Thursday, February 24, 2011

Update on Pillows of Hope

I am so overwhelmed by the response we've received about Pillows of Hope! I was brought to tears when I started receiving coupons, pillows and donations in the mail.  I never thought I'd have such a great response!  So far we have received more than 20 pillows (only 15 are in the picture below) and with the coupons I've gotten, we plan on buying a whole lot more! 

Thank you to everyone who has been so kind and generous! The kids at the hospital are going to LOVE these! We have 1 WEEK LEFT before Emily's surgery, so I will be using all those great coupons to purchase as many as we can very soon!  If you would like to donate a pillow, there is still time! And even if you can't get it to me before March 2nd, its ok.  Emily will be going back to the hospital often, so we can always bring your pillow at another time.  What's most important is that these adorable pillows bring a smile and hope to some very sick children.  Please continue to help us! 

Thank you again!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Renewed Inspiration - Pillows of Hope

Often we get so wrapped up in our daily lives that it takes something simple yet profound to remind us of things that really matter in life.  That is exactly what happened to me this morning. 

Just last week, we were blessed by the kindness and generosity of The Knights of Columbus in Kinnelon, the town Jason and I grew up in.  For the second time in a year they hosted a pancake breakfast fundraiser for Emily.  It took us by surprise because we had no idea they were planning it until a week before hand when a sign was posted in front of the town hall with the information.  The amount of love and support for Emily from friends, family and strangers alike has been extremely heartwarming and we are once again overwhelmed by it all.

For a very long time, I have been trying to find a way to "give back" and "pay it forward" but just haven't found something that would truly feel rewarding to us...until now.

While browsing through my facebook page this morning I stumbled upon a story that was posted by a friend in Indiana about a 7 year old boy with stage 4 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, a very aggressive cancer.  He was diagnosed on Oct. 13th 2010.  And at the beginning of his treatment, Jake faced 54 weeks of chemo, radiation and surgery.  His prognosis is not good but he is a very strong, brave and selfless little boy.  Inspired by the dinosaur pillow pet he was given as a gift, Jake is trying to collect 1,000 pillow pets for all of the sick children at his hospital.  Why pillow pets?  In the words of his mom "Because they don’t feel like playing games or doing the artwork all the time since the chemo makes them very sick. The doctors are telling the kids scary things every day, and there are lots of shots to endure.”  Jake knows what sick children really need...a soft friend to help comfort them when they are scared and not feeling well.

You can read about Jake's journey below:

I cried when I read about his story and immediately I knew what I needed to do. 

When Emily was just 5 weeks old, we brought her to the Maria Fareri Childrens Hospital for the first time.  The building looked so comforting and we had a sense of peace as we walked from the parking lot, hoping that our answers and a good prognosis for Emily's eyesight were waiting for us inside.  But as we approached the entrance, a young girl with a bandanna wrapped around her head was being wheeled out to her car in a wheelchair.  She was weak and we watched as her father picked her up and put her in the car.  She undoubtedly had cancer of some kind and at that moment my heart sank and tears welled up in my eyes. 

Inspired by Jake's story and that sweet little girl in the wheelchair, we have decided to also start a collection of pillow pets to donate to the sick children at the Maria Fareri Childrens Hospital. Emily has endured countless surgeries at this hospital and is scheduled for another one on March 2nd.  We are hoping that we can collect as many pillow pets as we can by then so that we can bring them with us that day. And she will be bringing along her own dolphin pillow pet she also received as a gift!

We know that Bed Bath and Beyond sell these adorable Pillow Pets and are hoping to collect as many of their 20% off coupons as we can from friends and family to use to purchase them with.  If you have any coupons you would like to pass on to us we would appreciate it so much!  Or if you would like to purchase a pillow pet to donate yourself that would be just as wonderful! 

Bed Bath and Beyond Coupons or Pillow Pet donations can be sent to us at the following address:

Pillows of Hope
c/o Emily Bott
13 Mott Drive
Vernon, NJ 07462

We are so excited about this and cannot wait to finally be able to pass on some of the kindness and happiness that has been given to us. Our goal is to make each child smile, give them some HOPE to hold on to and a little extra strength to fight against their illness. 

Please help us pay it forward!

Emily, you are our inspiration of HOPE!