Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Staff Takes Part in Holiday Heroes

With the holidays rapidly approaching, the Heroes for Children staff are getting in the holiday spirit! After having an extremely busy Fall we were all looking forward to the Winter for a much needed slow down (although I am still waiting for that slow down…maybe next week).

One of the main focuses around the office the past few months has been Holiday Heroes and the 40 families through Texas that we have adopted. This program is my favorite and I am very blessed that I was able to be a part of so much of it. The shopping was a blast and watching those teams fill up 2 to 3 shopping carts full of toys, clothes, bikes, video games and even bedding filled me with excitement. Excitement that these families are going to have a wonderful Christmas because of this program. Filled with even more excitement for those families that weren’t going to have a Christmas if it wasn’t for Holiday Heroes and the wonderful volunteers.

The HFC staff originally planned to have a Christmas party to include spouses but we were unable to agree on a date that worked for everyone but we came up with an even better idea! We decided that we could choose one of our Holiday Heroes families and that family was ours to shop for, wrap for and provide for. We chose a family that touched us. They are gracious, humble and truly selfless. We choose Caden’s family. Caden is 3 years old and has been battling Neuroblastoma for a year and half. He recently relapsed and is continuing to fight. When we received this family’s Holiday Heroes wish list back in our office we looked over their wish list to find that Caden’s mom, Lexie, hadn’t listed the things that the boys had wanted but instead wrote us a letter back…

Hey Guys,
We wanted to thank you for all you have done for us over the past year. We are honored and humbled to be selected as one of your Holiday Heroes families-what a surprise. As we tried to think about needs for our family, especially the boys, we realized we have been so blessed and truly don’t lack for much in the areas of food, clothes, toys etc. It is hard to give suggestions for gifts because we don’t truly need anything. We are torn on what to do, so we will let you make the decision. Listed below are “family/brother gifts” suggestions (rather than individual child), however, if there is another family that could use your help please remove our name. Thank you again.

Their list is:
Gift certificate towards bunk beds
Wii and games
Tickets to sporting events
Gift cards to restaurants or family places

We instantly agreed that Caden’s family was “our” family. We all headed out to Wal-Mart for our shopping day and we did fill up two carts worth of stuff for this family. We had a great time choosing just the right things for the boys and we each personally contributed to the shopping carts. The shopping was followed by our staff Christmas lunch at Kona Grill, and yes there was sushi involved. We even did a little more shopping after lunch!

It took us about an hour to wrap all the gifts and get them ready to deliver to Caden’s family at the Dallas Holiday Heroes Christmas party this past Saturday. It was so nice to be able to meet Lexie, John and the boys. If you were to see Caden on Saturday you wouldn’t have even know he was a little boy with cancer, he was just a little boy playing and chasing his big brothers with a smile on his face the whole time. It made it all the hard work of the Fall pay off to see the smile on Caden’s face!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Boxes, Boxes and More Boxes!

These lovely boxes are filled with objects that will brighten the day for a child with cancer.

We are sending out 7 laptops this week! Last week one of the laptops brought a smile to a young man who in reference to a comment about the smile said, “And I haven’t smiled in a looong time!”. That makes 88 laptops we have delivered this year alone!!

The two boxes on the right are milestone packages. See contents below. One’s a princess birthday party. She will have to spend her 4th birthday in the hospital receiving chemo, so we sent her a Princess slumber party package to celebrate when she gets home. The other box, a snowman party package for a 4 year old celebrating a belated birthday and a half way through treatment party!!

These 9 boxes will bring so much joy to these families in the next few days! Thanks for supporting Heroes for Children and helping us spread smiles to all these children!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December Volunteer of the Month

Every charity has them. The volunteer rock super stars that make our jobs just a little easier. Those "go to" people that you can rely on because not only do they come through for you, but do so with passion and excitement. The kind of volunteer you wish you could figure out how to duplicate and have lots of! We are fortunate to have one such volunteer working on our special Heroes Milestones program.

Kim Bannister is a member of HFC Friends, the Heroes for Children Women's Auxiliary, and currently serving as the chair of Heroes Milestones. Milestones helps a cancer patient celebrate a milestone event in their life that he or she might otherwise miss out on due to their cancer treatment. From birthday celebrations to Celebrations of Life parties at the end of a child's life, we've helped children and their families enjoy happy moments together. Each party is unique to the child and coordinated by Christi Disch, our Programs Services Coordinator, along with Kim. This month, four year old Natalie is going to get her wish--to go to a ball and dance with her prince (ie--her Daddy). She missed her fourth birthday and is finishing chemotherapy this month. Kim has taken the challenge of creating a ball and run with it! Natalie will be the Belle of the Ball at this special event, and we have Kim Bannister to thank for it.

I'm excited to share our friend and volunteer Kim Bannister with you. If you are new to the Dallas area or starting out a family, be sure to get a copy of Kim's book, littleDallas, for tips for raising a child in Dallas. It's a must have!

Name, Occupation:
Kim Radtke Bannister; author/free-lance writer

How did you get involved with HFC?
I was invited to the first Heroes and Handbags event and have been hooked ever since. Our son was a patient at Children’s when he was 4 weeks old. The quality of service and care was amazing, but the sadness and worry we encountered with many parents was heartbreaking. Through Heroes, we can help alleviate the financial burdens for the families in need, while supporting them emotionally as well through such a program as Heroes Milestones- Making an ill child’s birthday wish come true is something my young children get excited about- it is can be a family affair!

Do you have any kids and/or pets?
Sawyer, our daughter, is 7 ½. Our son, Ford is 5. We have two German Shepherds, Amigo & Armani as well as two fish, Bud and Fancy.

From looking at you, no one would guess that…..
I am cautious in nature, was convinced I could fly when I was young, dream to camp in Africa, I am afraid of flying, my favorite actor is John Travolta & I want to learn how to surf. If I could start a new career, I would be an architect- there’s still time!

Favorite place to eat:
I love great sushi! So, Shin Sei of course! And Ed’s Deli for family breakfast and Sunday “brunch.”

What’s on your bedside table?
Town & Country Magazine, Architectural Digest, Devil in the White City, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society & Gourmet Magazine.

What’s in your iPod/CD changer?
A variety of music from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s to present day. Nothing gets me to run faster than Donna Summer, Blues Traveler, Bon Jovi & Guns ‘n Roses. . . a blast from the past and it reminds me of my youth!

Who’s your hero?
I admire those who are compassionate and benevolent to others without wanting anything in return. And my younger brother and his wife who lost their twin babies, Jack & Madison, at birth.