Friends. I come to you with a heavy heart.
If you remember, I came to you in January and poured my soul onto the web. I was ashamed and embarrassed and thought there's no way anyone could possibly care enough to hold out a helping hand.
I was so wrong.
Dozens of you stepped in. You made sure we had diapers, formula, and gas money to get back and forth from the doctor as Baby S went through a difficult time, medically. Some of you sent me a single dollar and told stories of how it was your last dollar but my story touched you and you couldn't turn away. Even being a writer, I still cannot find the right words for how grateful my family and I are for having so many angels out there. Without you, my husband, two small children and I would have drowned.
But now, it's my turn to pay it forward.
I came across a local woman's story, Jeanna Guffey, that has me completely heartbroken. This is about a mother (a friend of a friend) who, in all her braveness, chose to carry her 4th child to term even though she'd been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cervical cancer that put her at a 5-year survival rate WITH conventional chemo and radiation. This woman chose to forego those treatments and preserve her quality of life left with her beautiful babies and husband.
In the last few days, updates state the woman is now in hospice. With children ages 6, 4, 2 and a newborn born in July, her husband is currently off work and their insurance does NOT cover anything she's in need of. You can see where I just want to empty my wallet and send every single penny to help this family. This immediately makes me think of my darling Lenny Lee, whom I want to smother with hugs. In case you don't recall, here's his interview where, despite his ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia), he remains the strongest and most positive person I've ever known.
I've lost my biological father and a great uncle; Erik lost his grandmother. A friend's mother is in remission. Cancer is everywhere these days. It's frightening. In terms of Jeanna, I cannot imagine leaving my babies at such a young age and the pain this family carries goes beyond the financial. You reached out to help my family because you honestly are the greatest people I've ever "met." Please let this be just another way for you to show your awesomeness and consider donating or sending positive vibes or even thoughtful cards to this family who so desperately needs a giant hug.
Imagine if this were your sister.
Or your daughter.
Or your best friend.
UPDATE: I wrote this yesterday morning...before I'd heard the news that Jeanna Guffey passed away. Just 4 months after giving birth to her 4th child, she is now with the angels. I have cried about this non-stop. I don't have to know her to put myself in her shoes. To think about leaving my children so soon. To think about how broken her dear husband is feeling right now with losing his wife and the mother of his children and now having to do it all...WITHOUT HER.
Click on THIS LINK to read more and to donate or get an address to send cards to. With Christmas approaching, let's help to make sure these 4 precious babies are enveloped with more than the grief of losing a mother. I want you to reach out, just as you did to me, and send this father and children any of the things below:
-Gift cards for formula, food and gas
-Money to help pay doctor bills and lost income
-Books for the children
-A card to say you care
Just reach out. Any way you can. Please. Help heal this family's heart. I would do a Candyland-style fundraiser if I had known about this sooner but now it's about showing these humans we are all human, offering compassion and a virtual hug.
To ANYONE who donates or sends anything between now and Dec. 1st, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject titled "I DONATED"for a query, synopsis, or 1st chapter critique. It doesn't matter how busy I am. You help them, I help you.
As always, you rock more than you know and I *heart* you so much, I'd share my grilled cheese.
Even if you choose not to donate, please help spread the word.