Saturday, April 13, 2013

Oh, Mr. Postman....

We've had a lot of support since Eli was diagnosed in January of 2011.  It's been pretty amazing.  We always knew we had great family & friends, but to see it in action is very humbling.  The decision to start fundraising for Eli was a tough decision for us.  We work for what we have.  We know others do too, especially in this economy.  We know that our children are not the responsibility of others.  However, we finally decided that only those who wanted to help would do so.  If they didn't want to, no pressure and no hard feelings.  The response has been incredible.  

Here's a few examples of the support we've recently received:

--The shirt sales for Eli's MVPs raised more than we ever imagined.  My most recent count was 183 tshirts and 59 hoodies for Eli's MVPs.   We wanted to make sure Zachary felt included in this, especially since he's never once complained that Eli had shirts and Z didn't.  So we had a shirt designed for him and sold them to family & friends at cost so Zachary could have a visual reminder that he's just as cool and important as Eli.  We sold more than 30 "Zachary's Fan Club" shirts.

--In addition to shirt sales, we had a lot of donations.  We often had people pay for more shirts than they ordered and told us to keep it for Eli's fund.  Some didn't even order, they just gave money.  Thank you doesn't seem sufficient.

--Bryan's work held a benefit luncheon for us this week.  A committee passed out fliers to advertise within their district and when the day came there was a wonderful spread of hot dogs, coney sauce, chips, desserts, and drinks.  They also had a dessert auction.  People were asked to make a $5 donation for the meal.  I don't know how many people showed up, but it was a lot!  Many were wearing Eli's MVPs shirts which was awesome to see!  Other districts have heard Eli's story through their office communications.  From his story being shared across the state, we've gotten more shirt orders, donations, and messages of encouragement.

--After the story about Eli ran in our local newspaper (click here to read the article), we had a phone call.  It was from a woman who read the story and was touched by what she read.  She said that she was praying for all of us and would add Eli to her church's prayer list.  Just the fact that this stranger took a moment to reach out to us was very sweet. 

--The Facebook page has grown tremendously!  One day last week I challenged people to share Eli's page on their personal pages to gain more "likes."  The challenge was to get 21 more "likes" to put us at 200 total before his surgery (at the time it was 13 days away).  In about four hours' time we were well over 200.  As of now we're up to 271, almost 100 more than when I initially issued the challenge.  I don't know everyone on the page anymore and I'm okay with that.  One of our goals with starting the page and making it public was to increase the general public's knowledge of CHD.  We're getting there!  If you're on FB and haven't liked his page yet, do so by clicking here.

Please know that we are so thankful for anything and everything you've done for us.  I'm running out of ways to express our gratitude.  From the bottoms of our hearts, thank you for the prayers, orders, donations, meals, hugs, encouraging words, and anything I may have forgotten to list.  Even with all that, we still have people asking  "what can I do" and "call me if you need something, anything!"

We've gotten those comments all along, but especially these last few weeks.  Most of the time our answer is to pray.  In recent posts we've also asked that people consider organ donation and make their wishes known to family & friends.  We also ask that you donate blood whenever possible.  Some readers have contacted us and told us that because of inspiration from Eli, they have signed up to be an organ donor and/or donated blood.  Those comments have been so rewarding!  To those of you who have done either or both, THANK YOU!

Here's something else we've decided would help us out and ANYONE can do this:   Send mail.  Send a card, a letter, a postcard, whatever works for you.  Throughout all of his surgeries and hospitalizations, we haven't received much mail and no hospital deliveries.  Please don't think I'm complaining.  Eli was too young before, but now he's old enough to get some enjoyment from something like that.  In this age, most of our communication is via phone & internet.  I've tried to save most of the electronic comments and well-wishes from people, but it's just not quite as special as holding a card in front of you from a loved one.  Eli will have lots of time in a hospital bed and we're stocking up on things to occupy his interests.  Getting mail to open and look at will help keep him busy.  It will help Zachary feel more included as we endure another separation from our firstborn who is just as special to us with his whole heart as our half a heart child is.  You don't have to get some fancy card that costs $4.  They're kids who are pretty easy to please.  They'll love a picture drawn on a piece of paper, a note written beside a funny picture from a magazine, a short message about how your day is going and what you're doing.  It will also help keep me & Bryan in touch with the world outside Peyton Manning Children's Hospital.  It's unbelievable how easy it is to forget the outside world while there.  In some ways that's nice to shut off the bad things in the world, but we miss a lot of the good too. 

If you have our home address, you're welcome to send it here.  If you want it, message me and I'll send it to you.  I'm not posting it here because I don't want it out floating in cyber space.  Or you can send it to:

Zachary Veale or Eli Veale
201 East Main Street
Suite 401
Washington, IN  47501

That's a local business who will gather any mail received for the boys and bring it to us while we're at the hospital.  After Eli's admitted I will post the hospital address, but it doesn't do any good until we have a room number for him (which we won't have until after surgery).

Thank you to anyone who is willing to help with this project.  It will excite the boys so much to receive a bunch of mail!

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