It’s that time of year. The time when we all begin to think about paying it forward. There’s just something about the holiday season, particularly with Thanksgiving coming up next week, that helps us to turn inward, think about how blessed we are, and to want to help others.
This year, my efforts to help others involve doing something different. I’ll tell you about that in a moment, but first, I want to tell you why I’m doing this.
A good friend of mine from college, Leigh, has a wonderful daughter named Haleigh. Her named is pronounced Hah-lee, like Halle Berry. They live in Virginia.
Haleigh has had a really rough four years. She has been in excruciating pain during this time, such so that just moving or touching something is excruciating. Her flares are intense. It hurts me just to see a video of one of Haleighs flares. (Her videos are private). I watch not as a spectacle, but to learn and feel compassion.
After four frustrating years and visits to about 20 specialists, she finally got a diagnosis. Haleigh suffers from something called AMPS.
What is AMPS? No, it’s not what you plug your electric guitar into, although my twitter following would suggest otherwise. AMPS stands for Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome. It’s awful. It’s poorly understood. Most doctors don’t know how to diagnose or treat it. And most of us have never heard of it before.
So it was good news that Haleigh finally got a diagnosis.
The bad news is that treatment is just out of reach.
Because it is so rare and so few know how to treat it, she must travel from her home in Virginia to Philadelphia to Children’s Hospital for treatment. This sounds awesome, right? Children’s Hospital is going to take such great care of her!
But there’s more. Remember that lengthy drive? Haleigh’s mom can only see her for limited time periods, so Leigh will need to stay in Philadelphia to be near Haleigh. That means housing. And of course, the Ronald McDonald House there is full at the moment.
There’s also an issue with insurance. Despite having insurance, Haleigh’s mom’s insurance has denied her claim and appeal meaning that her out of pocket expenses for medical alone (not including housing, travel and other expenses involved in being away from home for a lengthy period) are around $160,000.
That’s a big chunk of cash to need stat. I know I couldn’t come up with that in a hurry without the help of everyone I know pitching in….
And that’s where I come in. I’m one of those people Leigh knows… And I’m going to help.
I have planned charity events, galas and online fundraisers so I have fundraising experience. I am a social media correspondent so I have reach. I’ve been working in the entertainment industry for 10 years so I know how to manage people. I also am a consultant with two direct sales companies, Jamberry and Ruby Ribbon so I have something to offer. And the wheels began to spin.
The online, multi vendor Holiday Boutique for Haleigh was born!
Even though Haleigh’s financial needs are greater than what I feel like I can personally help with raising, I do believe that it takes a village. And if each of us helps in some small way, Haleigh will be able to go to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
I was able to get a group of my sisters in direct sales together in a really brief period of time. There are 20 different companies represented by individual consultants and each of our participating vendors will be donating a minimum of 20% of their sales to Haleigh’s medical expenses. Furthermore, each vendor is also donating a raffle prize to help promote the event! That’s right! There’s a giveaway every single day!
The way this works is like this: each vendor will have one day where the spotlight is shined upon them. They will have an opportunity to introduce themselves and showcase their wares along with hosting their raffle. For Black Friday weekend, we will showcase each vendor’s special offers from Black Friday through Giving Tuesday. Who knows what awesomeness will be available then?!?! And then we will pick back up with our vendors until December 14th or so.
Participating vendors include:
Ruby Ribbon (me)
Ava Anderson (Lee Lake Stanton)
Beautycounter (Laura Hogan)
It Works! (Simone LeCompte)
Lovewinx (Louise Barley Moore)
Norwex (Lisa Celestino)
Origami Owl (Nicole Logan)
Pampered Chef (Patty Shinozaki)
Perfectly Posh (Michelle Giannavola)
Plexus Worldwide (Melissa Somervlle Jaggers)
Premier Designs (Traci Ellis)
Rodan + Fields (Joy Hodges)
Scentsy (Vanessa Whitehead)
Tastefully Simple (Lee Lake Stanton)
Thirty-One (Beth Reed)
Usborne Books (Shel Cohen)
Young Living (Heather Bain Brandt)
Younique (Victoria Sullivan)
I have cried so many times while working on putting together this boutique: Tears of compassion for Haleigh and Leigh, tears of joy when someone said, “Yes! I want to help!”; tears of frustration in asking people to support who are apathetic; tears of exhaustion from being up until 4:00 am each night to get things done; tears of relief when I check our analytics to see how the campaign is growing and that the effort is paying off; tears of excitement when someone I don’t know has started to tweet about us; and tears of joy when I get messages that say “I have a donation to make” or “I made a purchase to support Haleigh!”
I say let the tears flow! At least the good kind!
I hope that you will take a moment to visit our boutique and to try to win a prize. You may enter each giveaway, so please be sure to stop by each day. You can’t win if you don’t play!
Please feel good about your support. It goes to a great cause AND it helps to raise awareness for a little known and often misunderstood medical condition.
Thank you for your support.
Always Be Awesome!