On September 16, 2008 I suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm at home. My sons were at a football game waiting to be picked up, and I found myself unable to get up off of the floor, and profusely regurgitating, not having any idea what was wrong, thinking something I ate wasn’t agreeing with me. Desperately I tried to make several phone calls to find someone to pickup my sons. Finally I managed to crawl to the neighbors home next door (I didn’t know them as I had only moved into my first home in July.) I recall placing my hand up to the window, and when the door opened the last thing I remember saying was ‘I think I’m really sick.’ The rest of this story, I have no memory of but have been told piece by piece. The ambulance was called and I was taken to the hospital. When they found that I had a ruptured aneurysm and their facility was unable to do the immediate surgery required to save my life, I was transferred to another hospital within the hour. My sons were told not to expect me to return as there was a very good possibility that I would not recover. My daughter, in college in Arizona, was called and told she didn’t have 24 hours to get here, as if she waited, she probably would never see me again. My sons are blessed to be in a Marching Band at their school, and several of the members accompanied my boys to the hospital and waited with them while I underwent major brain surgery. My daughter left school and decided that it was best to come home, keep the house going and the boys going at school, and to stay, should I recover, knowing that I would need a lot of help and care during my recovery. (She stayed with us for 2 months.) The students and staff at the school I work for got together and held a walk-a-thon on my behalf, raising funds that helped pay a portion of our living expenses during this time as I was unable to return to work for several months. The students and staff also provided meals which they delivered to my home. The community at large was also very supportive in so many ways throughout my ordeal. Though I still have residual effects from this trauma, I have now returned to work, my daughter not only returned to school, but was still able to complete her academics and will be graduating this year, moving on to a Master’s program in public health. My sons also survived the trauma and will be graduating this year from high school, both going on to college in the fall. Had it not been for the prayers and outpouring of love and support from this community in which I live and work, my survival and subsequent well-being of my children could not have been a story of survival that I am here and able to tell.
I am still young and haven’t had many opportunities to help people in a life changing way. Reading Jenn’s story has really opened my eyes and realized that there are bigger things in life. I want to try to be a more open person about things and care more for people, Thank you so much Jenn.
One day I was at work on the top floor of our building, I happened to look down to see the woman driving a SUV that wasn’t paying attention to what she was doing. All of a sudden I saw her slam into a parked car behind her as she was pulling out of the parking lot. It was very obvious that she felt the impact because I could see her body bounce back and forth after the fact. To my suprise, as she was manuevering to leave instead of parking to get out of her car and check the damage or leave any contact information for the accident! I immediately ran downstairs and blocked the exit of the parking lot!
I clearly wasnt thinking at the time because I had my laptop in one hand and waving the other hand as if I was directing her to park…like a crazy person! When she parked and got out, I said ma’am, do you realize you just hit that car? She not-so-politely said; “yeah, you pointed that out already…thanks”!!
I watched as she went into the business below mine and there was this sweet little old lady and her 4 year old granddaughter…it was there car!
I stayed down in the parking lot and wrote down the license plate and car description just to be safe…when the driver left, I went up to the grandmother and asked if she got all the information she needed and if she needed further help!
Fortunately, she got all the information she needed from the “would-be hit & run driver”!
The dent was the size of a basketball in her bumper…
As a little child I began to sing with the church choir. I haven’t stopped singing yet. Last year a choir director in the area got the idea that it would be nice to have a choir to put on concerts in the area to make money for charities. The first one was a 100+ member choir that earned money for the Susan G. Kohman foundation of Northeast Ohio. We were able to send them over $12,000. I wanted to get into the choir because of my love for singing and because for over 35 years I have been helping people in both employment and in church. I worked at a local hospital and was a paramedic for the city EMS. In church I am on the missions committee and we do a lot to help the people of the town and the nation. It has been to great to be able to combine my love of music and the ability to help others. What a reward it has been.
This past October my father was hospitalized and every time I went to see him I had to pass the childrens wing, which after 12 days becomes quite a few times,coming and going twice a day. Once my father was released I wanted to say thank you to the staff of nurses and aids that were so kind to him.I kept thinking of the children in that wing that would be hospitalized for Halloween. How they would not get to dress up or go trick or treating or even see their friends or siblings as visitors on this day ,due to the hospital policy of no one under 18 allowed in, due to the H1N1 virus scare. With them in mind I called the hospital and asked if I could donate a few pumpkins carved for them to enjoy, The facilitator said actually the need would be 40 uncarved pumpkins and candy if possible.As I stood next to my client, I am a personal trainer , my jaw dropped I said,” oh sure no problem when do you need them by?” The facilitator said,”Thursday”? I said “oh ok, its Tuesday, I have two days no problem”. When I hung up I turned to my client and said ,”they need forty pumpkins and candy by Thursday, Yikes!,” she said ,”I’ll bring 5 and I bet your other clients will also”.This is when the act of true kindness started in my eyes.
As my clients came in for the next two days I told them in passing what had transpired and if they had an extra pumpkin maybe they could bring it in for the children.I know you thinking, an extra pumpkin? who has extra pumpkins sitting around?, But I hate asking people for donations, and how could I word it without saying “can you bring a pumpkin in for this bright idea I had and now I need a lot time help?” Well in two days I probably told about 20 clients and co- workers my story and by Thursday morning I had over 150 pumpkins and 50 lbs of candy on my work stairs. My friends and clients were dropping off 1, 2, 5, 30 pumpkins each, at a time!!!!!!! It was Amazing! I had my own pumpkin patch to deliver to the children along with a store of candy. I knew these gifts would make their Halloween bearable while having to be there.
My friends and clients stepped right up to the challenge without hesitation. I didn’t even have the chance to tell others about it because these few made it happen in two days. It truly was the most rewarding experience I have had. It let me believe in the kindness and giving spirit of people. I am proud to have these people in my life and in my community.One act of kindness can lead to so many!!!
I am a mother of 2 girls, 13 and 6. When my six year old was just two and a half, she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor that required immediate surgery. Because this type of brain tumor was so rare, there was no surgeon on the east coast that would operate on it. My husband and I came across a surgeon in Phoenix, AZ by the name of Dr. Rekate who has dedicated his life and his profession to removing this specific type of tumor in children. Because we lived in Philadelphia at the time, we had to travel to AZ for the surgery and were told that Taylor’s recovery would be 10-14 days. So, my husband and I would have to temporarily relocate to AZ for as long as it took for her to heal. We went to Phoenix in November of 2006, only to return home the next day because our medical insurance wouldn’t cover the cost of the surgery. After returning home, we did a lot of fighting with the insurance company to get it covered and had to reschedule the surgery. However, we lost money on hotel accommodations, airfare, and other travel expenses. So, with the help of many of our friends and family, they threw a fundraiser in Taylor’s honor which raised over $13,000 for us to use towards airfare, hotel, car rental, and other miscellaneous travel expenses for 2 weeks worth of living in Phoenix. Without the help of the fundraiser, my husband and I would have struggled for quite some time after her surgery to get back on our feet after we got home. We are so grateful for the help that people offered our family. Now, Taylor is healthy, happy, and loving life.
As a parent of young children, you tend to gravitate to other parents of young children and everyone hangs out together. Our neighborhood was that way. Several of us moms had husbands that worked nights or were single moms. We played together and grew quite close. When my single friend was laid off, she sunk into a depression and then into alcoholism. Her immediate family would not help. My family pulled together and had her 9 year old son live with us for 6 months until she could recover. My son was 8 years old at the time and my daughter was 13 years old. This made a huge impact on our family and one that will follow my children through the rest of their lives.
When I was much younger, my father would always pick me up from my job in the late hours. This particular night we saw a woman, Star, who was sitting on the curb with backpack. I went over and asked her was she waiting on someone and she responded that she was backpacking to Asheville. My father and I decided that at midnight it wasn’t safe to walk through Charlotte. So we drove her from Monroe to Shelby, with a stop at the Krystals a long the way, to feed her. She was very grateful for our act of kindness. I hope she’s doing well
My brother Jerry is accustomed to helping and protecting others. He’s served our country in Iraq (twice), sifted through the debris of September 11, and has been on countless SWAT missions. During his now two-year battle with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, he protected his young family from worry by remaining optimistic and by holding on to his sense of humor and fun nature. In the next step of his treatment, Jerry will need a bone marrow transplant; the procedure will be an arduous and physical challenge that will bring financial burdens as well. Those of us who know and love Jerry came to realize that, for once in his life, he would be the one needing help and protection. It was an unusual role for him and one we knew he’d find uncomfortable. Employing some minor reconnaissance missions of our own, we compiled a website telling the story of his relentless spirit and encouraging people to purchase a t-shirt and leave messages of support. We also posted a link to the bone marrow registry, a cause that Jerry has embraced to help those who are still waiting for matches. In the first week of their appearance on the web, joinjerry2010.com/ and joinjerry2010.blogspot.com/ were viewed by more than 300 people. An outpouring of love and support has come in. A follow-up face book page had more than 40 fans within the first 24 hours, and several people made plans to register with the bone marrow registry. We are proud of the support received, recognizing that it is a tribute both to the kind of man Jerry is and to the generosity of the human spirit.
Michele and Alex, FL
My Adult Bible Fellowship at class cooks and feeds the homeless on a quarterly basis. The adults in the class who have children also bring their children along to help prepare and serve a meal to those less fortunate.
We also enjoy adopting a child at Christmas time every year that is in need of “Santa”. Alex and I enjoy selecting the child, going out and shopping for him or her, and lastly delivering the gifts and spending time with the family.