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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

And now for one of the BEST stories having to do with awarding a grant to a heart family! ♥️

{My desktop when awarding grants}


You guys!
I checked in a couple of weeks ago to tell you a story about the cute heart that my new friend added to our sidewalk, and now I have just the best story about awarding a MOHF grant.

Nearly every week I am working on some sort of grant for a heart family. Our process is pretty straight forward, we find a family who needs help or they find us, they complete an application, we work with their social worker to verify the application, and sort of qualify the family and then we continue to work with that social worker to figure out how we can really help that family. Almost always, we are paying bills. We never just hand over money to a family, but instead we go through a process of collecting account information for whatever bill we plan to cover and I then get busy making calls, writing checks or moving MOHF money around somehow.

In case you are new to Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation, simply put we help families who have children with heart defects. After spending 15 months in an intensive care unit with our Oakes, we learned first hand how stressful having a critically ill child is. And we also learned that when your child is critically ill and you are desperatly praying that you kid lives another day, any kind effort to take other stresses off of your plate mean the world. Another big lessons we learned is that LOVE is the best medicine in the world. If that sick child knows they are loved and knows that someone is there fighting with them then they will fight that much harder. So our big goal is to alleviate stress for the families of heart kids so that the families can show up, love on their little ones and give that kiddo every reason in the world to fight.

So, earlier in the week I sat down to work on two different application. They both were for amazing families with really special kids, but the process of awarding one of the grants inspired and touched me deeply.

With the help of this one amazing Mom and her social worker we decided that this single Mom would really benefit from several months of rent being paid. Her son is a teenager, has been fighting a sick heart his whole life but with a recent lengthy hospitalization after a heart transplant Mom has just gotten behind on some of their big bills. To move forward with this grant I called the landlord, Maria to set up my third party payment. This is usually pretty straight forward - confirm address, amount due then mail check. I always introduced myself and talk about what MOHF does when I make these calls. Sometimes the person on the other end of the phone has questions about MOHF, or is extremely thankful, sometimes it is a quiet, "Bless you", and sometimes it is just business as usual, but this time what follwed was a first.

Maria was very sweet, and soft spoken. She was concerned and understanding about both Mom and son. She explained that they were overdue several months but that she had told Mom not to worry about it that they would figure out a payment plan when they were back at home. Sometimes when I make these calls and explain what I intend to do the person on the other end of the call is speechless, but this time I was the one who was lost for words. In five and a half years, and hundreds and hundreds of grants awarded, this was a first. I explained this to Maria. I thanked her for being so empathetic, and caring. I assured her that her kindness had to have brought so much comfort to this Mom and son. Once I found my words, I kind of went on and on at how touched I was, and then after I became quiet, Maria shared that her sister has a son with a heart defect. He nephew is close in age to her tenant. Her nephew has the same doctors as her tenant and her nephew too will likely need a transplant in his near future. Again, words escaped me as I listened to Maria. Maria shared what it has been like to be the supportive but worried sister, and aunt. She shared that she herself would give up anything to see her sister and nephew happy and healthy and she didn't even have to think about helping her tenant in the way that she had. It was the right thing to do. She had seen others help her sister so how could she not do the same.

It is always a bonus when I make these calls and I think I have impacted that landlord, or person in a call center accepting payments over the phone. It feels like icing on the cake. It's as if I can see the ripples floating away from the all of the goodness and love that my Oakes has inspired and I LOVE IT!!! But with this call what I saw was different. It was as if I was walking into someone else's ripples, or Oakes' ripples were colliding with another heart baby's ripples. It was inspiring and heart warming. I just marveled at Maria, her kindness, and that she is taking her struggle and helping someone else - how freaking cool is she!!! Which then made me think that maybe I felt what some of those call center employees feel when I share our story, and if that is the case, I need to make sure I never miss the opportunity to tell these stories and pass those inspiring, heart warming, freaking cool feelings along to everyone!

Have a wonderful day, friends! I hope you feel the ripples but also create your own!
XOXO, Becky

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