Prelude to Holiday Cheer

Prelude to Holiday Cheer

Each year I do a fundraiser and then deliver gifts to 25 people (1 each day in December) to people who need a little extra cheer. These people usually have touched, inspired, or changed someone’s life in our community (or far away – we have delivered to Denver, Utah, and well all over actually) and they are nominated to receive one of the gifts.

I recently received an email about one of our recipients from last year. I didn’t write about her last December because tragedy struck her family just after she was nominated. I waited. I wanted her to have some space to heal and even now I am going to call her Kate to protect her identity.

Kate and her husband, like many couples, had to do extra work to become parents. They have miscarried several times and decided to take one final attempt last year. Kate and her husband were thrilled because she was expecting twins. She was put on bed rest in the second trimester. At the beginning of December tragedy struck when she lost her babies; twin girls.

The person that nominated her still wanted to deliver something, but the basket that had been prepared for an expectant mother on bed rest would no longer do at all. So I found a small business on Etsy where the woman creates angel necklaces for women who have miscarried. The name of the shop is Blue Room Gems (you can check it out by clicking here). Creating a necklace for her seemed perfect. So a new basket was crafted with this handmade jewelry and a hand-made throw. My dear friend ensured that this was delivered at just the right time to Kate.

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Necklace from Blue Room Gems.

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Well, Kate was so touched by the basket and the gift that she took our idea and continued it. She began to turn her grief into energy to help others, as grieving mothers tend to do.

She began creating and delivering baskets of her own to women in hospitals who were on journeys similar to her own. She wanted to gift them hope and love; just as she felt she had been gifted.

The blessings continued and Kate’s story evolved and grew and the hope she felt led her to try again for a baby. Kate is expecting and everything is going smoothly as of now. Continue to pray for her and her family and I promise to keep you updated.

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A display at “Kate’s” house with the framed phrase we included with her gift.

Kate inspired me to keep Holiday Cheer going and this year I want to help as many people as we can. I am shooting for 31 nominations so that we can gift a nominee every day in December. I know we can make it a success this year, too. This is such a wonderful way to give back; because like Kate so many of the recipients pay it forward. This sparks so many to keep giving and hope continues to grow. Our world needs hope and so here we go again with our  3rd annual fundraiser – 31 Days of Holiday Cheer!

It is easy – YOU dear readers, nominate a person you think is worthy and YOU my dear readers can donate, make, or just share this with others so that we can make this the most successful Holiday Cheer EVER!

So how does this work:

To nominate someone: It can be anyone, adult or child, male or female. The person nominated just needs to be someone who could use some cheer or just needs some hope breathed into their life. To nominate someone is easy – just email me a short paragraph about the person, with their name and why you think they should be a recipient. Then include something you think they might need this holiday season. Email me at mlmurnin@yahoo.com.

To donate: I will have several “parties” that will allow you to purchase gifts for the holidays or just for yourself or you can purchase for one of our nominees. Then I use the proceeds of these parties to purchase gifts for our nominees. There will be an online Stella  and Dot party and a Thirty-one party online. I will host a LulaRoe pop-up for those close by. And last but not least the things that worked best last year anyone can donate gift cards, cash, or even sponsor a recipient by purchasing something directly for them. Again, email me at mlmurnin@yahoo.com to arrange for donations to be collected and Like my facebook page for details about the parties.

Get others involved: Share this post with your friends, family, friends of friends, and community. I know if we have enough involvement we can raise more donations and help people even more than we did last year.

What do we need to beat? Last year we collected over $2000 in cash and gift card donations. Last year we purchased nearly $2000 in gifts and other goods. All together with hand made donations and other purchased items we topped over $5000 in gifts for the recipients.

Can we go bigger this year? Can we do 31 days of Holiday Cheer? YES WE CAN! 

I can’t wait to see what happens this year,

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Let’s get this party started – Holiday Cheer 2015 Y’all!

Let’s get this party started – Holiday Cheer 2015 Y’all!

So, I was starting to think I wasn’t going to be able to pull off Holiday Cheer this year and I was worried because I kept getting so many messages and little reminders from people who let me know we needed to do.

For one I got this text message I shared on FB a while back.

we make a difference

This was also shared on my wall not that long ago and this is from our Holiday Cheer 2 years ago.

We can do Hard Things

I have also become friends with a nominee from 2 years ago and our We Can Do Hard Things sign hangs on her playroom wall.

So I knew that somehow I had to keep this going but how and what would our theme be that could apply to anyone?

Thank goodness for amazing and brilliant friends. Alyssa Wagner, whom many of you readers know, is the best ever and she sent me the brilliant idea of collecting donations and gift baskets from small business owners and then conducting a silent auction and using the $$$$ to buy the holiday cheer gifts! Alyssa, I adore you – this is exactly how we will fund Holiday Cheer this year!

Thank you!

So if you are a small business owner, or you have something that you make or sell and you would be willing to donate let me know. You can email me at mlmurnin@yahoo.com and let me know what you would like to give. I will donate an individual reading and a group reading package! We can do this – together we can do this and pull this off.

Now remember Holiday Cheer is about letting those people in our lives know we think they are amazing. In the past we have sent gifts to single moms, young kids fighting huge challenges, special education teachers, and those that were struggling with life circumstances and doing it with a positive attitude just to name a few examples. It can really be anyone as long as you have a compelling case to share about their extreme AWESOMENESS!

I have always thought it was important to let others know that they are AWESOME just by being who they are. To take a moment and make sure that ordinary, every day people who do extraordinary things day in and day out know that they are appreciated and recognized.

So this year our theme comes from a quote from my favorite book:

“Real courage is when you know you are licked before you begin, but you begin any way and see it through no matter what.” – To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee.

From the Start Where You Are Journal by Meera Lee Palel
From the Start Where You Are Journal by Meera Lee Palel

So many people I have met this past year are facing each day with challenges that would knock the best of us to our knees and yet they not only stand, but continue to put one foot in front of the other and execute each day with the best and most positive attitude they can muster. They live any way, love any way, give any way. So real courage is seeing something through no matter what – like a boss!

I know you know people like this too. I can’t wait to hear about your nominees and I know everyone else that is going to take part in Holiday Cheer this year – those that are willing to donate – they can’t wait to hear about them either. So if you have a nominee; man, woman or child let me know. You can email me the nominee and why you think they should be nominated and what some of their interests are or some type of gift you think they might like.

Once I receive the nominees, I will let you know if they will be chosen for this year (we haven’t turned anyone down yet). Then I will get the gifts together. Usually something nice and I will make sure we include a framed print with the quote. Then on December 1st all the way through the 25th of December a gift is delivered each day to a nominee. If you are not local – no problem we have shipped gifts to Colorado, Southern California, and Utah. I can ship the gift anywhere.

I then share the nominee’s story and reason for being nominated on my blog so that we can all follow along with sending them cheer.

That is it; it is that simple.

I am looking forward to those that can donate and learning more about the nominees that you have in mind. Email me at mlmurnin@yahoo.com and let’s get this Holiday Cheer started for 2015!

Sincerely,

Me

Cheer Day 30

Cheer Day 30

Cheer Day 30

On November 2nd I received a note from Leighan. Leighan knows my aunt and our daughter’s have danced together over the past four years.

She wrote to me that she would like to nominate her mom, Linda, for Holiday Cheer this year. She wrote to tell me that her mother is “a selfless and amazing woman.” I couldn’t agree more.

Cheer Day 30 gift

Linda is the embodiment of kindness. When I met her at dance a few years back and realized she was Leighan’s mom, I told her how much I loved her family and she answered, “Me, too.” I instantly like her. She then immediately opened up and shared how proud she was of her daughter and grandkids. Linda is just a pure pleasure to be around.

When you meet Linda you would have no idea the kind of battles she has fought behind the scenes. She is always upbeat and optimistic. Her smile and kind heart are what you always notice first. However, 10 years ago she cared for her husband as he suffered and then passed away from cancer. Amazingly she found love again.

But over the last few years she has cared for her second husband who was suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Seven days after Leighan nominated Linda, hospice was called in to help Linda care for her second husband.

On November 16th, just 14 days after I received Leighan’s note, heaven welcomed Linda’s second husband with a glorious sunrise.

Leighan Sunrise

Linda, we know your world has forever changed. While our holiday cheer is small, we hope that it brings some comfort in knowing that there is a circle of people who care and are praying for your continued strength as your navigate your new normal. You are most loved.

Love,

The Cheer Squad

Cheer Day 29

Cheer Day 29

Cheer Day 29

On the 29th of December, Tiffany was able to deliver a gift of cheer to Melissa. Tiffany nominated Melissa because she knew Melissa could use a little extra cheer. Melissa had been diagnosed with breast cancer earlier in 2014 and was finishing up her last rounds of chemo in December.

Melissa is a mother of four and married to a police officer. When I first moved to Gilroy, Melissa was the first person to say hi. We instantly bonded over both being moms of four and would often share a sigh or smile over just making it to school on time in the morning with our younger kids in tow.

Melissa’s smile is the first thing you notice about her. It is the biggest, brightest ray of light. Over the last months of 2014 I never saw that smile fade, even when she was fighting this horrid disease. Her courage and strength inspire us all.

Melissa is actively involved in her children’s school. She volunteers in classrooms, for events, and is there daily to offer a helping hand. She also is actively involved in her children’s activities. Melissa continued to be involved throughout her treatment as much as she could be. The campaign around town in support of her fight was Melissa Strong and that is exactly what and who Melissa is, STRONG.

Cheer Day 29 Gift

Melissa you are an amazing mother and wife, a true friend, and a hero to all those that know you.

Love,

The Cheer Squad

Cheer Day 28

Cheer Day 28

Day 28

Having a baby is a joyous occasion, but for some littles life starts out with a fight and unfortunately can continue that way to the very end. For 7-year-old Johnathan this is the case. He was born fighting for his life and by age 3 he was diagnosed with Niemann-Pick Disease type C. This disease is often called “Childhood Alzheimer’s” because it will eventually rob a child of everything.

Life is not fair

Johnathan’s mother, Rebecca was nominated by Tiffany. Tiffany wanted to nominate Rebecca because of her strength, optimism and courageous spirit. Rebecca and her family are fighting to find help find a cure for this awful disease. Johnathan is now in a trial at NIH in Maryland. He travels there once a month to have injections of Cyclodextrin into his spine.

To learn more about Johnathan and his story visit www.johnathanspencer.org or to give to Johnathan’s family visit www.gofundme.com/af73gk. Help this family bring awareness to their cause and help make a cure a reality.

There are no good words to say to someone whose child is suffering. In my experience this phrase works well:

this sucks 100%

 

We hope the trial is going well, Rebecca. We offer our prayers and support.

God bless you and your family,

The Cheer Squad

 

Cheer Day 27

Cheer Day 27

Day 27

On today, Day 27, our nominee is Tricia. Tricia is a mom of three littles and was nominated by Kim. Kim has known Tricia for over 10 years. Tricia’s middle child, a daughter, Lexi Faith was diagnosed with a brain tumor late this year. Lexi’s most recent MRI shows that the mass in her brain may not be a tumor at all, but another MRI and EEG will tell the doctors at Stanford and her family more.

 

Lexi was diagnosed with Panayiotopoulos Syndrome. To put it simply it is a type of epilepsy and its onset comes between 3 and 5 years of age. Someone afflicted with Panayiotopoulos Syndrome will have seizures. Two thirds of these seizures will most likely take place during sleep. Seizures are mostly infrequent and medicine is prescribed for treatment.

There is a FB page that chronicles Lexi Faith’s journey feel free to check it out: www.facebook.com/pages/Prayers-for-Lexi-Faith.

Day 27 gift

Kim wrote to tell me that she is in awe of Tricia’s strength, love and positive attitude. I am in awe of her deep faith. Our prayers go our to Lexi,Tricia and the whole family.

lexi faith

Love to you all,

The Cheer Squad

 

Cheer Day 25

Cheer Day 25

Merry Christmas

Good morning and Merry Christmas my sweet Cheer Squad and lovely readers.

Today’s recipient is the first person I thought of when I set out to do the 25 Days of Holiday Cheer this year. Her current situation is something my family has lived through first hand. Lori a mother of three grown children was just getting into the swing of the second half of her life with her husband, Sam when their plans changed dramatically. To understand Lori and Sam, you have to know their whole story.

 

Sam and Lori started dating when she was a freshman in high school. Sam a few years older than Lori chose BYU for college because it was the only college to offer housing for married couples despite being offered several scholarships from Division 1 schools.They were married as soon as she was eighteen and they moved to Utah.

Sam went to school and played football and Lori got a job at the local grocery store to support him. They went on to have a great first half of life raising three children. So as they began their second half of life as empty nesters they received devastating news; at the age of 56 the love of her life was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. The beauty in this story is how the love story continues.

True Love

She has taken care of him day and night. This past two years have been extremely hard on her because at times Sam gets aggressive and has no idea she’s his wife. Sam has progressed fast and can no longer dress himself or go to the bathroom on his own. Despite his rapid progression Lori continues to care for him in their home. Through it all Lori remains patient and loving. Lori continues to work outside the home as she has always done to help with finances.

Her daughter, Katie helped me honor her mom this year. Katie donated money and even purchased gifts during the fundraiser. Katie is a nurse and has seen good and bad care givers. She feels her mother is the role model of how every caregiver should be. Lately though, Katie notices her mother’s exhaustion and it breaks her heart.

All three of Sam and Lori’s children live close and take turns caring for their dad so that Lori can run errands or just have a few hours to regroup. They help cut Sam’s hair, take him out to eat, and just plain love him as much as they possibly can.

Sam and Lori’s love stories is one of the most beautiful love stories I have ever witnessed because true love is caring for someone you love through thick and thin, better for worse.

This isn’t the first time that Lori has cared for a loved one. Her son was diagnosed with bladder cancer at 23. Lori was there for him through it all. He is now  in remission.

My grandmother had early onset Alzheimer’s. My grandfather took care of her every day for twelve years. He fed her all her meals, kept her home with him as long as he could and only left her side for a few hours a day. I know what it is like to see this kind of love first hand and to watch someone you love lose who they are a little more each day. Heartbreaking is too kind a word.

Lori not only do your kids think you are a hero, but I do, too. You are an amazing woman living the unthinkable day in and day out with courage, strength, and grace. I think of your family every day and you all hold a special place in my heart.

Cheer Day 25

Know that we are praying with you and loving you with each step you take.

God bless your sweet soul,

The Cheer Squad

Cheer Day 24

Cheer Day 24

Enjoy Today

Today as we prepare for the nearing end of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season I find it fitting that our recipient today is a grandmother who has seen many a holiday season come to pass and greeted each one with love and a giant Christmas Spirit. My dear friend, Kim wanted to nominate her grandmother for her never-ending strength and faith. Kim’s handwritten letter of why her grandmother should be a recipient touched my heart. I share that with you today:

“Dear Michelle,

I would like to nominate my grandma. My entire life she has always been there for anyone and everyone. She was a second grandma to many many children. She was involved in the support and financial aid of our local teen challenge, and many other organizations. She has so many struggles throughout her life, yet she always stood tall and kept her faith strong. Even when her husband passed and two of her kids moved away eight months later she stayed positive and strong not only for herself, but for the entire family. I see her as my second mother, she is my hero, my rock…my angel. Always forgiving, non-judgmental, and forever loving and supportive she is my amazing grandma. I thank God for her everyday she is here with us. I could go on forever but then I would be a bigger bawling mess and this would end up a novel. 

Thank you,

Kim”

Cheer Day 24

Kim, I was crying right there with you and I know many of the readers will be teary eyed as well. Having a champion in your life is so crucial to our resilience and success as human beings. You are definitely blessed to have your “amazing grandma”, Kim. God bless her and you this holiday.

Merry Christmas Eve,

The Cheer Squad

Cheer Day 23

Cheer Day 23

Believe

I am so excited about this nominee. She was nominated by her daughter Christy. Christy and I have become friends recently and when she wrote to me to nominate her mom, I couldn’t help but add her to our list this year. Her mom, Gail is nothing short of incredible. I got to meet her this month at a local production of the nutcracker and she is sweet, humble, and just so down to earth. Christy’s nomination letter speaks volumes of her mom, and so I share it with you:

“Dear Michelle,

I would like to nominate my mom. Really both my parents should be nominated, but I know there is only room for one. Both her & my dad still work 2 jobs. They have my 102-year-old grandpa and my 82-year-old grandma living with them. My grandma has recently been in and out of the hospital the past couple months.

My parents had a trip planned to Tahoe for their 40th wedding anniversary, but were unable to go because they had to go when they needed tend to move my grandma home with them. In addition to having two parents living with them, they also care for my other grandma on a daily basis, taking her to doctor’s appointments, errands, fixing things around the house, etc. Her husband died last summer and they have been really taking care of her every need since then.

My mom has always given us everything that she could – she would sacrifice anything so that we could have extras when we were growing up. Always, always we came first and we still do. I don’t know how but she still finds the time to watch her grand babies when she has a chance. She knows how important it is to have time with your spouse. Goes to show, that she sacrifices the little alone time that she has for herself and gives it to us. Always selfless, always thinking of others first. She gives to everyone else before even thinking of herself.

She goes above and beyond to make special gifts for not only my brother and I, but for our kids as well …hand making special blankets for them and doing crafts with them when they spend the night at her house.

It’s hard to put into words how special she is to me (all of us really). Above all else we know that we are her life; she would do anything for any of us. We know that we are loved so deeply by her. I wish I could give her anything and everything she’s ever dreamed of. She’s that special.”

Cheer Day 23

Gail really is that special. She works in the Gilroy post office and last holiday season she played Santa. Every letter that was received to the Gilroy post office addressed to Santa, Gail responded to. She ordered special paper and stamps to make sure each letter had the magic of Santa. My four children received these letters last year and it made me believe in the magic of Christmas all over again.

Cheer Day 23 gift

I know that our simple gift is no match for Gail’s brilliance as a human being, but we hope that it will continually remind her that everything she does makes such a big difference to those that know her and even those who don’t.

Thank you Gail for making the spirit of Christmas live on every day.

Sincerely,

Christy and The Cheer Squad

Cheer Day 22

Cheer Day 22

Cheer Day 22

Today’s recipient was nominated by Melissa. She wrote to me to tell me about her dear friend, Zenedith.

Cheer Day 22 Gift

Zenedith was diagnosed with stage one triple negative breast cancer. This type of breast cancer is aggressive because it is missing three receptors known to fuel most cancers. Now while that may sound good it isn’t. Most treatments attack these three receptors and so with triple negative cancer the treatment options are less because of the lack of these receptors. It does seem to respond well to chemo therapy, which is the good news.

Borrowed this from Zen's FB page
Borrowed this from Zen’s FB page

Zen is a true warrior and mom to two beautiful little girls. She is fighting hard and we want you to know, Zen, that we are praying along side you. Life can really suck sometimes and it definitely isn’t fair. Keep on keep on warrior mama!

Hoping the holiday cheer lifts your spirits and lets you know there is a group of people who know you can beat this!

Sincerely,

The Cheer Squad

Cheer Day 21

Cheer Day 21

Cheer Day 21

Melissa is today’s recipient. Melissa is a wonderfully, refreshing person. You never have to wonder what she is thinking or where you stand with her; if it is on her mind she says it out loud. She is mom to two boys and is helpful in everything they do from karate, scouts, piano lessons, to both of their classrooms. She has made elaborate cakes for the annual boy scouts bake sale. If her boys ask for it she finds a way to make that exact cake.

Melissa's chocolate dipped marshmallow minion creation
Melissa’s chocolate dipped marshmallow minion creation

Melissa has had a rough couple of years. Due to allergies she has had several (to put it mildly) surgeries on her nose. Her most recent surgery left her with infections and uncomfortable for weeks. She also recently was diagnosed with Lupus. Her diet has changed radically and she is feeling much better. She is also in the midst divorce this holiday.

thirty-one beauty bag

Melissa is never quiet about what she is going through and I applaud her for that. We need to be open and share what life is really like. There are no masks with Melissa. I am so thankful to have her as a friend. No matter what might be on her plate she is always there with a helping hand for others.

Cheer day 21 gift

So glad to know you Melissa. Hope our holiday cheer let you know how much you are loved.

Sincerely,

The Cheer Squad

Cheer Day 20

Cheer Day 20

“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”
― Anne Lamott

Cheer Day 20

As we hustle and bustle through our daily lives we often think that we are just doing what everyone else does. But here is the thing, that isn’t necessarily true. If you watch the news, if you travel through life, if you pay attention to what is going on around you – not everyone is doing what needs to be done. Some are busy with blame, hatred, feat, ignorance, and neglect. Some add to the chaos and make life way more complicated.While others put one foot in front of the other each time with the intention to do good, to create good, and exude good because they care not only for themselves, but for their community, for others.

Many of the recipients of holiday cheer have said they don’t deserve to be honored for doing what they should be doing. Obviously I disagree. The world around us is wrapped up in giving media attention to blame, hatred, feat, ignorance, and neglect. Anger and bitterness are encroaching on too many hearts. However, I know if our focus shifts to good and our thoughts shift to good then so will our actions. There is no doubt in my mind that this is true. So this holiday cheer is my small contribution to helping the world be a more positive, kinder place.

Today’s recipient is the embodiment of what is right in the world. Jenny was also nominated by Shirley. I know two Jenny’s nominated by the same person – what are the odds?

Cheer Day 20 gift

Shirley wrote to me the following about Jenny:

“I’d like to nominate my pastor’s wife. She is a mama of four, one of which has Downs Syndrome. She’s also an international student mama of a girl from Japan. Jenny Fitzgerald is an amazing woman who always gives of herself, but rarely does anything for herself. She is there for all of us in our tiny congregation no matter the day or the time. She is a pure example of a giving soul.”

Jenny, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being you. For caring for others and opening your home and your heart to those who need it. The world truly is a better place because you are in it. Our simple gesture does not match what you do everyday, but hopefully it brings a smile to your face.

Happy Holiday Cheer to you,

The Cheer Squad

Cheer Day 18

Cheer Day 18
click for original source
click for original source

The one thing I know from witnessing and living through loss is that “there are certain sorrows that never fade away.” We carry our loved ones with us and the grief in our hearts until we ourselves pass on to the next life.

Cheer Day 18

A teacher friend from mine, Shirley, wrote to me to nominate a dear friend of hers from her church, Jenny Nguyen. Jenny is a mama of four beautiful little girls whose ages range between 3rd grade and preschool. This past year her husband passed away and this will be their first holiday without him. She is having to live and survive through the unthinkable.

Amor pendant

Shirley wrote that Jenny is, “a wonderful soul”.

Jenny as you move one foot in front of the other taking each day as it comes; know that you are surrounded with prayers.

May God keep you in the palm of his hand,

The Cheer Squad

Cheer Day 17

Cheer Day 17

Love

As I finish wrapping presents and prepare for Christmas I am humbled by today’s nominee. Lisa is a mother to three children 10, 8 and 6. She has terminal cancer. As I write this she is struggling to survive today, to love her kids just one more day and be with her family. The strength that must take to endure is mind-boggling to me.

Cheer Day 17

There are no words just helplessness as I write this.

She was nominated by her child’s teacher second grade teacher, Mrs. Watters. This teacher has taught both of the older children and will most likely have the youngest next year. Mrs. Watters wrote of how Lisa’s tenacity and strength leave her in awe. Lisa updates family and friends through a Caring Bridge website and Mrs. Watters says even on Lisa’s worst days that she writes with optimism.

Thank you, Krafty B for your donation of this gift
Thank you, Krafty B for your donation of this gift

When the first light of sun-
Bless you.
When the long day is done-
Bless you.
In your smiles and your tears-
Bless you.
Through each day of your years-
Bless you

-Irish Blessing

Lisa our prayers and well wishes go out to you and your family,

The Cheer Squad

Cheer Day 15

Cheer Day 15

“There is a light in this world, a healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometimes lose sight of this force when there is suffering, too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.”
— Mother Teresa

Cheer Day 15

Today I have the honor of sharing Madelyn with all of you. Madelyn may just be an almost six year old, but she is extraordinary.

At four years old she was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis. Juvenile Arthritis is not just a pint sized version of adult arthritis. Roughly 300,000 children under the age of 16 have Juvenile Arthritis. These children experience fevers, joint pain, stiffness and swelling. Symptoms can be as severe as, “muscle and soft tissue tightening, bone erosion, joint misalignment and changes in growth patterns.” [Kidsgetarthritistoo.org] The children that suffer from Juvenile Arthritis are incredibly strong and Madelyn is no exception. While she currently shows no symptoms of JA it is never really gone and flare ups can happen throughout her life. 

Madelyn is not only is a hero because of her strength and positive attitude as she received treatment and endured symptoms; she also participated in the 2014 Walk to Cure Arthritis to help raise money for a cure for herself and others. This photo of her from the walk is one of my favorites that her mom shared on her Facebook Page.

Heroes come in all sizes
Heroes come in all sizes

I had the honor of meeting Madelyn this week as I delivered her gift. She was gracious, kind, and full of energy. It was a pure delight to be able to bring her some holiday cheer and get the chance to spend a few minutes with her. She loves pink, Disney Princess, and liked showing my kids her Elf on the Shelf. While the kids played, Madelyn’s mom talked about how in awe she was of her daughter’s strength.

Cheer Day 15

Maddie the world is a better place with you in it and you do so much for such a little girl. You are definitely one of my heroes.

Wishing you continued good health sweet Madelyn and a very Merry Christmas,

The Cheer Squad

If you want to learn more about JA you can visit the sites listed below and even donate to the 2015 Walk to Cure Arthritis.

Information about upcoming events – participation and donating: http://www.arthritis.org/california/?gclid=CNH8hanjzsICFeURMwodPB0A_w

More information about Juvenile Arthritis: http://www.kidsgetarthritistoo.org/