Saturday, May 14, 2011

Reach Out to Rowan, Part 4, B&B Day 26, May 14

We are so blessed to know The Windham Family in real life.  They have been such a blessing to our family, in ways we never imagined.  Rowan is our real live superhero who God works through to send us so many messages about Chrissie.  I had never even heard of Rowan or his family until Carrie reached out to us at Methodist Children's Hospital this time last year, and now they are some of my most treasured friends.

Today's message is with regards to the Rowan Jameson Windham Foundation, as written by executive director, Carrie Windham, supermom to the valiant superhero Mr. Rowan Jameson Windham.  You'll see photos of these superheroes at work through their foundation.  They're such amazing folks!

Day 26 of Mission Boss Your Heart Memorial Blitz, Focus #4 (Final Focus): Reach Out to Rowan! View his mommy's blog HERE. View his foundation HERE.

Day 26 of Chrissie's 31-day battle, May 14, 2010:  Post 1, Post 2 (about "E" going to heaven, please pray for E's mom as she walks through the 1-year anniversary of losing her son), Post 3

To "Reach Out to Rowan", in memory of Chrissie, please click the blue ChipIn on the blog or at the top of this post.

Now, be blessed by the following inspirational story and photos, shared by Carrie Windham:

After several years of finding our way in the dark, trying to figure out how to coordinate care with multiple doctors, survive repeat long hospitalizations, and deal with insurance companies, all while struggling to keep Rowan healthy and alive, we realized that we could not be the only people going through this.  We started a foundation in Rowan's honor, The Rowan Jameson Windham Foundation, in the hopes of helping other children and families like ours, battling life long, chronic and/or terminal illnesses.  We hope to connect families so they can help each other through shared experiences, as well as using our foundation to make life even a little bit easier for those families and their children.

There are many resources out there to help families, but usually, finding someone else who has been there is the best resource of all.  We had lots of scary moments and near misses, and we made lots of mistakes, which we learned from of course.  But a lot of the time we discovered crucial information, that it sure would've been nice to know ahead of time.  As a friend of mine once put it (one who lost a child with a medical disability, at the age of 13), "You don't know what you need to know, until you need to know it."  And she's right, there is no handbook for raising a child with special medical needs.  I leaned on her for support while learning to care for Rowan's special medical needs, and learned more from her than any doctor...because she'd been there, done that already.  I would love to be able to help others in that same way.

Our foundation is just in it's infancy stages right now.  We have big plans for the future, but we have been able to help some children and families at Methodist Children's Hospital already, as well as blessing some of the nursing staff that care for these precious warriors every day.  This past Christmas Eve we took beautiful blankets from the Linus Project, and some warm fun Christmas socks and flavored chapsticks up to the hospital for children who were stuck there for the holidays (as Rowan had been in for so many holidays before).  We donated enough goodies for 60+ children there.  We also took homemade baked goods to the nursing staff in 4 different wings of the children's hospital where Rowan spends a lot of his time. We were so grateful to be out of the hospital ourselves at that moment (Rowan had just spent 3 weeks straight there again and had his 2nd brain surgery a month or so before), but fully understood how hard it can be to keep a child's spirits up during times like those, when they should be spent at home with family.  Below are some pictures of Rowan and friends, along with the Rowan Jameson Windham Foundation's Board of Directors, delivering the goodies to the hospital.

(Rowan, on the way home, wiped out from delivering all the Christmas goodies)

That day was one of the most precious gifts we could have had for Christmas, being able to give back to others in need, and to the staff that cares for our son so often.  It was more of a blessing to us, than to them I'm sure.  Now ironically, Rowan woke up that Christmas morning running another fever over 104 degrees.  He laid on the floor and wouldn't open his Christmas presents, so off to the hospital I rushed him again.  He was going into septic shock by the time I arrived at the hospital...again.  Here is a picture of our little angel, barely a day after he had played Santa to so many other kids, and now he was back in, seriously ill himself.

Thank God, Rowan recovered and started improving pretty quickly, but he did have to stay another week there in the hospital again, until New Year's Eve.  Here he is a few days after Christmas, surrounded by some late Christmas presents of his own, donated from others who had given to the hospital. 

The tables turned several times for us this Christmas.  Thankfully, we got through it all, the good and the bad.

I have mentioned to Lorraine before, that my motto has pretty much been: "Do what you can, when you can."  I think I should add to that though. "Do what you can, when you can, and accept what you need when you need it." We felt great joy in the giving, and much prefer to be on that side of things, but we are ever so grateful for the gifts we received as well, and appreciate those doing the giving:-) Thanks to everyone who has blessed our family, and thanks to those who allow us to bless them as well.  I firmly believe that it all comes full circle, and God is always glorified when we help others.

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