It’s time to meet another member of the board and this time it’s family. Throughout my life and especially throughout Charlotte’s my family was incredibly supportive and present, as was Ryan’s. We could not be more grateful.
I have three brothers: Tim, Josh and Daniel. I fall in line right after Tim. Though he is the oldest we joke in our family that really I’m the oldest, I was just born second. When we were young we did not always get along…imagine that. I’m sure in part that was due to him not taking kindly to his younger sister bossing him around. Now, however, he has willing agreed to work with me on the board for the foundation so I get to keep doing it 😉 Truly, we all get along great and it’s incredibly helpful to have him on the board to help raise awareness and money for children with congenital heart defects….meet Tim.
I’m one of Charlie-girl’s uncles. I never got to hold her. I visited several times during her brief stay, but each trip coincided with a major surgery or sudden scare. The same plastic tendrils of modern medicine which kept her alive, also kept her rooted to the hospital bed. I found ways to say hello, by brushing her rosy cheeks with a finger, or tickling her toes. Her smile, though often troubled by tubes, was radiant. Despite the restrictions, and the brevity of her sojourn, she was a light, and continues to be, in our family, with our friends, and in the community. Charlotte and her family were surrounded from day one by prayerful support from friends, strangers, and medical staff. The outpouring of love and encouragement was tidal and powerful. When Charlotte fought back from a fever, infection, or difficult surgery, so many braced and fought alongside her. When she suffered, so many shared in her pain. The burden of finance, the burden of a mind filled with medical jargon, a mind constantly alert and fearful, the burden of living day in and day out in a hospital; all of these were an incalculable weight on Kelly and Ryan, but all of these were at times alleviated by the unwavering support of those touched by Charlie-girl’s light. I joined the Charlie-girl Foundation, because I love Charlotte, and I love my sister, but I joined as well, because I saw the tremendous impact her life had, and I saw how powerful and beautiful a community of support can be in times of catastrophic need. I want to be a part of that kind of heart community again and again. Supporting a family through the Charlie-girl Foundation is a wonderful place to start. I said goodbye to Charlotte, in the same way I used to say hello: by touching her foot. Her funeral was a wild melding of heartache and joy. I had to say goodbye too soon, but I felt the joy of seeing all of the faces of those who surrounded her along the way, and I felt the joy of knowing that I would see her again, and finally hold her. Her story wasn’t finished, her light hasn’t dimmed, and now through Charlie-girl Foundation, many more will feel its glow.
- Don’t forget to check out Common Grounds Coffee, in Columbia Heights this Saturday for Bingo 1:00 – 2:30