Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lizzie's Wish

The Matson family moved to Asheville a short time ago. Scott, the husband/dad is a dental surgeon and they came here for a four month rotation. Two months after they arrived they noticed that their youngest child (at the time) had large, unexplained bruises. After medical investigation they were informed that Lizzie has leukemia. A week later Ban, the wife/mother, was scheduled for c-section and they had their fifth child.

The night before the c-section I was unable to sleep. Elysse was not sleeping well so I laid awake. All I could think about was this family and their situation. Suddenly a thought came to me - cord blood. Via Cord has a program to collect cord blood for siblings of those who have life threatening illnesses at no charge. 11:30 at night the Matson's were contacted and told about this program. In less than six hours time everything was set and cord blood was collected and saved.
I became involved with the family a few weeks after the diagnosis. In talking with Ban I inquired how all of the children were doing with Lizzie's illness. I learned that the hardest thing for Lizzie is not being able to go to the store with her mom. They had a routine. They would do grocery shopping and then walk up and down the toy isle. Lizzie would not get anything on these trips - she just loved to look.
So an idea was born. I went to the O.P. Taylor Toy Store in Biltmore Park and talked to an employee, Jeannie (pictured right). I explained Lizzie's situation and the plan was put in motion. Katrina (pictured in the middle) is the manager of the toy store and she was so excited to make this happen. They were willing to let Lizzie and her family come into the store an hour before they opened so Lizzie could spend time in the store without other customers and without fear of infection. On top of opening early just for Lizzie they also gave the entire family a 25% discount!!

An email was sent out to the Asheville Ward, explaining the exciting opportunity Lizzie would have to have a private shopping hour at O.P. Taylor Toy Store. The Asheville Ward sponsored Lizzie's wish and collected a substantial amount of money for a shopping spree. The generous donations were enough to not only provide Lizzie with a gift card but each of her siblings also received one.
Lizzie carting around her items.

Ronan snoozing through the shopping trip.
Lizzie was more than happy to just play in the kitchen - shopping could wait.
The kids were overjoyed. They could not believe they were able to take part in Lizzie's wish.
Leo knew exactly what he wanted and had just enough to pay for it. He spent all of five minutes picking out what he wanted and the rest of the time toting his box around!
Griffin was very calculated and methodical. He looked for ways to maximize what he was able to purchase. He has exactly $0.01 left.
Ellis couldn't focus. She was so excited she didn't know where to start, where to go or what to look at next. Eventually she was able to fill her shopping basked with several girly items that she enjoyed.
Lizzy and Ellis as they looked around.
The kids with their gift cards before they entered the store.

This experience was so fulfilling. In the grand scheme of things this was a little more then an hour of time for a disease that will hang with and haunt this family forever. But will hopefully be remembered whenever they think of their time in Asheville. This experience provided Lizzie a chance to feel like a normal kid again. I am so grateful for everyone that made this possible.


Carrie said...

I just caught up on all your awesome posts I missed! And here are comments for all of them all wrapped up in one. :)
*You are so awesome. I am so proud to know you. I don't mean that in a cheesy way. I just feel proud to know such an amazing human being!!!! You made an amazing dream come true for that sweet family. I am sure you would have done it even if you didn't know from personal experience the hard times this family has gone through and will go through-just because you are awesome like that. You ROCK!

*Love the pictures of the fall colors (these aren't in order...)! I miss that and so many other things about Asheville.

*I love the sleeping babies pictures. Your babies aren't so little babies any more...Where does the time go?

*I love the conversation between Nathan and Audrey. I need to remember that too...Bad guys do have families! :) Too cute.

*I LOVE your family picture! You look so lovely (no surprise there!) and happy. I think the picture caught all of your personalities perfectly. You have a beautiful family. I keep putting off a family picture until I am not fat...I have the location all picked out and we are doing it next month even though I still am. :)

maureen6545@gmail.com said...

What a wonderful event for Lizzie and her family. I'm sure they will never forget or cease to appreciate this loving expression of care for their heartbreaking situation.

Rosie and Steve Beadle said...

Tonya you should be so proud of what you did for this family. They could never repay you for the joy you brought them. You will always be a special person to their family. You have such a big heart and know that feeling so I am sure it brought joy to you in so many ways.

tempppo said...

That is so wonderful for those kids and their parents. I am sure they will continue to feel the glow of that love for quite some time, even amidst the trials they are experiencing.

HatchFamily said...

That is awesome that you could do that for them. I'm sure they will remember that forever. You are awesome