Remember less than a month ago, when I shared with you the 30 Random Acts of Kindness that our family had done over the last year? Well, I ended that post with # 30 which read: ” Number 30 is a surprise and I will fill you in on it very soon! We are planning something big that is so near and dear to our hearts and I cannot wait to share it with you after it is all said and done! It involves a campaign that we started to help kids who have been faced with heart related illnesses.” Well… here it is friends- time to share! Our 30th RAOK is in its final stages and we couldn’t be more proud of what we are calling the Comfort For Kids Campaign.
I’m sure you have noticed a serious lack of updates from me over the last few weeks. Totally unlike me, and yes, it bothered me, but… I think I have a pretty great excuse for you. Our final random act of Kindness has been quite a project and has consumed a lot of our free time lately. It all started with our Random Acts of Kindness that we started last year. You can read all about them if you missed it in my post called 30 Random Acts Of Kindness To Do With Your Kids. As mentioned in that post, it has been one of the neatest experiences for our family and I highly recommend taking it upon yourself to do some random acts of kindness – you will not be disappointed that you did! Upon completing our 29th RAOK I felt like we needed to something on a little larger scale for the 30th act of kindness.
Oddly enough the last RAOK fell, time-wise, very close to my 30th birthday (insert daunting music here). I was not terribly excited to be turning 30, for no good reason at all. I realize how blessed and lucky I am to be turning 30, to have a lovely family, and wonderful friends and family to attribute to those 30 beautiful years. But… something about the big 3 – 0 made me feel like those fancy free childhood memories were just a little too far in the past. Maybe it was the thought of officially being to old to for excuses, or looking ahead at the many responsibilities that lie ahead of me over the next decade. I’m pretty sure it has more to do with the bags under my eyes that are there to stay, and the fact that I can just look at a cupcake and gain 10 pounds – stupid reasons to dread a birthday! But, none the less I wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of my age starting with a 3 instead of a 2! My husband asked me what I wanted to do for my big birthday and I was refusing any suggestions. The thought of a huge party to celebrate getting older made me cringe, a trip without the kids was not on my list of things to do, and even a quiet dinner out seemed like too much for someone who really didn’t want to “celebrate” 30. So I did a little pondering about, not what I wanted, but what I could do to make a difference in the world.
Thus our 30th RAOK came to life. I realized that I really didn’t want to “celebrate” my 30th birthday at all, instead I wanted to invite my family and friends to come together and to be a part of our 30th Random Act Of Kindness! I talked with our immediate family and asked if they would like to help throw a different kind of celebration in place of a 30th birthday bash, and they were all on board with the idea.
As I have mentioned before our little boy was born with a congenital heart disease. The first 3 years of his life were very rocky and our family spent a great deal of time at the Children’s Hospital. We were constantly making the 1 1/2 hour drive back and forth for visits to the cardiologist on top of lengthy stays in the recovery and ICU units. After 2 procedures, and an open heart surgery for my son, we sadly felt like the hospital was “home”. Not a terribly wonderful place to call home – but we were getting the best care for our son that we could. Our son is now 6, and although everything he went through in was sad, disheartening, and tested all of strengths, it was also an eye opening experience for our family.
We feel amazingly blessed to have a healthy little boy and we also have a deep empathy for the many children who are struggling with a serious illness. We remember the dark dreary rooms that had nothing to appeal to our 16 month old little boy and the only things he had to brighten his hospital room were an adorable fleece tie blanket and brightly colored pillowcase. I decided that instead of a 30th birthday, our family would start a campaign to do something to help the children that were stuck in the hospital.
We created the Comfort For Kids Campaign as a way to collect donations for our cause. We made it our mission to make as many fleece tie blankets as we could to deliver to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Milwaukee.
We brainstormed with family about an event and got to work creating flyers, invitations and letters to send to family and friends telling them about our campaign. We went to our local preschool, daycare’s, and libraries and asked if we could put up flyers and leave baskets to collect fabric from the public. We worked with my son’s teacher and put together a blanket making activity for my sons kindergarten class. My son’s class made 8 blankets in one afternoon, and donated 3 more! What a great lesson for those kids and I was so proud to have 20 kindergarteners be a part of our Random Act Of Kindness and supporting a campaign for kids just like them.
The news spread, and slowly the donations, and offers to help came in. We began making blankets as the fabric got donated, and my parents spent rainy days trying to keep up with the donations by turning them into blankets.
Before the Comfort for kids event even came we had 36 blankets all tied and ready to find a new home at the Children’s Hospital. My family and friends reached out to their own communities and recruited all kinds if people of all ages helping to collect and tie blankets. I was absolutely blown away by the love and support that we got from complete strangers.
The day of the Comfort For Kids Campaign finally came and after much preparation, we were ready to welcome over 50 guests to our home to make the campaign a success. Our tables piled high with beautifully colored, adorably printed fleece fabric. They were a sight to behold! After only an hour or so at the event I noticed my family and friends diving right in. Not only did they bring fabric, donate, and spread the word, they also came to turn the donations into adorable blankets!
As I looked around our event I saw everyone from friends I have had since middle school to grandparents, aunts, uncles and my husbands cousins and their children all working together for a cause that meant so much to us. It was such an awesome feeling I can’t even tell you! To think that, not only were these people there for us when our son was sick, but here they were again ready and willing to do what is good, do something to make a difference in the lives of someones else.
It was a beautifully powerful day, and I am unbelievably proud of my family and friends for taking the time and making the effort to do something so wonderful for someone else. The sight of manly men having a beer and making a soft, fuzzy, pink blanket for a sick little girl, the sound of laughter and conversations over a table piled with finished blankets made me smile. Healthy happy kids running around playing, knowing that they were doing something to help other kids who aren’t as lucky, made my heart very full of appreciation.
The day came and went and we were able to create more blankets than I could even hoped for. My original goal was 30, then it moved to 50, then 75 as the donations came pouring in. I am so Happy to report that thanks to so many wonderful, generous people the Comfort for Kids Campaign was able to make over 100 blankets to donate to the children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Milwaukee and… we aren’t done yet! The thought of just one little boy or girl coming out of a heart surgery to the sight of a nurse with a brand new soft colorful blanket to wrap them in is amazing… but the thought of that happening for over 100 area children faced with an illness brings me to my knees!
It was a beautiful thing! The pile of blankets is sure to brighten the rooms of the Children that are staying in the hospital!
We will keep collecting and making blankets through the month, and in June we will spend the 5 year anniversary of our son’s open heart surgery delivering the beautiful blankets that our family, friends, and community have made! I will happily update you on our campaign, and can’t wait to share the delivery experience with you all! If you would like to follow the campaign on Facebook you can check it out and see updates as they happen! I beleive I can now say that our 30th RAOK was a huge success!
So…I am now 30 years old and I can honestly tell you that the day I had been dreading came and went without one ill thought. My heart was filled with love, appreciation, and joy that I had so many loved ones who were willing to help with a cause that means so much to my family. I was proud that they choose to take time from their busy lives and do something good for the world, and especially that they did it for a child that deserves nothing more than a smile and a little comfort during a difficult time! Thank you to all who came, helped, donated, cooked, cleaned, prepared, and gave a little piece of your own heart!
I guess 30 isn’t so bad after all!