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Celebrating International Women’s Day with Three Special Moms

March 8, 2019

When I was asked to be part of Gibson’s International Women’s Day Collection, each blogger was asked to choose an organization to support. I chose for my donation to go to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). As a mom of four boys, I can’t fathom what it would be like to have child that needed serious, live-saving medical care. We are so fortunate to have one of the best hospitals for children in our city, and last week we had the pleasure of spending the day with three moms who have or have had children who were patients at CHOP. These women and their families have been through so much and their strength is truly incredible.

We created a video to recap our day and each of these women shared their child’s story below. In honor of International Women’s Day, I wanted to recognize these women by inviting them to be a part of this collection and everything it stands for.

I also wanted to take a moment to acknowledge our cause. On behalf of Lindley, Mara, Jen and their children, we would like to help raise money for patient care at CHOP, a hospital that supports kids across the country. We’ve created a fundraising page with a goal of $2,500 – the Motherchic team will match donations up to $2,500, for a total contribution of $5,000 to the hospital, in addition to $500 donated by Gibson. All of this said, I know that charitable giving is highly personal to everyone. I’ve never done anything like this before, but hearing these stories inspired me to take it public to simply highlight the cause and ask for your consideration in supporting the same! 

Video and Photography by Alison Cornell

*Make a donation to CHOP here*

Mara’s Story….

“Our daughter, Annie, would not be here today without the amazing team of doctors, nurses, and staff at CHOP. Annie got a virus shortly after turning 8 and was admitted to CHOP weak and jaundice. Three days later she was in complete liver failure and suffering from encephalopathy. We were told she most likely would not make it through the night and no donor match was available. We asked if I could donate and, after a whirlwind workup, Annie received 20% of my liver and a second chance at life.

She underwent numerous post transplant complications, including Severe Aplastic Anemia (SAA), or bone marrow failure. With no sibling bone marrow match, she underwent hATG therapy for her SAA. Annie endured months of weekly red blood cell and platelet transfusions, 3 bone marrow biopsies, biliary drains and chest tube placements, PICC lines, and 2 episodes of liver rejection.

CHOP managed her medical journey every step of the way with professionalism and compassion. Her bone marrow slowly recovered, and following a second major surgery, her liver finally settled in. She will be 5 years post transplant on March 4th. She is doing amazingly – playing sports and enjoying school. Annie will be on anti rejection medicine for the rest of her life. The team at CHOP called her a miracle, and we are just so thankful and blessed for each and every person at CHOP who helped Annie to fight and to believe.”

Mara is wearing the Lindsey top from the International Women’s Day Collection.

Jen’s Story…..

“On December 20, 2018, my 8 year old son was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.  We are incredibly lucky to live in the Philadelphia area and have access to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  Everyone from the doctors and nurses to the child care specialists and social workers are amazing.

My son is currently in remission and we are forever grateful to everyone at CHOP.  His treatment plan is ongoing but with the incredible team we work with and the bravery he’s shown these last few months, we know that he will continue to get stronger and beat leukemia! “

Jen is wearing the Erin cross front blouse from the International Women’s Day Collection.

Lindley’s Story….

“My 5 year-old daughter, Lucy, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes a few weeks before Kindergarten this past August. I will be forever grateful to our local CHOP doctor’s office who caught the diagnosis in the rather early stages of development. I initially brought her in for swimmer’s ear, but upon hearing her symptoms, they took a closer look at her.

Their thorough examination and care, confirmed their diagnosis and off we went to CHOP for a half week’s stay. While we were there, my husband and I spent hours in classes each day to learn all about Type 1 diabetes and how to care for her at home. We learned how to check blood sugar, dose insulin, give shots, how to help her live a normal 5 year old’s life, and a myriad of other thing that involve some complex medical jargon:) They did a wonderful job; but for a parent, our new life felt incredibly overwhelming.

While we were in class, our daughter was lovingly tended to by a Child Life Specialist that helped her understand Type 1 diabetes on her own terms. She was given stuffed animals, books, art supplies and all sorts of treasures to help her come to grips with her new reality and be brave with her new life of pokes and pricks. I will sing the praises of CHOP as long as I live. They saved my daughter’s life and helped launch us into our new reality as best prepared as we could be.

Type 1 Diabetes is not very well known or understood, but it’s a 24/7 life-long disease that our family will battle together. We have incredible support from CHOP through a special “first year” program they set up for Type 1 Diabetes families, where every few weeks we spend half a day meeting with our great support team. We have a diabetes educator (shout out to Meredith! we LOVE you!) that helps us anytime we questions about anything–anything! A doctor, nurse practitioner, dietician, social worker and I’d imagine pretty much anything else we need (except for what to wear to our appointments….that’s where The Motherchic’s got me covered!)

After this year, we graduate to their outpatient upkeep program where we’ll stay until she ages out. That will be such a sad day-I can’t even let myself “go there” in my mind. I will just be grateful-so so grateful that CHOP caught us when we needed it and has walked well with us every step of the way.”

Lindley is wearing the Mindy Top from the International Women’s Day Collection.

I’ve re-read each of their stories many, many times and each time I can’t make it through without several tissues. My mom used to always say that when your child is sad, or hurt, or sick, you feel it a million times worse – and when the problem is something you can’t fix on your own, I really can’t even imagine. I went home that night feeling such a sense of relief for these moms because they had answers and treatments that worked. These women have been through so much in such a short period of time and it was an honor to spend time with them and give them time to connect with each other and a much needed pampering session.

Although Gibson and myself have donated to CHOP, I encourage you to donate as well if you wish.

Lastly, I would like to thank Mara, Jen and Lindley for spending time with us and sharing your stories. Each of you have insurmountable strength and are truly inspiring.

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