If you’ve been around my blog for any time or know me in real life, you know that I have three children. All boys.
I love my crazy kids. The Tweenager is a sweet, sassy, musical, athletic eleven year-old, caught in that weird pre-pubescent phase where he’s not really a child anymore, but not really a teenager. He has a tender heart, which makes me tear up when I see him reviewing sight words with The Manimal or playing peek-a-boo with Little Darth.
The Manimal is my study in contrasts. He is the only one in our family who is both a big brother AND a little brother. His black-and-white approach to life challenges me to think differently when it comes to teachable moments in our home. He loves Star Wars. I mean LOVES Star Wars. He may not recall why he got in trouble at school, but I’m convinced that his ability to remember the names of obscure Jedi Padawans and functions of little-known Droids will translate into an ability to memorize obscure historical facts or crazy geometric proofs. He wants to be a big boy, but he still loves his evening snuggle with Mommy.
Little Darth is developing into a stubborn youngest child who refuses to be left out of any activity. When the big boys wrestle, he’s right there in the middle of things. He has absolutely no use for actual words yet, but seems to get his point across with grunting, fussing, screaming, or when all else fails, pulling a chair across the kitchen floor and climbing to the cupboards to get just what he wants.
Although my children make me crazy, I love them all to bits. And we have truly been blessed in so many ways. Knock on wood, we’ve not had any major health concerns. Sure, we’ve had some scares; what parent hasn’t?
I don’t take my children’s lack of medical issues for granted. Not for one single day. And I especially don’t take for granted my good job with good medical insurance. Because I know that, especially in this economy, our situation could turn on a dime. A major medical concern could arise, which would require ongoing care, or a major surgery that isn’t covered by regular insurance.
Anything could happen.
My friends Todd and Kim Pierson are blessed with two beautiful daughters. Their younger daughter, Brooke, is in seventh grade. She’s a musician, a dancer, and a lover of fashion. She loves wearing high heels because she feels that the world towers above her. She longs to be grown-up, and gives her mom crazy fits when she launches into tweenager attitude, but she’s such a good kid, she usually comes back down to earth fairly quickly.
Their older daughter Leah, is fifteen, and has a heart of gold. She is always looking for ways to give to others; to make others happy. She doesn’t often realize that her cheerful hello and mile-wide smile is enough to lighten anyone’s heart, and brighten an entire room. She is so very sweet and kind, and loves acting in school plays, dancing, and participating in our church youth group. She volunteers in the nursery at church on Sundays.
She’s a good kid.
Who just happens to have a wicked case of scoliosis. When Todd and Kim first found out about Leah’s diagnosis, they did what every parent would do. They tried to learn all they could about the disease. They researched various treatments.
And of course, they did this all through the lens of their health insurance. You see, Todd and Kim are self-employed (he is a photographer and she is a graphic designer). And if you’ve ever been self-employed, especially with children, you know what a challenge it can be to find affordable health insurance. So in order to be able to afford health insurance, Todd and Kim took a high deductible policy and worked really hard to keep their family healthy.
So back to Leah. With all previous treatments exhausted, Leah is now facing surgery to correct her scoliosis. In addition to the mental stress of helping Leah prepare for this major surgery and extensive recovery period, Todd and Kim are looking square in the face of an $8000 deductible.
I wish I could adequately convey just how much this family has given to their community, their church, and their friends. And the kicker is they KNOW that there are people far worse off than they are. But the reality is, Leah is going to have this surgery. And the family is going to have to find a way to pay the medical bills in addition to all of their regular monthly expenses.
So here’s where we all come in. As I mentioned, Todd is a photographer.
An a-ma-zing photographer. Especially when it comes to children and families.
Todd and Kim have set up a Portrait Day to help raise money for Leah’s surgery. If you’re local to the Chicagoland area, you NEED to do this. For a suggested donation of $100, you’ll get three beautiful jpeg files of your family, spouse, kids, dog, purple-spotted squirrel…whomever you want to bring to the shoot.
If you’ve ever had professional portraits taken, you know that is a STEAL.
However, through the miracle of the interwebz (which I still don’t completely understand…heck, I don’t completely understand faxing, but this isn’t about me), many of you (perhaps most of you) who read this, aren’t anywhere near the Windy City.
YOU can still help. Todd has set up a blog to tell Leah’s story and raise money. Go meet Leah now. You can come back in a minute.
Why are you still here? I’ll wait for you.
Isn’t she beautiful? Now, in case you didn’t see it on your first visit, there is a “donate” button on the right sidebar of Leah’s blog. Won’t you please help this wonderful family meet that crazy $8000 deductible? Any amount would be so appreciated, I know.
And remember those three beautiful boys of mine? I’ll bet some of you have some pretty neat kiddos of your own. What if you were to donate even $5 for each child you have? Believe me, it would make such a difference.
And yes, I know money is tight. Really tight. People are struggling to put food on their table and gas in their car. Some are on the verge of losing their homes, have lost their homes. I get it.
But for many of us who are able to access the internet? Write a blog? Go on Facebook? We can afford to give a bit. Or a bit more. Let’s help this family.
“What? Giving again?” I asked in dismay.
And must I keep giving, and giving away?
“Oh no,” said the angel, looking me through.
“Just keep giving until our Lord stops giving to you.” (Anonymous)
Giving again. It’s what Works for Me.