So often I am talking on the phone, in a meeting or driving and I get the best ideas. I might be thinking and thinking about a problem, or a need I have and have this big epiphany about how to do it or the perfect fit for a need. Sometimes… if you are lucky enough to be in a meeting with me you will get the outburst of the idea. I always hope someone understands the idea and the logic… I also wish that my ideas came in an organized and orderly fashion and not all blurted out. I guess in life we get what we get and we don’t throw a fit, right? I tell myself often to just work with what you got Erin, the tools and the piles… who knows maybe sporadic ideas and spouting of said ideas is a tool… perspective is key right?
So… I have this great idea. I am often flooded with offers and ideas to help… with best day ever’s, events, families and hospital needs. I don’t even know how to find places and people to direct the amazing helpers. I try to find roles and needs for the ones who want to help, it is important to help and know your hands or work or donation will be a direct help to a family. SOOOO… when my idea is a way for many people to make an impact on families I jump on it. I had one of those A Ha moments recently…
I work often with Albany Medical Center, the Pediatric Cancer side and the Palliative Care side. My heart connects to the Palliative Care side very deeply. In the only hours we spent at Albany Med with Madeline I learned less about cancer and more about The Journeys Program, a palliative care program to take care of children and families with the reality of terminal illness and shorter time here. A few months ago Laurel and I were working to meet up with the team at Albany Med and use our resources to help those families when the hard times and new realities hit. We talked about having ‘hope bags’… like welcome bags but not really welcome, you know? Things they will need for the long haul at the hospital, gift cards, snacks, toiletries and beyond. I had been talking to the social worker about a support group she was looking to set up, for the parents faced with this new normal. I have thought about this for a long time, what a support it would be. It would be a place for connections and advice and experience and just a little bit of away from the walls of the rooms. She was hoping we could help with feeding parents at this group and maybe be a resource for them as well. It made me really excited and glad that this would happen… and then the big idea started spouting out of my brain and not making too much sense to those lucky enough to hear in those moments. You are lucky- writing is easier for me to do compose the thought and idea.
I thought… about what has helped me in this. I immediately thought of some of the books I have read along the way, the really powerful ones that helped me see and know and keep chuggin’. I thought what if I could share the books that helped me with those parents who were sitting in those chairs with their very sick children and hard lives. I know those books that I have loved would be a powerful message in a parent who needs supports hands. Then- BOOM… my big idea… what for it… what if I asked many people to do this? What if we collected books, important and powerful books that have helped and changed you and others… that have left a positive mark on your life? What if you could send a book that changed your world with a note to a parent you have never met, maybe a link to a blog or prayer… and a message of hope for them in their hard times? What if the book that helped you helps them too?
I am on this, I am asking my Herd and Polka Dot Tree Climbers to send a book or two, if you have more that helped build you. I am giving you an easy way, from miles away to support another and help build them stronger in this journey. I know which books I will contribute, my favorite builders. I would love to see what has helped build you and strengthen you. I am going to collect these books and notes, these ‘hopebuilders’… I am going to put them out and share them, so these words you send and notes you write will be there for the ones who need it. I know it will be a wonderful way too help from afar and make an impact on a parent in a crazy hectic and hard world…. A way to show them you are there for this journey too.
I would love to see many different inspiring and ‘hopebuilding’ books with words of love and encouragement and prayer inside. I know, in me, that this is a way to help in the moments of need and heavy without the need for big organizing and boundaries of the hospital and germs.
Send books, think about the best ones. Send books with handwritten notes and quotes and verses… fill them with love and support. Help build up a ‘hope’ library for those amazing parents working the hard job of supporting and living and choosing and surviving and getting their kiddos to the best place they can. Let’s do this, and fill that ‘hope’ library up!
So… if you want to send a book or two… mail to:
Maddie’s Mark Foundation PO Box 203 Guilderland, NY 12084
These are my life changers, my ‘hopebuilders’…