Wednesday, May 14, 2014

From the Tiniest Acorn Grows the Mighty Oak

Do you remember last year when I shared an incredible video chronicling the first year of baby Ward, a fellow micro-preemie? If not, I'll remind you here. It's beautiful and I can't make it through without crying. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a zillion.

Like our family, Ward's parents received a NICU care package Graham's Foundation - a charity near and dear to my heart. When the boys were in the NICU, I got a care package from Graham's Foundation and it made my day. To remind you, here is what I first had to say about Graham's Foundation when I blogged about them in 2011:

"As soon as the boys were born, I desperately googled everything I could about prematurity, looking for resources and help. Sadly, Canada doesn't seem to have a lot of support in place, at least not compared to the U.S. who has the March of Dimes. I was desperate to find something, anything, to connect to at such a scary time.

And with Graham's Foundation, I did. Nick and Jennifer Hall started Graham's Foundation in memory of their son Graham, who like our boys, was born far too early along with his twin sister Reece. Sadly, Graham lost his battle at only 45 days old. The Halls wanted to do something to honour Graham, so started a charity in his name to provide support to other parents of micro-preemies, sending care packages to them in the NICU. Although they're based in the U.S., I contacted them, thinking it was a slim chance they'd include me in little old Victoria BC. But I heard back from them almost immediately telling me my package would be on the way shortly. I was impressed.

Like many other days, one in mid-December was particularly hard. Nolan had just come out of some drama with a lung hemorrhage and Asher was right in the middle of some drama of his own with suspected seizures. I left the hospital in tears (what else is new) and a few hours later received a phone call at home from their nurse - never a good thing. This time, however, I could tell she was happy. She was calling to tell me my care package had arrived. Everyone who worked closely with us was excited to see the contents.

I raced back to the hospital and tore into it. It contained several thoughtful items like coffee, tea, snacks, hand sanitizer, a disposable camera (the best thing ever to leave at the bedside for the nurses to use), a note pad, and two of the tiniest shirts I had ever seen. It absolutely made my day. It had arrived on a terrible day, just when I needed a pick me up. Even better - it arrived on day 45 of the boys' stay. Knowing Graham had lived 45 days, I felt even more sure that this was the day it was meant to come.

In the past 2 years since the boys' birth I have watched their foundation grow. I don't know them personally, but I feel so proud of them and what they are doing.  I truly believe that when you go through something like the families of preemies go through, it is for a reason. In the case of the Halls, they really are making the world a better place - one care package at a time."

Like I said then, and I still feel now, these guys are awesome. So here's where we come full circle back to baby Ward. His parents are teaming up with Graham's Foundation for a fundraiser that's incredibly easy to support. You buy a really beautiful t-shirt and Graham's Foundation benefits. Check it out here. Aren't the t-shirts lovely? And the saying: "From the tiniest acorn grows the mighty oak" - I can't think of any more fitting way to describe our tiny miracles.

So go ahead and buy one for someone you know and love who's been affected by prematurity. (I'd say "hint hint yours truly" but I'm getting one of my own). Great cause, great shirts, great awareness. Do it, your heart will grow - I promise.

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