Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Precious Memories

Well, I must admit, I am new to this whole concept of “blogging!” I love to write, though, so here goes…….

What an amazing journey the past seven years have been for me. In November, of 2001, I lost my beautiful daughter, Taylor, to leukemia. Taylor was only four years old. Never, as a parent, do you ever think about outliving your children. Yet, here I was, as a young mother, in that very situation. I was very blessed to have two more children, Tristyn, age 2, and Tessa, 11 months, to come home to. They were the only thing that got me out of bed in the months following Taylor’s death. They needed me, and that was such a blessing.

Taylor was diagnosed on December 13th, 2000. We were all busy with Christmas parties, shopping, not to mention the fact that I was eight months pregnant with Tessa. On that December day, everything came to a screeching halt. It was if our world completely stopped, but the outside world kept going. It truly was the strangest feeling. I remember looking outside of Taylor’s hospital room at the White Rock bike path, and all the people jogging, and riding their bikes thinking, what I would give to just be a “normal “person, out there jogging. Yet, here I was, tucked away in a hospital room helping my baby girl to fight for her life. It was surreal.
Taylor would spend the next 3 months hospitalized, and on December 30th, Tessa was born. Needless to say, we had our hands full. People constantly asked me, how are you doing this, how are you holding up?
I look back now, and honestly, don’t know how I did it. I truly just lived day by day, and put my faith in God. I couldn’t think of the what if’s… I had to focus on the only acceptable outcome, getting Taylor well.

Fortunately, our family was extremely blessed by the generosity of others.
Every day, we had lunch and dinner brought to us, sometimes even breakfast. Taylor had a pile of goodies that we often bribed her with to take her medicines! My dear girl friends even organized a golf tournament to raise money for us to hire a nanny to help with Tristyn and Tessa. We were allowed to put all our focus and energy on Taylor, and getting her well. I cherish that time I had to spend with her. We were blessed to have Taylor home and healthy from March-September of that year. While she was in isolation the majority of that time, allowing her immune system to recover from transplant, we were HOME! I will never forget bringing her home from the hospital. It was a beautiful Spring day, and as we pulled into the neighborhood, the trees were lined with big pink bows. I said, “Tay Tay, the pink bows are on these trees for YOU! Everyone put pink bows on their trees until Taylor came home.” Her eyes lit up in amazement. As we turned on to our street, it was lined with people cheering and clapping for Taylor. There were signs and posters in our yard, welcoming Taylor home. It was truly an unforgettable day for our family. Tristyn and Taylor chased each other around the house and laughed hysterically for hours. They were so happy to be together again.

In September of 2001, we got the devastating news that Taylor had relapsed. The doctors did everything they could, but ultimately, could not save her from the ravaging effects of this disease. Looking back on Taylor’s illness, we were so grateful for the support, both emotionally and financially that we received from others. That is why Heroes for Children exists today. Taylor’s Angels, which became Heroes for Children, grew out of the unselfish, giving, loving spirit that friends, family, neighbors, church members, and yes even complete strangers demonstrated to us during those eleven months. Thanks to these amazing people, and the beautiful spirits of Taylor and Allie Scott, HFC is able to help families across Texas, who have a child battling cancer. My hope is that these families will have some weight lifted off their shoulders, as I did, and be able to enjoy those precious moments with their child.

Hug your children, and cherish those precious moments together.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Heroes for Children is blogging!

With the increasing blogging communities, Heroes for Children ("HFC") recognizes the effectiveness of a blog to communicate with current and future supporters of our organization. Not familiar with Heroes for Children? Founded in memory of Taylor Anne Brewton and Allison Leigh Scott, the mission of Heroes for Children is to provide financial and social assistance to families, within the state of Texas, with children (0-22 years of age) battling cancer.

Did you know that more than one thousand children each year will be diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer in the state of Texas? After a diagnosis of cancer, families must find a way to cope financially with high medical costs. Childhood Cancer treatments typically include chemotherapy, radiation, surgeries, and frequent clinic visits, all of which can last anywhere from six months to three years. Additionally, a parent must take on increased care responsibilities for the child, at times giving up a full-time job to do so. Care costing $600,000 and up usually exceeds the lifetime maximum benefits. With the already intense emotional burden, having to worry about financial matters is more than any family should have to bear. The assistance Heroes for Children provides helps to alleviate some of the financial stress families often face. To date, no request has ever been denied.

Recent examples of funding include:

  • Helping families cover everyday household expenses including rent and utilities.
  • Purchasing wigs for teenage girls returning to school after chemotherapy.
  • Covering lab fees to test siblings as a bone marrow match for a patient.
  • Gas and travel expenses for families to travel to and from treatment.
  • Covering insurance premiums for a family to retain insurance coverage.

What are Everyday Wishes?

An everyday wish is a simple wish that makes a huge impact. It is the wish we all have for our children to be happy and healthy, the wish to provide for our families, and the wish to make a difference. It is our goal that through the everday assistance provided by Heroes for Children, these wishes turn into realities for families.

So, what can you expect from a blog about Heroes for Children?

It is our intent to utlitize this blog as an educational tool for our readers. We will cover various topics pertainting to both our organization as a whole and childhood cancer. Feature writers include:

  • Larissa Linton--Co-Founder of Heroes for Children and Taylor Brewton's mom. Larissa currently works as the Director of Development for Heroes for Children. Her passion for helping other families during this time comes from the first hand experience of having friends and family provide support during their family crisis. During Taylor's illness, friends raised money for a nanny for Larissa's other children with a golf tournament called "Tee Off for Taylor." It was in that giving spirit that the organization, originally named Taylor's Angels, was created.
  • Jenny Scott-Co-Founder of Heroes for Children and Allie Scott's mom. Jenny is the Executive Director of Heroes for Children and mother of Maggie. Allie's illness brought awareness on the internet to thousands of people following through Jenny's blog. Supporters of friends, family, and strangers wept for Allie's death at the age of eight months 27 days and have continued to support the efforts of Heroes for Children.
  • Dana Eisenberg--Dana serves this year as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. She is a survivor in many ways--beating both breast cancer and fighting (and beating!) leukemia with her son, Sam. Sam was 3 1/2 when diagnosed with AML (his twin brother, Ethan was his bone marrow donor), an aggressive leukemia, and now keeps Dana busy with kindergarten!
  • Tracey Robinson--Tracey is counselor at the University of Texas in Austin for freshmen students. Tracey has been a volunteer of HFC and also participated in a fundraising campaign for the Leukemia and Lyphoma Society in Allie Scott's name.
  • Jennifer Houser--Jennifer is a member of the Advisory Board of HFC. On September 13, 2001, just two days after the 9/11 attacks, Jennifer's son Ryan was diagnosed with ALL, the common childhood form of leukemia, at the age of fifteen. We are proud to say he is now a senior at Baylor University! Jennifer's appreciation for her son's health drives her to make a difference in the lives of Texas families facing the same terrifying news of "your child has cancer."
  • Melissa Heather--After her son's were born 10 weeks premature, Melissa thought the worst was behind her. At ten months of age, one of her twins Brandon was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a form of liver cancer. Brandon's treatment has been moving on schedule, finishing his third round of chemo and heading into surgery. On February 20, 2007, he celebrated his first birthday!
  • Randi McParlin--Randi serves as a member of the Board of Directors of HFC and the Live Auction Chair for the event, Heroes and Handbags, for the past two years. She comes from a large family and has a passion and heart for serving others.
  • Lauren Zlotky--Lauren came up with the idea of this great blog!! A mother of two sets of twins (yes, you read that correctly), Lauren is commited to helping other families. She too became involved after continously supporting Dana and Sam Eisenberg's cancer journeys, including babysitting for Sam's brother Ethan, bringing meals, and raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymohoma Societyin Sam's honor.

Expect to read articles about the success of Heroes for Children with regards to fundraising and family assistance, read about firsthand knowledge of childhood cancer, and hear how passion can lead a life. We will discuss topics general to our field of nonprofit fundraising and childhood cancer as well as delve into specifics of Heroes for Children. We hope you can come along on this journey! Be sure to subscribe to the blog to stay up to date with new blog entries.

Let the blogging begin!