Friday, December 7, 2012
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Two things I wanted to share.
First, Thank you all so much for your sweet comments, emails and messages after my last post. It is still moving how touched everyone is by our story and our family.
I wasn't exaggerating that it really took 5 months to complete that post. It was so hard to keep reliving that day as I wrote and edited everything. It was so hard at the end just to edit the post and try to correct grammar, and read through it making sure that it made sense. Anyway, it felt GREAT to share. I had felt like I owed everyone the details of his last day. So many people have been on this journey with us, I thought it would bring some peace to our friends, maybe some closure, and hopefully some inspiration too.
I have been thinking about writing a book, or a few of them. I just need a smidge of time, I don't feel ready yet, but I think about it everyday. I don't know what I should wrote about exactly.....Oakes life, our life with Oakes, the lessons we have learned, kids books.....I am not sure. Any suggestions?
My second reason for posting is that I wanted to plant a little seed in your head. I think most of us are finishing up our holiday shopping, and I have a great suggestion of what you might add to your shopping list.
I have a friend from High school named Cindy. We actually only went to school together for one year but we were the best of friends in that year. After nearly 20 years Cindy and I have reconnected on facebook. She had her first child just weeks apart from Oakes' birth, so in that maternal, hormonal way she has felt very connected to our story, to Oakes' life, and our family. On her own, she partnered with a local story that she loves and they have made the most amazing Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation Christmas ornaments. They made 100 ornaments by hand. They are $20 a piece, and get this, 100% of the proceeds go to MOHF!
Super cute, right? These ornaments would be great for teachers, for family members, for a friend that you know who has been following our story, for a family that has been affected by a congenital heart defect or simply for your own family Christmas tree!
Here is the link to order the ornaments online.
Hugs to all of our friends!
Especially to Cindy and our new friends at Bliss Monogramming,
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
t h a n k y o u!
Shani visiting in the morning.
He opened his eyes.
Oakes looking at us.
Sweet Isla P.
Carey + Oakes
Our sweet, sweet Oakes Lee Ortyl, the mightiest boy ever, whom we will always LOVE.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Good evening friends and family. Quick update and reminder on two fun MOHF events that are right around the corner.
1. Dewey’s Pizza – Pizza School Benefitting Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation – this Sunday, September 30th.
a. We haven’t advertised this much as we thought it would sell out quickly, but it still had 15-20 openings as of today.
b. This is a chance to go “behind the glass” at the Webster Groves Dewey’s Pizza at 122 E. Lockwood Ave.
c. Although there are 30-minute sessions starting at 11am and running through 2pm, most of the openings are around the 1pm, 1:30pm and 2pm sessions.
d. Cost is just $25 per person and will include a pizza-making tutorial from Dewey’s finest back in the kitchen and then you’ll get to eat your masterpiece afterwards. Kids will LOVE it.
2. Inaugural Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation 5K Run/1K Fun Run – Saturday, October 6th.
a. With well over 200 registered runners and walkers as of last week and several corporate sponsors on board, this event is already a huge success!
b. Although it’s too late to be a sponsor, feel free to come out and join us for a 5k run or a 1k walk.
c. Event will be held at LaSalle Springs Middle School at 3300 Hwy 109 in Wildwood, MO starting with an 8:30am registration and 9am Fun Run start followed by 5k Run.
d. Cost is just $30 per adult or $20 per child.
e. You can register online via our website (www.mightyoakes.org) or just show up the day of the event, although we may not have extra shirts available since we placed the orders for those last week.
So a couple of fun ways to spend time with your family and help other, less fortunate families while you’re at it. Thanks to everyone for supporting these events and we can’t wait to see you at both of them! Stay tuned for more from MOHF through the end of the year. Most excited to tell you all about the families we have helped this year.
Love to you all,
Greg, Becky, Isla & Mighty Oakes
Monday, September 10, 2012
Although we have lots of folks signing up for the event, we could still use many more participants, either live here in St. Louis or remote from wherever you may be.
We have (finally) set up an online registration site on our main mightyoakes.org website to make it easier for everyone to register. If you cannot make it, we would be honored by a donation to the foundation or a pledge based on a certain run time. For instance, I am (allegedly) training for this event. I have not really run at all since Oakes was diagnosed in utero, which dates back two years ago next month. But I'll be participating and have had a couple friends donate based on how many kilometers I actually make it. To be clear, I will make it 5K, but it won't be easy, so we'll see how that goes.
In any event, we are still looking for a couple corporate sponsors to help off-set some of the costs of the event, so please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being a corporate sponsor and I can give you more details.
We hope we will see you in a few weeks sweating, running, walking, pushing strollers and helping us help other families dealing with congenital heart defects. We have been helping many families behind the scenes and it is a blessing from all of you that we are able to help so many families dealing with this life-altering diagnosis.
Here is the online registration link (if the link does not work, you can find info via our website at www.mightoakes.org):<http://www.mightoakes.org):>
Thanks, as always, for your continued support of MOHF.
Greg, Becky, Isla & Oakes
Becky & Ortyls from the beach
Friday, August 31, 2012
I woke up this morning thinking about the blog and the fact that I have posted so very little recently, so I thought I would just take a minute and say hello and give you a quick update.
We are still doing OK. The summer has sort of dragged on, but in a good way. We have taken some short road trips, but for the most part our days have been spent at the neighborhood pool, playing with friends, doing arts and crafts projects, going on nature walks, going on walks for ice cream, really, just nice easy summer activities.
We talk about Oakes daily. Isla brings him up often. She has told us that she has a pretend Oakesie and he plays with us daily. Truthfully, pretend Oakesie has been playing with us, riding in the car with us, and snuggling at bedtime with us for over a year now. It has always been sweet and comforting, but now I hang on to every word in her little Oakesie updates. He has taken her to heaven at night, he rides our Yellow Lab, Ashby, he will not put on a seat belt in the car, he can pee in the potty, Isla imitates a silly dance that he does and just recently he did dumped sand in the living room although I thought it was Isla! We all miss him so very much, but we all feel him around us, which feels like an amazing gift.
I just walked Isla up to school for her first day. It is rainy in St. Louis today so we had a fun, wet walk with our umbrellas. I am excited to get back into a routine with that little lady, and am more excited to have some time by myself. It has been years since that has happened, but I think I am ready for a little Becky time.
One project that I have been working on is the MOHF run coming up on October 6th here is St. Louis. It should be an amazing event. I hope to walk the 1mile course with Isla in between my volunteer duties and Greg is training for the 5K. Will we see you there? We have heard from a lot of people that are planning on coming, but we have not gotten registration forms from everyone yet, and the deadline to register is coming up. If you want a fancy dry-fit shirt then you have to register by September 14th. Unfortunately, we won't have extra shirts for walk up participants on the day of the race. If you plan on attending, please send us your registration!
I have taken some great pictures this summer and will start sharing some of the best. Here are a few for now.
Hugs to all of you,
Friday, August 17, 2012
Monday, August 6, 2012
Friends and family – hope you are all well. Unbelievably, today is the two month anniversary of our Oakes passing away. We are doing “okay” I guess, but we have our moments where the emotions are overwhelming. We just miss that little turkey so much and we still cannot believe he is gone. If we hear the right song or see the right picture or think the right thought, we immediately turn into a big sobbing mess. For instance, today, I noticed that Becky had his little helmet in our closet. It was the helmet he wore for months to help re-shape his head because of all of the time he spent in bed. It was chilling to hold that little helmet in my hands and know there is no Oakesie to put it on. The emotions were just gushing from that helmet. I could see his cute little face and chubby cheeks squeezed into the helmet and his wispy hair sticking up through the top. Yes, we miss him. Life goes on and his legacy remains….which leads me to this email.
Our friends, the Weckherlin Family and Gabris Family have organized a 5k to raise money for the foundation. I am, somehow, someway going to run in it. But we need your help on two fronts. First, we need RUNNERS. Second, we need SPONSORS. Please read the sweet letter they put together and if you can’t run, come on our and walk with us and please forward to anyone who might be interested. I have attached the Registration Form and the Sponsor Letter. We hope to see all of your healthy selves there! We appreciate any help you can give us as we strive to keep momentum with the foundation. Thank you and we love you all!
Oakes Lee Ortyl, the inspiration and driving force behind the Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation (MOHF), passed to Heaven on the evening of June 6, 2012. While he is no longer physically here, his strength, courage and passionate love are alive and well, in the form of the foundation named in his honor.
The mission of the MOHF is to financially assist families dealing with the crushing reality of congenital heart defects. In addition, funds also allow the foundation to express gratitude to the medical staff working in the CICU at St. Louis Children's Hospital and to remain connected to the important work they are doing in our community.
This fall, the foundation will be sponsoring a very special and important event. On Saturday, Oct. 6, there will be a 5K race held in Wildwood, MO. We are pulling our team together to create a fun, family event and to honor Oakes, as well as the many others who have been impacted by congenital heart defects. The Ortyl family was gracious enough to share the huge lessons they learned from Oakes: we are all connected, and taking care of each other is what life is all about.
We are asking you to consider getting involved with this event by making a monetary donation to the MOHF. The team of organizers hopes to bring out loads of people for a day of stretching, deep breaths, and heart pumping exercise. Promoting heart and lung health is a natural fit for MOHF, and our hope is to raise a substantial amount of money that will better enable the MOHF to spread its vision and purpose and carry out its mission.
As an established 501(c)(3) organization, your donation is 100% tax deductible. Any amount you are to give will graciously be accepted, but the following perks will be given to those sponsoring at the corporate level:
· Company logo on our corporate sponsor banner at the finish line: $100.
· Company logo on the banner plus 5 entries to the event: $250.
· Company logo on the banner, 5 entries to the event, and your logo on the back of race shirts: $500. (This level is limited to 20 sponsors, and for ordering purposes, it must be secured by September 14th.)
· Company logo on the banner, 5 entries to the event, and your logo on the either the right or left sleeve of race shirts: $1,000. (This level is limited to 2 sponsors and must be secured by September 14th).
We are also in search of other types of donations, such as snacks, fruit and bottled water.
Please review the attached flyer, which details the 5K race specifics. The Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation and the Ortyl family sincerely appreciate your consideration in supporting their charitable organization. If you are interested in becoming a corporate sponsor or have additional questions, please contact us via the established email: MOHF5Krace@gmail.com.
Monetary donations can be submitted to: MOHF 5K Race, c/o Adam & Suzanne Gabris, 2213 Glencoe Summit Court, Wildwood, MO 63011. Checks can be made payable to: Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation.
The Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation
Nicole Weckherlin and Suzanne Gabris, MOHF 5K Co-Chairs