Our au pair Isabel had to return to Germany two days after Evelyn was diagnosed. Lena, a young woman I’d never actually met, was supposed to come. I’d hired her months before. I wrote her an e-mail from the hospital and explained that we wouldn’t be a fun host family, that everything had changed. She should find another family for her year abroad. She wrote back within hours. She was a twin. Her mother died of leukemia. She was coming. God bless you, Lena. You are forever a part of our story.
Evelyn had 20 transfusions (blood and plasma). Mike and I have vowed to replace what she used by habitual donations to the Red Cross. Mike is ahead of me. I just got to #8.
We joke that she is multi-ethnic and ageless. The blood of men and women who only have generosity in common, has flowed through her veins. It is all a miracle.
Isabel returned the next year to stay with us. She needed to make sure that we were all okay.
BelieveinTomorrow.org — A respite and housing program. This organization owns several properties and they let families of critically ill children come and stay for a week. We stayed in Ocean City and had a vacation from the realities of a compromised immune system, chemotherapy, and one half of our family at the hospital and the other half an hour away.
CaseyCaresFoundation — a program to provide families with the opportunity to share special memories. They gave us tickets to Disney on Ice, Port Discovery, a College Park football game, and the Maryland Science Center. The best part is that they seemed to always know just when something was going wrong in Evie’s treatment and we needed some encouragement.
Mid-Atlantic Make-A-Wish Foundation — We were picked up in a limousine and went to Disney World and Universal Studios for a week. Evelyn was treated like a princess. This organization truly make her wish come true. They could not have been more organized or more generous. Overwhelming.
Give Kids the World Village — This village is modeled after Candy Land and is only available to children with a life-threatening disease. We stayed here while we were in Florida. They have a special castle where each child can write his or her name on a star and is placed on the ceiling forever. They also had ice cream for breakfast!
Crops of luv — a group of volunteers who will take your Wish photos and put them into a scrapbook to hold your memories.
American Red Cross — blood drives to collect blood and plasma
Flashes of Hope — talented photographers come to hospitals and take black and white photos of each child and their family to help you remember the moment