Day 19: Project, something done in memory of your child
I'm not sure why I felt the need to start Ellie's Light. I guess I wanted a way to keep talking about Ellie, adding pictures to her photo album, adding to her story. I didn't want October 29th, 2010- the day of her burial to be the end of her story. I knew that Ellie's life was meant to be something special and I knew there had to be more than just those amazing nine months and ten days we had with her. I refused to let Ellie just fade into the background as the world moved on.
Ellie's Light has given me something positive to focus on, especially during hard times like birthdays, anniversaries and during holidays. It keeps my mind and hands busy. It allows me to speak freely of our beautiful girl and share her picture with anyone I can. Ellie's Light has played a huge part in my survival during the last two years. And I am so completely grateful for everyone that has in some way, big or little, helped us keep Ellie's memory alive. I know, without a doubt, that it makes Ellie very happy to see how her joy and love has continued on.
I've been meaning to do a little update on Ellie's Light and this has provided the perfect opportunity- so here we go...
"Yummy in the Tummy with Love, from Ellie" Cookbooks:
We collected favorite recipes from many people across the country and compiled a cookbook of over 200 recipes. I use the cookbook quite frequently and have found several new favorites! Our cookbook sales have reached over $6600 already! These funds helped us purchase all of the items for our memory pouches and other memory making items for the local bereavement program.
If you would like to purchase a cookbook ($20 +$2 shipping) go to www.ellieslight.com
Last year for Ellie's one year Angelversary, we did a stuffed animal drive. These animals are given to bereavement programs and are distributed to brothers and sisters after a child passes. We have been touched by the groups that collected stuffed animals for us and all of the buddies that were donated by so many different people. To date, we've collected 348 buddies. That's 348 children that will receive a stuffed animal to hug in their time of grief. So often siblings are overlooked during this time of great loss and I believe that more needs to be done to support them. In the next year, I plan on donated some buddies to local labor and delivery units to be given to siblings of stillborn babies.
Ellie's second Angelversary is in three days, and we are once again looking for new stuffed animals. If you are interested in donated a Buddy- please visit www.ellieslight.com
Toys for Tots:
During the holidays for the past two years, we have used Ellie's memorial money and fundraising proceeds to purchase toys for Toys for Tots. Our goal has been to not only support families during ciritical care hospitalizations and loss, but to simply spread joy. So once a year, we want to do something that is just about making kids happy. Ellie would be have been almost three years old at Christmas this year. She would have been all about the toys and soooo excited to see presents under the Christmas tree. Not all families are in the position to buy their kids toys for Christmas, and we want to help as many kids as possible feel that joy that a simple present brings during the holidays. To date, Ellie has given about $6000 worth of toys!
Ellie's Birthday Blankets:
The hospital is cold. Very cold. Parents are stressed. Kids are sick. Resting in a cold, loud and busy hospital is nearly impossible. We know this first hand. A warm blanket makes a world of difference. It brings comfort. It encourages rest, healing and decreases stress. A colorful blanket makes the sterile hospital room feel more comfortable and inviting. It distracts from all the equipment and tubes. So each year on Ellie's birthday, we make (and collect) big warm fuzzy fleece blankets. It gives us something positive to do on Ellie's birthday, and I know it makes it a difference for the people that receive them. So far, Ellie has given over 100 blankets to cold patients and families.
When Ellie died, we walked away from the hospital with very little to hold on to. Some crappy photo copies of her footprints, blurry pixalated pictures and some grief information, all stuffed into a PLASTIC bag. Looking back on it, it makes me irrate! It was so disrespectful of what we'd just been through and to the beautiful life that Ellie had lived. After the fog started to lift a little, I knew something had to be done. So last fall, we donated 100 memory bags/ pouches to the local bereavement program. These included a canvas personal belonging bag, cloth pouch to protect smaller keepsakes, a journal, photo album, a candle, a touchstone, matching bracelet set, and a small box to protect a lock of hair. Ellie's Light has also donated photo paper and ink, as well as hand print kits.
Light Up the Lanes:
On August 21st, we had our second Light Up the Lanes bowling fundraiser for Ellie's Light. I am so happy to report that we raised approx $9500 this year!! We cannot say thank you enough to all of our donors- our generous sponsors AND silent auction donors. We had over 100 silent auction items alone! There was a great turn out and the fun, beat up feel of the night was a perfect way to celebrate our Elle Belle! Here are some pictures taken by Bri at Brilicious Photography- check out our Facebook page for more pictures!