Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What I'm Thankful For...

By Robin Kaye

In this time of Thanksgiving, I give thanks for my children, my family, and to the Shriners. When one thinks of the Shriners, one might think of men wearing funny hats, the Shriners Circus, or the fundraisers they hold. What one doesn't ordinarily think of is the Children's Hospitals they support or the many trips these men (wearing their funny fezzes) make, ferrying children to and from the Shriners hospitals from neighboring cities or states, sometimes hours away.

Every day the people of Shriners Hospitals make miracles commonplace. Every day they improve the lives of children from all over the world by treating burns, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic problems, and cleft lips and palates. Every day, they give children the chance to live more normal lives and defy the odds.

One of the Shriners kids is my daughter, Isabelle. With the help of the Shriners, Isabelle has defied all the odds. We were told she'd never walk; now she not only walks but she runs. Thanks to the Shriners and the employees and volunteers at Shriners Hospital, she had the best doctor in the world (for her particular surgery) operate on both arms and perform miracles. Thanks to the Shriners, Isabelle not only has almost full use of both hands, she has the best penmanship in the family; she's an artist, a writer, a dancer, and a living, breathing miracle.

Isabelle has been a patient of the Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago since she was three months old. She's had two major surgeries, spent eight days in their PICU, and has had countless visits. Of all the hospitals in which Isabelle has stayed, she's never received better care than the care she's received at Shriners.

Shriners Hospital is free to any child up to the age of 18 eligible for admission regardless of financial need. To get more information, apply for care, or donate to a very worthy cause, see their website at: www.shrinershq.org/hospitals 

What are you thankful for?


25 comments:

  1. Robin,
    My miracle is similar to yours and is also the result of a lot of hard work by some very dedicated people. My son Sam is a high functioning autistic, and we were once told that would never graduate high school. But this past May, he did just that. I know exactly where you're coming from.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

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  2. Cheryl~

    Congratulations to both you and Sam. I understand the hard work it takes by dedicated people, but even more, the hard work that you and Sam put in.

    Izzy would have an hour a week of physical therapy with her therapist, but It took Isabelle three hours a day of physical therapy to get her walking at three years old. That continued until she was seven or eight and could walk up and down stairs independently.

    She was such a trooper, she'd struggle, and work so hard she'd be red in the face, sweating, and totally worn out. Then she'd turn to me, smile, and say. "Don't worry Mommy, tomorrow I'll do better."

    She never once gave up. She's my hero.

    I have so much to be thankful for, The Shriners are just one of so many special organizations and people who have touched our lives in the best of ways.

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  3. This was wonderful, Robin! After having heard many an Izzy story (and they range from inspirational to pee-your-pants funny), I too appreciate all you've been through to get to this point. We have friends in Florida who are big-time fundraisers for the Shriners. It's nice to hear about the other end where real people benefit.

    Congratulations to you and Sam, Cheryl, on your huge accomplishment, too!

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  4. Robin,
    I thank God Isabelle beat the odds. I'll keep her and your family in my prayers.
    I add my thanks to all of those who serve in the armed forces. My husband retired this past week after 24 years in the Navy. I'm ultra proud of him, and I was deeply moved as our son, who is serving in the Marine Corps, participated in the flag ceremony during the retirement.
    As a retired Navy chief, I understand the separation from family, of missing out most events in life, but I would like to also give thanks to each and every person who supports our troops, I assure you, it means the world to us. I wish you and yours a blessed holiday season.

    Diana Cosby
    www.dianacosby.com
    His Captive/Alexander MacGruder
    His Woman/December 08/Duncan MacGruder - 4 star Romantic Times review!

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  5. What timing, Ryan has his Shriners checkup a week from today. He was born with DDH (hip dysplasia; it's not just for German Shepherds) and had more surgery in his first four months than I had in 40 years. We discovered Shriners when Ryan was 3 and they stabilized his hip and taught him to walk again. The doctors there are among the best in the world, and the fact that they do all this free of charge still stuns me. Where else but here in the US can you get the best care at no cost? Doctors you can trust are something to be SO grateful for.

    I never knew anything about Shriners until Ryan's first orthopedist made us want a second opinion. (He wanted to do surgery to correct something a prior surgery didn't do.) That's when I found out my grandfather was a Shriner. Seems like Grandpa "paid it forward" for a great-grandson he only knew for a short while.

    I'm happy to hear Izzy's doing well, dancing and writing (like her Mom!) and loving life. That kid's got a killer smile! :) Many blessings and happy days to you and your family, Robin!!

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  6. Robin,

    Your story moved me to tears. My heartfelt good wishes to your daughter, you, and your family.

    I'm grateful on Thanksgiving that my husband of 20 years survived multiple major surgeries for life-threatening illnesses. Stress? That's not a big enough word, with nearly enough letters or syllables, to describle what our family has been through this year.

    Since his recovery, every day is Thanksgiving at our house. I suspect it's the same in yours.

    Best--Adele Dubois

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  7. Robin, Thank you for sharing such a personal experience with us. I love hearing these inspirational tales, as do we all, but for me it is especially marvelous. My own children are very healthy, but I work in an NICU where so many children are stricken with problems. Unfortunately I rarely get to see how they grow and prosper. I really appreciate hearing this glowing story. Praise God for Isabelle's current state.

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  8. Diana~

    Thanks for comment, it really hits home with me and my family. I have a brother-in-law who has served in the first Gulf war and three tours in Iraq, a cousin who has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and will be going back to one or the other soon. Two nephews, one who came back from Iraq recently and reenlisted, one who is on his way over, and three second cousins serving too. I give thanks to them and their families every day and like you, pray for their safety and quick return.

    Hugs...Robin :)

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  9. Carla~ I'm so glad you found the Shriners and have had the same success and great experience that we have. Like I said, they make miracles commonplace.
    I'm so happy you've had a well-deserved miracle too.

    Robin :)

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  10. Robin Kaye has left a new comment on the post "What I'm Thankful For...":

    Diana~

    Thanks for comment, it really hits home with me and my family. I have a brother-in-law who has served in the first Gulf war and three tours in Iraq, a cousin who has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and will be going back to one or the other soon. Two nephews, one who came back from Iraq recently and reenlisted, one who is on his way over, and three second cousins serving too. I give thanks to them and their families every day and like you, pray for their safety and quick return.

    ~Please pass my thanks to your family for their service. I'll keep them in my prayers. My son, who is in the Marine Corps, heads over to Afghanistan this spring. Wishing you and yours an amazing holiday season. I know you'll cherish each moment.

    Diana Cosby
    www.dianacosby.com
    His Captive/Alexander MacGruder
    His Woman/December 08/Duncan MacGruder - 4 star Romantic Times review!

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  11. Though some would say I've been fortunate to never face challenges such as yours, I read your stories and wonder if I have been.

    Thanks for sharing such inspiration. I also thank you for reminding us that acts of service by Shriners and others gathered all together add up to a miracle.

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  12. Adele~

    I'm so happy your husband is doing well. There's nothing like the stress of seeing someone you love sick or hurt and not being able to do anything about it. It's every wife and mother's nightmare.

    Every day is Thanksgiving in our house. Izzy is a pretty normal 11-year old now with all the mood-swings and attitude of a pre-teen going on thirty. My mousepad is a picture of her at about two-years-old, all big smiles and an even bigger cast, scooting on the floor because she couldn't walk yet, and every day I'm reminded of how far she's come and how incredible the journey has been.

    Hugs....Robin :)

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  13. Now I'm thankful for Shriners, too! And I'm thankful that both you and Carla were steered there. :)

    This year, I'm thankful for my son's teachers and therapists. I'd heard a lot of horror stories about public school and IEPs, but so far, all of our experiences have been positive. Teachers and therapists in the school district aren't paid nearly enough for the impact that they have on young children, and I'm so thankful for their patience and dedication as they help the children in their care reach their fullest potential.

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  14. Hi, Honey!
    My niece has SMS and I know how difficult it has been for my brother and SIL, but Beth (SIL) has the tenacity of a bulldog when it comes to taking care of her children (you'd like her *g*) so our Lauren is doing very well.

    I'm thankful for so very much, not just the advancements in medicine that make it possible for our babies to grow up normal, but for the selfless people who work to get the news out that it IS possible and go the extra mile to make it happen.

    Another short story: We were in line to vote. Hubble, leaning on his cane, wore a jacket with his ship's insigna. A young volunteer handed him a packet of info and then said, "And, sir, I'd like to thank you for serving." I nearly cried. Hubble just looked flustered, but replied, "It was an honor."

    So I am also thankful for those who recognize the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women and their families. It's about time.

    I wish you and yours a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving, and hope we all remember the small miracles that fill each day, the miracles we tend to take for granted--like love.

    {{{Hugs}}}

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  15. Sharon~

    What you do is so important, taking care of babies who are in such need of not only medical care but love. I've seen the love that is given so freely by all the nurses and doctors who care for them. I thank you for all the little ones you care for who aren't able to give you their thanks.

    I always say there's a special place in heaven for the people who care for our children.

    Hugs....Robin :)

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  16. Pat~

    Give your husband a hug and tell him thanks for me. I imagine him to be just as special as you are, and that's saying something! I'm so thankful for friends like you.

    And everyone here, the casababes, Laura, Carla, Adele, Diana- all the special women I've met through my writing. You've all been such a blessing to me. It's just one of those happy surprises we find through our journey.

    Hugs and a blessed Holiday Season to all.

    Robin :)

    I'm running off to take my ballerina to dance. I'll try to check back with everyone this evening, or if I should find wifi, I'll check in earlier.

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  17. What a beautiful story hugs to your family Robin

    Have Fun
    Helen

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  18. Thank you for sharing your story Robin! I was lucky enough to meet Isabelle when you guys were in Chicagoland earlier this year :)

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  19. My father was a Shriner and I'm very thankful for everything they do. Yes, I got to see him in the clown outfit, driving in the teeny car, but I also know how hard they work to make sure people can continue to receive the best care.

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  20. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story, Robin, and that of Izzy, who is a champion. Yes, you have a lot to be thankful for, and in telling us about it, make us all more thankful for what we have. Thanks too to the Shriners, who were there for you and so many others.

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  21. Robin,

    Your story moved me to tears. My heart aches to think of all you've gone through, and yet it's filled with gratitude to hear all the Shriners have done for Isabelle. I'm glad your little hero is doing so well.

    I didn't really know what the Shriners did. Thanks for enlightening me. Whenever I see them in the future, I'll think of you and your daughter and send up a prayer of thanksgiving.

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  22. Danielle-

    The day you met Izzy, we'd been on our way to her annual appointment at the Shriners Hospital. I was expecting to schedual her next surgery. I was happy to learn that it's going to be a couple more years. I was thrilled to put it off as long as possible. Izzy would rather get it over with and was dissapoined. I was good and didn't do my happy dance in front of her.

    One of the highlights of the trip was her tour of Sourcebooks and meeting you and Dominique. The Fairy Chronicles Dominique gave her are her favorite books. She talks about them non-stop.

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  23. Robin,
    What a moving description of Isabelle overcoming so much--I'm sure she's your treasure, and no wonder you're grateful. Thank you, too, for explaining more about the Shriners Hospitals.

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  24. Thank you everyone for stopping by. I appreciate it so much. This is yet another thing to be thankful for. I have so many.

    Robin :)

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  25. Robin,
    Right now I'm just thankful to all of you for sharing such wonderful, heartwarming stories. I never really know what the Shriners did either, but they've now got my eternal gratitude for the things they make possible. Thanks for sharing your story!

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