our son we would have to insert a feeding tube and administer his formula through the tube going forward for an unknown amount of time. To make things worse, they informed me that I would be the one to have to insert that tube into my son's nose. The tube had to be set in place far enough down his throat that the food would get where it needed to go. This was my nightmare. This is how my son looked in the clinic prior to putting the tube in…
This is how he looked after…
The arm restraints were put on to keep him from pulling the tube out. We almost immediately took them off after leaving the clinic. Our concerns about his arm functionalities developing outweighed our fears of him pulling out the tube and us needing to insert it again. Although that was a big concern… the last thing I wanted to do was to insert the tube. It was obviously painful for him when we did so. I would take a baby sleepsack and swaddle him tightly, then hold his head as still as possible while pushing the tube into place as quickly and comfortably as I could. Then I would use special medical tape to paste the tube to his cheek and over his ear and onto his back. This was the routine. Even when he didn't pull the tube out, I had to change it out weekly and switch sides so that his cheek would heal from the rash created by the tape. I couldn't sleep well at night, and I kept him close in a bassinet for as long as I possibly could. It was not an easy time for us… but we persevered and the nightmare eventually ended.
This is my son today (Look at that happy boy! I'm a lucky Momma!!!)…
I am sharing this story with you, to explain to you why I need to donate to Children's Mercy. When I think back to that time in our lives, and I think of the stress and difficulty of it all… I can't help but feel blessed that all of that eventually ended. Then I think of the many parents out there who are coping with their child's cancer, diabetes, or other diagnosis (such as Congenital heart disease), and my heart breaks for them. If my scenario was as difficult as it was, then imagine how difficult their struggles are. I feel a bit helpless when I think about it. I can't help them. Not really. All I can do is offer support for those I know personally going through something like that… and give.
That brings me to my book and how Big Slick really inspired me to do what I could with what I have. In June 2015, I had the pleasure of attending the Big Slick Party & Auction. For those that aren't aware of what Big Slick is… it's a celebrity weekend charity event held every year in Kansas City to benefit Children's Mercy. The event is hosted by Rob Riggle, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Eric Stonestreet, and Jason Sudeikis. Every year they invite a group of their celebrity friends to come out to KC and help raise money for Children's Mercy through various events like celebrity bowling and celebrity baseball. After the event I attended, I really admired those men for giving back to their community like they do.
So when I published my book last year, I said to myself that I wanted to help others with this achievement. I am a firm believer in the philosophy that when good things happen to you, you should do good with it and pay it forward. I knew I couldn't help everyone, but I wanted to help some… kids in particular. Children's Mercy was an obvious choice, for the help that they provided my son. I wanted to specifically help the kids and their families who are struggling through a cancer diagnosis. So I choose to donate to the Children's Mercy Cancer center. Shortly thereafter, I noticed my cousin was sharing a lot of information about Type 1 Diabetes on facebook. I didn't know much about it previously, I didn't even know there were two types. I also had NO idea it was as life threatening as it is. I honestly considered diabetes to be a manageable disease. Obviously, I was IGNORANT on all accounts. But, I thought that since my cousin was asking for donations to JDRF, that I would donate to them as well. What happened next was HEARTBREAKING. I became educated on the disease. I learned just how terrible this disease is, and how hard my cousin's life has been for the past 6 years. Her daughter Zoe was diagnosed at age 2. Her strength is an inspiration to me every day… and her daughter Zoe’s strength. Little Zoe is like a superhero in my book! So after learning about all of this, I became very passionate about wanting to cure diabetes… which unfortunately, I'm not a doctor or a chemist. So I wanted to educate others... to spread the word about this disease in the hopes that someone listening might be able to help in ways that I cannot.
That is when it became clear to me, that I needed to use this little book about a Sasquatch as a platform to spread awareness for diabetes and to help fund research as well as support the families and kids at Children's Mercy. And why I donate a percentage of sales for EVERY BOOK SOLD FOREVER to these two organizations.
If you'd like more information on these organizations, you can visit my Charities tab above and click on the logos for each. You will be directed to their websites.