>It Takes a Village
>My friend Heather is an incredible woman. If you’ve been around Twitter lately, there’s a good chance you’ve heard her story. On March 10, 2011, Heather’s son Zackie passed away at SickKids hospital in Toronto. I would love you to read about him – HERE is the post his wonderful father Paul wrote about him. He was a true miracle.
I cannot fathom the pain this family endures. The pain those two brothers feel at the loss of their little Zackie. How the family, close friends, nurses and caregivers must feel. I felt compelled to help in whatever way I could.
Enter Jana. Jana worked with Zackie since he was 4 months old, and is close with the Hamilton family. I reached out to her to see what “we” could possibly do to help. And enter Candace from Name Your Tune CDs. Jana, Candace and I arranged for friends and neighbours to drop meals off for Heather’s family for a few weeks, and rallied support from anyone we could. The response was amazing – a true testament to this family’s love for everyone around them.
Zackie was truly loved by the “village” who helped raise him. His caregivers, friends, family, Twitter friends of Heather’s, coworkers, random people, even… he touched more hearts in his three years than most people do in 100.
The family set up a special fund at SickKids to collect donations in Zackie’s memory and within less than two weeks, they have collected more than $8000. This money will go towards invaluable research and care for the children who need the services the most. It’s an absolutely amazing hospital – we know because our daughter is a patient of the cardiac clinic.
In addition to this, York Central Hospital, where Zackie spent much time being cared for, is running a campaign to have a special room made in Zack’s honour – an Elmo themed room. Though Zackie was non-verbal, he adored Elmo and was able to hum the theme song. What an incredible way to honour this little miracle, and offer some comfort to kids who need it most. The goal is $25000, and again, in such a short time, over $6000 has been raised!
Now, all of this is absolutely mind-blowing, isn’t it? A family loses their son and they immediately spring into action to help others. When most people would want to be alone in their grief, the Hamilton family is out there, continuing their work to make illnesses easier on children.
This is the very definition of my friend Heather. This is my point.
While she sat next to her tiny son in hospital, worrying for his life, she would answer emails and tweets about other people and their much less-serious problems with such empathy and love. She takes time out of her grief, even, to comfort others. She has thrown herself into making sure that other children are cared for.
This is why we want to help her.
Jana, Candace and I believe it’s important for Heather and her family to take some time to be together. To regroup as a family, to reflect on Zackie’s life, absorb his loss, grieve and celebrate his impact on the world. With the weight of funeral costs upon them, the family isn’t thinking much about vacations. They’re spending all their time concerned about others.
Our “village” needs to care for the Hamilton Family now.
Jana and I are collecting money to send Heather and her family to Great Wolf Lodge for a weekend. I contacted the resort, told them the circumstance, and they were kind to extend a discount to us. Ideally, we would like to cover the hotel and all related costs: food, gas, and extras like Legoland for the boys and perhaps a spa visit for Heather.
We as a village can help them heal, even just this little bit. We can hold them up the way they do for so many. We can pull together and offer them just a tiny bit of what they offer the world.
If you would like to donate, please email me (Alexandria) at info(at)clippo(dot)ca.
EDIT: I should also add that there are many, many amazing companies who are pulling together and doing fundraisers for Zackie’s room at YCH. I will post a blog another day listing them all.