In November 2009, my husband and I found out that our 8-month-old daughter Amelia, affectionately nicknamed “Baby Love,” had a brain tumor the size of a golf ball. She was immediately admitted to the hospital, underwent back-to-back surgeries, and began the long road to rehabilitation.
We were in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Primary Children’s Hospital (PCH) in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thanksgiving Day of that year, and a sweet family provided a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner for all of the doctors, nurses, and parents of children in the PICU. I sat in the corner and cried into my mashed potatoes as I listened to this family tell stories of the many days they had spent there over the years. They had adopted four special needs children over the years, two of whom passed away, and all of whom required extended treatment at PCH.
One year later, with a healthy and happy baby girl, we remembered this family and how inspiring they were to us. We decided that we, too, wanted to give back and serve those who are going through medical challenges. We wanted to transform the anniversary of our awful news into an anniversary of the special miracle and healing we experienced with our Baby Love. We started by making a few blankets and dropping them off at PCH.
The next year, a family moved into our neighborhood. As we got to know them, we found out that they were the ones who made Thanksgiving dinner for us that first year at the hospital! They do this every year as a way to remember their children, to say thank you to the doctors and staff at the hospital, and to encourage other families with children who are currently being treated.
With their inspiration and help, our small family service projects turned into neighborhood projects. We organized gatherings to quilt blankets, make toy packets, and gather donations for the hospital. As word started to travel, others contacted us to see what they could do to help. We learned that there are always amazing people ready and willing to help, so we decided it was time to start the Baby Love Foundation!
We continue to provide support to both the children who are undergoing medical treatment as well as the facilities who care for them, like PCH. We will do this by participating in Festival of Trees, donating specialized bedding and pillows for overnight hospital stays, books, toys, crafts, art projects, other forms of entertainment, and anything else the facilities tell us they need. At some point in the future, we would love to expand our efforts to other medical facilities in need.
The Baby Love Foundation is a labor of love. Our mission is to help children heal by supporting them and the pediatric units and hospitals that care for them. We hope you’ll join us!
Amelia is now 14 years old, and you would never know anything happened other than the fact that she is as tough as nails! She is a competition gymnast, plays the flute, and enjoys school and other activities.
We recognize that not all stories turn out like ours did. It is for this very reason we continue to server and love those who are going through hard times. Some people need to know that miracles are possible while others need to feel loved and supported as they go through the unimaginable.