Friday, July 24, 2015

Nathan's Future, Your Kindness




 Bright, Funny, Thoughtful Nathan

You give ability.  You give mobility.  You give hope and a sense of achievement. Thanks seems not enough to say for what you give.

And yet, genuine and heartfelt thanks is just what Nathan and his family, and we, at The Red Thread Promise, want to express.


 
 Nathan and his Mom Talk with TRTP on a Hot Day in June

Your generous donations are going to put Nathan on a walking path, for the first time since November 2014.

It’s been a long, hard road for this young man, who was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma at age three. His treatment included chemotherapy, radiation, and two bone marrow (stem cell) transplants. While recovering from the second transplant, he developed a brain infection (toxoplasmosis) due to his weakened immune system.  Among the complications that arose was hemiparesis (weakness) on his right side.

Walking with the uneven gait that resulted from weakness eventually caused his right hip joint to become partially dislocated. Following surgery to correct this condition, Nathan spent eight weeks in a body cast, and several months in a wheelchair. 

Today he’s regaining strength, using a walker and even getting around on his own a little.


 

Nathan, Carefully Considering his Answer to "What do you like best about school?"
 
For the past two years, Nathan has been coming to McKenna Farms for physical therapy and is responding well.  Recently he started aquatic therapy and loves it! The next step of his treatment will be hippotherapy, as soon as his strength returns and the hardware in his hip, part of last November’s surgery, is removed. 

Your gifts ensure that Nathan’s muscles and supporting tissue and nerve fibers will continue to work together each week until he can leave his walker behind, and safely mount his hippotherapy horse.
Thank you for your generous hearts.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Harper-Lynn Talks Again!

Your help makes miracles happen. That’s what the families and therapists who work with the children you support through Jacob’s Fund’s tell us. Harper-Lynn is one of those children, and this is her story.


Harper-Lynn Easter Morning 2014
"She changed before my eyes!" says Tara.

We're standing outside the fence of the indoor arena at McKenna Farms, watching as Harper-Lynn, Tara's 2-1/2-year-old daughter, gives a command for her horse to stop and starts using the horse-shaped whistle her therapist, Rachel, has just handed her.

Harper-Lynn is smiling and talking with Rachel in the bumble-bee voice of a very young child. And Harper-Lynn is little—the smallest helmet is too big for her, so she's wearing a Queen Elsa Frozen hat under it.

Four months ago, Harper-Lynn began hippotherapy, after nearly a year of frightening, disheartening events. At eighteen months, her vocabulary included one hundred words and phrases. Then, suddenly, something happened. Within three months, her vocabulary dwindled until she could only say Momma and ball; she lost muscle tone and began falling down, and she began having aggression and sensory issues.  

As we watch her ride, it seems almost impossible that we’re talking about the same child.  She’s composed, sitting upright, carrying out the therapy tasks Rachel gives her.  


 At the Frog-Sorting Station on Jacob's Trail
When she began hippotherapy in November of 2014, Harper-Lynn still wasn’t talking or interacting with those around her, even after several months of therapy delivered in the standard indoor setting.

“But Spirit, her horse, wouldn’t move unless she gave commands: Stop! Go!” says Rachel.  

And so she gave the command, and took off, on her horse and in her speech.  

Now, Tara says, her favorite subject of conversation is Spirit. She’s always asking, “When can I ride Spirit again?”

Rachel reports that Harper-Lynn has made gains in language and communication, as well as social skills. “The horse is a big draw for her. Her strength and endurance have improved. During therapy, in order to reach the toys we use, she has to reach beyond midline, get the toy, then correct to midline. She’s doing this on the horse using her core muscles, not her arms.”


 In the indoor arena, Harper Lynn wears her Frozen 
hat under her helmet (even the smallest helmet is too big for her) 
but she solves the problem with great fashion sense.
“And,” she adds, “She has good carryover at home. Her mom continues to work with her.”

Tara’s summation of her daughter’s improvement is less clinical, but just as clear. “People who know us, people at our church, say the change is miraculous. They cry when they see what she is able to do now.”

As she says this, there are tears in her eyes, and mine, tears of joy. Hers for the little girl dismounting from her horse near where we stand. Mine for Jacob Noah Beachy, my grandson, who began hippotherapy here in 2006 and talked about his horse, too, and whose spirit lives on in the lives of little ones like Harper-Lynn through the scholarships we provide in his memory.

“I want more children to have this opportunity,” says Tara.  

So do we, Tara. So do our supporters.

It’s through the generosity of people like you that we are able to change the lives of children like Harper-Lynn. Thank you. 

~Glenna Fisher, Jacob's Fund Director

Thursday, March 19, 2015

JACOB’S FUND :: “You never think it’s going to be you…” The heartbreak of heart defects

Liam, post surgery
USA :: It was this little face on a friend’s Facebook page, pleading for medical assistance, that caught TRTP Vice President Sonya’s attention. She clicked on the picture to learn about Liam, an infant who will be fighting an up-hill battle his entire life due to a life-threatening congenital heart defect, Tetralogy of Fallot (TET).

Sadly, The Red Thread Promise is VERY familiar with Tetralogy of Fallot as it has touched our lives directly through the loss of both Jacob Noah Beachy and little Ping from China. The family’s story struck a chord with us, an instant connection, and we knew down to our core that we had an obligation to help.


Newborn Liam, before surgery
“I loved you before you were born.” ~ Maureen Hawkins

At mom Kara’s 20-week ultrasound, the couple were given devastating news that their unborn son had a rare and serious congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. This young couple’s life was soon consumed by bi-weekly echocardiagrams, visits with the cardiology team, surgical team and much more frequent OBGYN appointments.

To add insult to injury, three weeks before Kara’s maternity leave, her company unexpectedly chose to part ways with her as they appeared not so understanding of her family’s predicament and the time these appointments took from her job. Once again, Kara and Edward were devastated and terrified. The specter of certain and serious health problems their unborn son would suffer coupled with the suffocating onslaught of cumulative medical bills that could not be paid from their single income overwhelmed them. 
“My husband and I continue to lean on God and our faith, trusting things would work out while we try to hold it together emotionally...fearful of what lies ahead for our family and our youngest son.” ~ Kara

Mom and Dad and their newborn son
Not the birthday his parents expected.

When Liam arrived in September, a whirlwind of medical teams took over his care during his three weeks in the NICU - very expensive care and another blow to the family’s finances. October and November were spent establishing a routine for this precious, but fragile, infant. Then one night in early December Liam stopped breathing in his mother’s arms. Frantically, Kara prepared to perform CPR on the kitchen counter, her 7-year-old watching, while paramedics were en route. 


Dad getting ready to hand Liam over to the surgical team,
the scariest moment of this young couple's lives
That fateful night marked the beginning of a month-long stay at Texas Children's Hospital and an immediate open heart surgery. Several times the couple thought they might lose Liam; he had to be intubated, and faced  unknown respiratory issues. Birthdays, Christmas, and New Year's were spent in the hospital... all-the-while doing their best to attend to Liam’s 7-year-old big brother. The mountain of medical bills grew ever higher.

Thankfully, on January 10, 2015, Liam was released from the hospital after receiving a pacemaker. But his journey is far from over and definitely not an easy one. 

At just four months of age, Liam is a high risk for practically everything. Due to his compromised health, he is unable to be vaccinated so his family is virtually isolated from outsiders so as not to introduce any type of germ or virus to their home. Only a tiny core group of people are allowed around Liam and every precaution is being taken. 

Over the next year, Liam will face multiple monthly appointments with specialists to monitor his condition and plan for future treatment. Eventually, Liam will receive a pulmonary valve replacement and additional surgeries are anticipated throughout his life. 


Kara and Liam

How you can help.

You know us. We couldn’t just read about this child, talk to his mother at length, and walk away. We have committed to helping the family with current and future medical care for Liam. We also had some unexpected fun baby shopping (not a usual thing for us!) to provide items that Liam will need over the next year: cases of specialized formula, diapers and some fun things as well. 

Please help us support Liam’s journey to a healthier heart. Gifts in his name are fully tax deductible.

Checks can be sent to:
The Red Thread Promise
249 N. Belfield Ave, Havertown, PA 19083
Simply put the word “Liam” on the check’s memo line.

By credit card (click on PayPal button - no PayPal account necessary)
If you donate online, kindly send an email to kathy@redthreadpromise.org stating how you want your donation allocated.

Thank you for your continual support of children in need of medical intervention via The Red Thread Promise. Paying it forward.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

USA / CHINA :: A ramp for Laila

Laila at home
We love Laila Mei, a beautiful, feisty, four-year-old Chinese girl and her American forever family whose story we first shared with you last year when we funded the purchase of her first manual wheelchair! Leila Mei’s story of foster care, adoption, misdiagnosis followed by a heartbreaking diagnosis of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a progressive genetic neuromuscular disease, had us on an emotional roller coaster.

What we came away with, though, was HOPE for the future as we continue to love and support this family, watching Laila grow and prosper. You, The Red Thread Promise community, made Leila’s much-needed wheelchair a reality.

The road to independence

Now, as winter yields to spring, an organization in Laila’s family’s community has committed to provide skills, tools, and manpower to build a ramp/deck on the back of the family house for Laila to go in and out independently in her power chair!

Building will begin on March 28, 2015.

The ramp will provide Laila the freedom to safely enter and exit her home, play in her backyard, and enjoy the independence every child needs. Leila’s family is responsible for paying the costs of materials - $1000.

Recently however, due to the extensive time for appointments and advocacy that is required for Laila's care, Mom was forced to choose between her job and income or the complex needs of her family. Without her secondary income, saving the funds for the ramp is out of reach.

We need you

And that is why we bring this need to you, our supporters. Your contribution to Leila’s wheelchair ramp will make a huge difference in Leila’s quality of life. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to The Red Thread Promise and designate it for "Laila" to help build an accessible ramp for this special girl?

Donations can be made by check or PayPal.

Credit Card: Please go to our website and click on HELP, DONATE and the PAY PALYou do not need a PayPal account to donate. Designate: Laila

Checks can be mailed to:
The Red Thread Promise
249 N Belfield Ave
Havertown, PA 19083
Designate: Laila

Thank you Red Thread Promise community for your continued support.


Additional info about Laila

Laila (lower right) and family

Ramp Update

We are so pleased to announce that Laila's ramp is FULLY FUNDED! Thank you to those who generously contributed to meet this little one's needs. The Red Thread Promise and Laila's family are thrilled with the love that is continually shown to their family. Look for photos soon of her new ramp!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

HAITI :: FOOD UPDATE :: Everyone deserves to eat



We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: 
EVERYONE deserves to eat. 
Today and every day.
No exceptions.

Thanks to your generous support, we have raised over $6,000 to provide food for students at St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti! That means YOU have provided 8,000 meals to these sweet kids! What an accomplishment, thanks to your big hearts.

When we contacted St. Vincent’s Director Fr. Sadoni to tell him the good news he said:

WONDERFUL! The only thing we have now in our store is some bags of rice and beans. If we find this money, we can buy more rice and beans and other things like vegetables and meat to complete the meals for the children.
While our mission is to serve these children with medical care, we can not ignore their plight and need for nutritious food. They need—no, DESERVE—to be eat healthy food on a regular basis so they can get the best possible outcomes from surgeries and other medical care that we provide.

Until a permanent food source is set in place, The Red Thread will continue to raise funds for food to sustain the children. The cost for three meals is just $2.25 per child per day! Kindly allocate your donations with “SV food”.

THANK YOU for your generosity. 


~ Sonya Yencer, VP

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Kyle, Kyle, Ride and Smile


Kyle and Kaylie hand-in-hand at Hilltop Equestrian Center 

Life is different with Kyle. 

It’s a kind of different that many other families understand, though. And those are the families Jacob’s Fund serves. 

Kyle is one of “our kids;” he receives hippotherapy at Hilltop Equestrian Center in West Alexandria, Ohio. Kyle is 8-1/2, but his severe autism means he and his entire family are “stuck in toddlerhood.” He’s still nonverbal and, though a tall boy from two tall parents, he still needs his diapers changed. Unable to communicate, he often becomes frustrated.

Stressful? Yes. Challenging? Certainly. And to be honest, sometimes sad. But Kyle isn’t a burden, as his mom, Kelli explains. Her blog about life with Kyle is titled “Not Just Anyone” because Kyle is not just anyone, but an exceptional blessing.

Little sister, Kaylie, pushing Kyle in his stroller

Your support
So what has your support for this exceptional blessing meant over the last year and a half, and what does it mean as he continues hippotherapy at Hilltop Equestrian Center?

Well, we’re rooting for Kyle to become verbal, both for the delight of hearing him communicate and because it will greatly lower his frustration level. And since he’s been receiving hippotherapy, he’s begun to enjoy vocalization and he has started to refer to people and objects using the same vocalization each time. He’s also recently learned to wave “Bye.”

Hippotherapy reinforces Kyle’s learning at his new school for children with autism. Amy, his therapist, is excited about Kyle’s progress. “He’s made so much progress! Especially with sequencing and attention to task. Now we’re working on letter identification.”

Kyle and Dad

Kyle is delighted by his favorite videos, riding under bridges and through tunnels, eating pizza, laughing and screaming as his family makes calls on him with the referee penalty flag he got for Christmas. He enjoys his special needs Sunday School class (and the elevator ride he takes to get there). And he delights in giving hugs and affection, sitting on Mom and Dad’s laps. When Daddy tickles him and “wrestles” with him, his laughter delights his family as well.

And he’s a speed demon, always wanting his horse to go faster. Amy, his therapist, has had to change his horse because he needed more horsepower. 

Kyle’s progress is exciting. His continued hippotherapy is an essential part of his ability to make gains with verbal, mental, and musculoskeletal skills.

Your support helps Kyle move forward, be it with the great speed that Kyle loves to ride or in smaller increments. You play an important role as you continue to support Kyle and all our Jacob’s Fund kids.

We’d love to hear your ideas on how we can work together to reach more people like you, who support children with disabilities through hippotherapy and therapeutic riding. Just click on Post a Comment and give us your ideas.


Monday, January 19, 2015

HAITI :: Not just one, but TWO!

Stephanie and Wes
Drumroll please... 

Guess which adorable toddler is FULLY FUNDED for BOTH of her club foot surgeries with Dr. Bheki (West TN Haiti Partnership)? 

Oh yes, that would be sweet little Wes

Thankfully, Wes and mother Nadine are now in a more 'permanent' home after moving around from place to place. We are praying for this same, stable environment to continue during and following both of her surgeries, to help maintain the pair's physical comfort and emotional support during this time of change.

From Stephanie, on the ground in Haiti (CPR-3): 
Wes is defined by joy every time I see her lately. She has reverted to the happy self she was when I first met her over 6 months ago. Wes loves saying 'dadada', occasionally 'mama', and a 'bah' sound when she comes over to kiss you. Her emotions are finely in tune with her mother's; her joy is an indicator that Nadine is also doing well. We are all encouraged by the investment of time, talent and prayers being poured into and over them!  
I'm always on the edge of my seat as I observe her unbalanced walk. Each step is a near fall as she does her best to move around. I just love her perseverance and know that this strong personality will endure these surgeries and rehabilitation! 
We are prayerfully looking forward to surgery number one and watching God's plan emerge for her.
Donations are still being accepted in Wes's honor. Although she is fully funded, there are SO many children just like her that are still in need of surgery. Your continued support, in Wes's name is deeply appreciated by those who will receive treatment due to your generosity.

Donations can be made by credit card (via our PayPal link - you do NOT have to have a PayPal account! Click the "continue" link beside the credit card icons) OR by sending a check to:
The Red Thread Promise
249 N Belfield Ave
Havertown, PA 19083
Please specify WES in the subject line. If there is no subject line, send an email to kathy@redthreadpromise.org and denote your gift. THANK YOU!


Read more about Wes: