Today I share a story of our most recent tee shirt model, my friend and one of the beautiful bride's that I worked with last year, Ashley. Here is here story:
" In June of 1991, I was playing on a Boys and Girls club recreational softball team with my best friend. After the game my family went out for dinner and then back home. Shortly after we got home and I was getting ready for bed, I got a horrible headache. I had never been one to get headaches before and this one was really bad. I was crying and just felt like my head was going to explode. The next day I experienced paralysis on one side of my body and my Dad, a firefighter, rushed me to my pediatrician. Luckily, our pediatrician’s office was across the street from Children’s Hospital because as soon as my Dad carried me into his office he took one look in my eyes and said get her to the ER.
When I entered the ER I was already losing control of my bodily functions and after a CT scan it was confirmed that there was some sort of mass in my brain. My doctors told my parents that the best that they could hope for was that at the end of this they would be taking their daughter home in a wheelchair. At that point they weren’t sure what I had so my Mom, whose brother died of a brain tumor, was expecting the worst. In surgery they figured out that what I had was an AVM, an arteriovenous malformation. It is a “mess” of veins and arteries somewhere in the body that has been present since birth and some day it ruptures. My AVM was in my cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for motor control and coordination. My doctor, at the time the Head of Neurosurgery at Children’s, said that two kids come in with an AVM every year, and only one of them leaves.
Over the next week or two, I got stronger and one day while hanging out with my Dad in the hospital I got out of my wheelchair and started walking, albeit slowly. So when my Mom came to the hospital after work that day I told her I had a surprise for her and got up and walked. I was lucky to not only live, but I left that hospital about a month later on my own two feet, no wheelchair required. Over the last 20 years I have made good use of my feet and legs and rowed in high school and in college and then after college picked up a running habit and ran numerous races including a marathon and several ultramarathons.
I have come to know Soulumination because I went to St. Benedict School in Wallingford with Lynette’s daughters, Mackenzie and Lulu. We even did gymnastics together in the school year right before my AVM in 1991. Last summer, Lynette photographed our wedding in Seattle at Georgetown Ballroom. The pictures are just gorgeous and stunning and I’m so grateful that she can share her gift with the people of Soul.
Currently, I live in Toronto, Canada. My husband is Canadian and so I moved here a few months after we got engaged. Last month, we went on a two week holiday to the UK to visit some of his family and be tourists since it was my first time in London. Luckily, I remembered to bring along my new Soul shirt and I think we got some pretty good shots with the Beefeaters and the Palace Guards."
Best to Soul in 2011,
I think that having Ashley share her story and wear our tee to England is a testimony to the value of our mission. Ashley's story has such a happy ending but with our families that is rarely the case. It is our joy to work with so many special families. I want to compliment Bryan, Kurt, and Karen for their recent work. Both Karen and Kurt were gracious enough to do two recent shoots. Last week there were 6 shoots completed. We are very pleased with the results of Michelle's first shoot and are so happy to have her on board.
With all the new work comes new costs. I have to say that I hope you might consider sending a donation in our ask card that came with the newsletter. Small donations are most welcome of course. I just worry a bit because we are not receiving enough funds to match our expenses. Thankfully we have a carefully guarded reserve so we can move forward, but I would hate to come to a time when we couldn't answer every request.
I recently gave in honor of my sister's birthday. Patti generously purchased the pizza for our work party and along with that donation came two others from friend's of hers. Since it was a nice round number of Patti this birthday it was fun to write a check in honor of each year of her life. Besides my time and regular donations I am working very hard to create more tin luminaria, light strings, bead dolls and am adding tiny wire wreaths to my items for the Artist Sale in December. Yes indeed, I still want bottle caps---especially with good or unusual graphics, there are some amazing ones out there as well as empty, non-flattened aluminum cans, especially V-8, regular and fusion, Peace Tea and Arizona teas, imported cans are great. Your help with gathering materials has been wonderful. If anyone goes traveling I would love bottle caps from around the world, amazing ones are in New Zealand, Thailand, and I bet so many more places, I imagine Germany would have great ones.
In love and peace, Lynette