I watch the news every day and see horrendous stories about children who are neglected, abused and left to grow up without care. It breaks my heart to imagine a life like that. Families that I meet have more than the average challenges when raising their children. These kids are in a fight for their lives, and their parents are providing the life boat. They feed, bathe, entertain, perform healthcare such as aspirating, feeding tubes, administering medicine, adjusting braces, pushing wheelchairs, and sitting up all night when their child cannot rest because of seizures, severe asthma attacks or gastro interruptions. Their job is seven days a week and requires shifts between parents 24 hours a day. When I ask, “How do you do it?” Their answer is, “We do what we need to do. It becomes a way of life.” They’ve stopped asking “Why me?” and instead inquire, “What can we do now to make life better for our child?” It’s not easy; I see that. It is sometimes grueling, yet the love these parents show for their children is life-altering and more real than any I’ve ever witnessed. They didn’t choose; they were chosen.
Regardless of their love and indefatigable spirit, these parents and siblings need the support and encouragement of other people. Often this is difficult because their days are filled with doctor’s appointments, afternoons with physical, occupational or speech therapy along with the new daily challenges they face. Sometimes families don’t feel like they fit in the mainstream activities. It’s not surprising that they may feel isolated.
New Hope for Kids offers family events, free tickets to local games, and teen outings. This is what adds long-lasting memories and a sense of community to our Wish kids, their parents and siblings. Other families facing similar illnesses and challenges become friends and their pain is divided. Laughter, music, food and fellowship bring relief and a new sense of hope.