Friday, May 1, 2015
Thursday, April 9, 2015
While I know that this Books for Charley isn't all about the numbers, there is something about taking that final count that makes my heart beat a little harder, a little faster. Each year, despite the fact that the "newness" of our collection has worn off, you all continue to outdo yourselves. I'm SO humbled to report that this year we were able to collect 1647 books for our donation to Omaha Children's Hospital. 1647. Holy moly. That is incredible people! The words "Thank you" will never be enough.
Add a comment »
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
1 Comment »
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
First off – I need to apologize for being a little MIA here on Charleysheart.com. I’ve been doing a lot of our updates for books/sock monkeys on our Facebook page because it’s so QUICK and EASY…but sometimes I forget that not everyone is on Facebook! I’m going to re-dedicate myself to this site and do my best to keep information current in both locations.
The start of 2015 came with a flurry of activity….more in terms of mental preparation than actual physical activity…as I’ve been trying to come up with our official “plan” for Heart month. Much like the past 2 years we will be asking all of you to “GO RED” to kick off the month and sharing information related to congenital heart disease, but in addition to those things, I wanted to try something new…
You see, I look at heart month a little differently than I did back in 2011. Yes, I still see it as an opportunity to spread awareness. Heart month provides a much needed spotlight for CHD kiddos, their families, heart centers across the country and for those of us who so desperately want people to stop and take notice of the most common birth defect. We need awareness to fuel progress. We need awareness to generate funding for research. We need awareness so that fewer children have their lives cut short…so that fewer families are forced to say good-bye. Yes. Awareness is key.
So where have my views changed? As a mama to a heart angel, this month also triggers a lot of sadness. I’m bombarded with photos of kiddos who are “winning” their fight with CHD. Children who are labeled as miracles defying all odds stacked against them. Don’t get me wrong…I love seeing these things and there was a point in time where I was plastering the web with the same sentiments. These kiddos NEED to be celebrated. But at the same time, I’m still sitting here without my warrior. Does that mean she lost? Is she less of a miracle? This month, in addition to promoting awareness and celebrating our friends who are still fighting, I also want to HONOR families like ours who are living every heart family’s nightmare. I had been wracking my brain trying to come up with the best way to do this, when an idea kind of fell in my lap.
Miles was born on February 17, 2014,with Heterotaxy Syndrome and a variety of other complex congenital heart defects. He fought so very hard, yet despite his bravery, earned his wings just 6 days later. Six days. Sigh. So yes, Heart month is hard for me – but I'm sure that it will be infinitely harder for Miles’ family. I can say that because we’ve been there. A first birthday celebration with no birthday boy. The first anniversary of saying good-bye. My heart breaks for them, and while I know that I can’t “fix” things for them, I also know how far love and support can carry someone in times of need.
During Heart month 2015, I invite you to help me celebrate the life of Miles Ludvik by donating to his family’s Soles4Souls campaign, Shoes for Miles. Shoes for Miles is an event designed to collect new and gently used shoes (any style, any size) for those in need, all while raising awareness of congenital heart defects.
Miles' family has placed drop-boxes at predetermined locations in the Lincoln area and Charley’s Heart will be accepting donations as well! Do you have a surplus of shoes that you never wear? Be honest, you know you do! Do you know of a business that would be open to having a drop box? Feel free to print off a Shoes for Miles flier (or two...or three...)and help us spread the word!
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Back at it with another Books for Charley update! Just 1 left after this before we get to our BIG Omaha donation and our grand totals for 2014. But let's not get ahead of ourselves....next up is an update from our friends in Michigan!
Our Michigan Books for Charley collection looked a little different in 2014 than it has in years past. It was still fronted by our adorable friend Aly and her mama Jenny, but this year they decided to make their final donation to somewhere a little closer to home. You might remember that the books collected in Michigan have traditionally found their way to the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. When we first asked Aly's family to participate in Books for Charley back in 2012, Aly was still having pretty frequent follow-ups with her surgical/cardiac team at Mott. Fortunately, two years later Aly has continued to THRIVE following her surgeries, and as a result, her family isn't traveling that direction very often. That is 1000% awesome for Miss Aly - but it didn't make the whole book donation process the most convenient.
Enter - Plan B (Which I love just as much as the original Plan A!) Back in April Jenny emailed me and asked if it would be ok to split up this year's donation between a few special places. Some would go to the pediatric floor at their local hospital, some to Aly's cardiologist's office, and last but not least, to an organization known as Sisters by Heart. I couldn't have been more excited.
Some quick info on Sisters By Heart for those of you who are unfamiliar with the group...
Sisters By Heart is a group of heart moms who came together during their CHD journey – some of whom were fortunate to meet prior to their CHD warriors arrival. Knowing the challenges and difficulties we faced upon diagnosis, and more so, upon bringing our HLHS fighters into this world, we created Sisters by Heart to reach out to and to support parents of the newly diagnosed. A major aspect of our mission is to send care packages to new mothers (and fathers) who are at the beginning of their journey. We want them to know that they are not alone and provide resources and understanding while their child undergoes care and treatment from birth throughout recovery.
Jenny happens to be the Director of Outreach for SBH and is currently housing all of the contents of the above mentioned care packages. When she asked if she could include Books for Charley books among those contents there was no hesitation behind my YES.
"Knowing your child is going to be born with a critical congenital heart defect is devastating... for everyone.. Not just the parents. Siblings are also scared and confused for many reasons. It's hard to explain to a child why your parents are spending long days at the hospital and why their little brother/sister has to stay there. Siblings can take a backseat to a sick baby and that's hard on them too."
We feel so blessed that Sisters By Heart has given us the opportunity to be a small part of the amazing work that they do. PLEASE, if you know anyone with an HLHS child or expecting an HLHS child, send them over to http://www.sisters-by-heart.org/ and encourage them to introduce themselves to this amazing group of heart mamas.
So anyway...now that I've rambled on forever...I suppose I should get to the good stuff!! Books for Charley: Michigan edition collected a grand total of 186 books! WHOOHOO!! I love it! And they were even kind enough to share a picture with us of one of their SBH book recipients. One of my favorite things ever is finding out where our books land, and this picture absolutely made my day.
Thank you Jenny, for continuing to help us honor our sweet Charlotte and for thinking outside the box to spread the Books for Charley love to other heart families. We are forever grateful to your family and to all of the people who help drive your collection year after year. YOU'RE ALL AWESOME!!!
Add a comment »