A few weeks ago I had an idea. I wanted to help my son. I wanted to make him feel more empowered, to help him know that he can set big goals and that he can do hard things. So as a family we decided to hold a garage sale/ bake sale fundraiser to help Connor raise the money he needs to get an insulin pump. We started the planning process, picked the dates, and started our journey. I had realistic expectations. Honestly how much can you make at a garage sale? The amount we needed seemed so big. But, we felt it was better to be proactive. To try and do something and not just sit and wait for something to happen. And what has occurred since we started has been nothing short of miraculous.
The first week we made between $400 and $500. This was more than I thought we would ever receive total let alone in the first week. Not only were we blessed that so many people were willing to help but I started noticing something begin to change in our home. Connor still has his bad days. Days were the depression seems to get the better of him, but as we would talk about the things that were starting to happen with the fundraiser something started to change in him. He had something to look forward to again. He gets excited when he comes home everyday and asks, "So how did we do today mom?" When I inform him of our progress he just smiles, gives me a hi-five, and says, "I can't believe that so many people want to help me."
At the beginning of last week I met my mom at a half way point between our houses to deliver all the cinnamon rolls I had just finished making. It was a marathon event. 168 cinnamon rolls made in 2 days. We sat in the parking lot and talked for a while about how amazing this experience has been. How much it has touched each of our lives. This process has been more emotional than I thought it would be. Every time someone would give so freely and so willingly whether it was money, or buying some of our bake sale items, or donating things for us to sell at our garage sale I would be overcome with emotion. My heart would be so full and in such disbelief that people would be so generous. As we were getting in our separate vehicles to return to our homes my phone went off. I had just received an email. I quickly started to read the words CONGRATULATIONS and your son Connor and $1000. I jumped out of my car and stopped my mom. As I tried to compose myself I read the email out loud. It was an email from a representative from The Prayer Child Foundation. They are a charity that was formed by Gold Canyon Candles to help children in need. A wonderful lady in my parents ward had contacted my mom about PCF and told her that I should apply. That Connor met the criteria for children that they help. We got our letter submitted a few days earlier and this email was what we had been waiting for. It said that our request had been considered at a recent meeting and that our son Connor had been approved for $1000 donation from The Prayer Child Foundation to be put toward purchasing Connor's insulin pump. I could hardly get the words out through the tears streaming down my face. We hugged each other and said our goodbyes. I sobbed the whole way home. Once I reached my house I gathered my family together. Brent read the email out loud for the children to hear. I was still so overcome with emotion. As Brent read the words Connor looked at me and started to cry. Once again I held my son on my lap, tears running down each of our faces, just like I had done a few weeks before. Only this time we cried for joy. In a weeks time we had already raised half of our goal.
We had already raised more than I had ever dreamed possible but we still had a long way to go. In the last week people continue to show their generosity. Our front room is filled with items donated with love for us to sell. My parents garage is also half full. People are still buying our bake sale items and making donations to help my son. I don't know if I have any tears left to cry but they always seem to come. I am astounded at the kindness of others. Strangers who don't know me, who don't know my son but feel compelled to help.
This whole experience has been so healing. It took me a long time to realize that I was in mourning. I still have my child and he is still for the most part healthy and happy. However, life has completely changed for our family. Things aren't so simple. Everything is meticulously calculated and planned out. I didn't realize how simple things had been before. We had been stuck in survival mode just trying to adjust to the new day to day tasks that I never actually took the time to think about how much this all, for the lack of a better word, SUCKS. I was mourning for the loss of the carefree life of my son. I was mourning the fact that my child was now faced with more grown up things, that he has been faced with his mortality, that he now sees a therapist, the fact that he has more doctors than the rest of us combined. Life seemed difficult before but I now long for the simplicity of being able to say, "Just grab something to eat," to my hungry child. Our life these last few months has been defined as before and after. Now we are slowly being able to say once again, here and now.
In the last 2 weeks we have raised over $2000 and it's growing more everyday. I know we have not come this far on our own. I know the Lord's hand has guided us every step of the way. I was reminded of this the other night as we were having family prayer before bed. It was Connor's turn. As he went through the normal, thank you for this day, thank you for our family, etc. I was overwhelmed when I heard my sweet son say, "Please bless those that have helped us with my fundraiser. Please help them to know how thankful we are for them." And I am, SO thankful for them. I will never be able to fully express the gratitude I have for the many people who have so greatly blessed our family.
These last few weeks I have been taught so much. My family has been strengthened and brought closer together. The tender wounds we all bear have begun to heal. I have been reminded of the power of prayer. I have learned to have faith in what the Lord can do. And, to dream bigger. I have learned that even though it is hard to ask for help that people are kind and more generous than I thought possible. That in order to bear our own burdens we must sometimes lighten the load for someone else. I have always believed in miracles. But, I now can say I've have been witness to one. That we have come so close to reaching our goal in such a short amount of time and how it has impacted our lives forever truly has been miraculous and it makes my soul want to cry out, "My God how great Thou art."