Sunday, May 18, 2008

Paying it Forward

Saturday I had the opportunity to travel to OKC to visit Manning and his family at the PICU in the Children's Hospital. Not long ago, 9-month old Manning was admitted to the PICU due to complications from a heart cath that was to determine the date of his second open-heart surgery, the Glenn. During the procedure an artery was punctured which led to a series of complications (for more information click on the "Manning" link on the side bar). It is also important to know that Manning's grandfather passed away the day before this began. For nearly 7 weeks, Manning's Mom and family have been rotating shifts at the hospital to ensure there is always a loved one at his side. Manning's parents live more than 2 hours from the hospital, and since Mom drives 45 minutes a day to work it is almost impossible for her to be with him daily. The insurance that is paying for Manning's care is provided by Mom's employment, so there are few options. Susan (MLH of Tulsa Coordinator) and I brought gas cards, cash for tolls, snacks, restaurant gifts cards, a soothing cd, and toys for Manning and big brother ... all donated by friends and members of Mended Little Hearts.
Manning's Mom was overwhelmed and worried she couldn't thank us enough. We both understood how she felt and told her the same thing everyone told me last year ... everyone knows we are in need and no thanks is necessary. I realized our experience with Claira last year has almost come full circle. I am now in a position to give back the support we received last year by supporting other families who are now struggling.
After our visit we met Brayden and his family. Brayden was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and had his first surgery at 5 days of age. He, however, has many other struggles with his new little body (for more information click on the "Brayden" link on the side bar). Brayden is blessed to have 2 very attentive and intelligent parents who are facing this challenge with a positive attitude.
I know both families would appreciate continued prayers on Manning and Brayden's behalf. These "heart babies" are very brave, and I believe they have much to teach us.

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Thank you David and Gina Brim for helping to express our gratitude for an amazing show of compassion and generosity.