Miracles Happen with T-Shirts
Since our last post on Hudsyn's Stem Cell journey, and deciding to go to Panama for a second time, we were excited, but a little nervous. After all, we needed to raise $15,000 again for her treatment...and would that even be possible so soon after our last fundraiser? Looking back on all this now, I'm not sure why I even go down the road of doubt. Miss H never fails to amaze us, but her fans....her fans are some of the best people around. As you might know, our first fundraiser was pretty straight forward. We posted on her Facebook page, asking for donations to help us get to Panama. People could give via Fundrazr or mail their donations to us. Within 30 days, we raised over $20,000 in cash and in-kind donations from all over the world. It was enough to completely pay for her first treatment and get us there for a week. I cried every time I saw the hundreds of people and businesses who gave and then commented on her page with prayers and encouragement. It was one of the most overwhelming demonstration of love we've ever experienced.
We wanted to do something a little different this time...and give our fans a way to show their support for Hudsyn while giving. This is where meeting a guy by the name of Brian Marks, Owner of BonfireFunds.com, reignited our excitement (and the following) for Hudsyn's cause...to get to Panama again.
I had done a basic search on Google for "Unique fundraising ideas." On one of the links, I found another mom who had used BonfireFunds.com to raise money for her son's school. BonfireFunds is a crowdfunding website that allows individuals and organizations to create campaigns to raise money and awareness for causes that matter to them, by selling their own custom t-shirt. Each campaign has a “group buying” batch goal, in which the campaign has to sell 50 shirts in 30 days before any shirts are printed or shipped. When a campaign sells its 50th shirt, whether on day 2 or day 29, the supporters' credit cards are processed, the shirts are printed and individually shipped and the process starts over. This keeps the process free for us...and did I mention EASY?
When Brian and I were talking about the design, I really didn't have any idea what we would want on the shirts. I knew I wanted the color purple somewhere, because that's Hudsyn's favorite color. But other than that, no clue.
Brian and his team of designers made it super easy. After looking at her Facebook page, he noticed the cover photo we had of Hudsyn and my "Miracles" bracelet. We love that photo as it says so much about our journey. Within 24 hours, I had 10 t-shirt designs to choose from, all featuring the "Miracles" theme. We selected the one we liked best (photo to the right is our friend, and model, Mark Cabrera) and the rest was easy. By the end of the week, we had a full-blown t-shirt ordering site, complete with social media incorporation...awesome.
Are there more profitable ways to get shirts created and sold? Sure. But, as a special needs parent, there's no way I'd have time to get a design created, take orders for t-shirt sizes, ship them individually to people and then somehow bill everyone. Bonfire Funds does all of this for us and there's no out of pocket cost to us. Every 50 shirts sold allows Hudsyn to receive $750 toward her goal. We've done two campaigns so far, and sold 180 shirts, which equates to $2,700 in less than two months!
And, we're having a lot of fun with the shirts now. After receiving a shirt, Hudsyn's fans are encouraged to post a photo of the shirt (preferably while wearing it) on her Facebook page.
Dan and I wear the shirts regularly and are constantly getting approached by strangers about them. It allows us to tell Hudsyn's story in a positive way and feel good about advocating for her and other special needs kids.
If you'd like to get a shirt and join us in the fun, visit our BonfireFunds page: https://www.bonfirefunds.com/fund/hope-for-hudsyn
Hudsyn on the Radio Before launching our latest fundraising campaign, she had around 500 fans. Because her message is spreading even more rapidly, Hudsyn now has over 900 fans!! Not only did Hudsyn's story begin reaching new heights, we started getting attention from a local radio station, Craving Talk Radio who wanted to interview us for their next show.
Randy and "Jersey Dawn" came to our house a few weeks ago to do the recording. It was fun - we sat at our dining room table while two microphones were setup in front of us and we talked about Hudsyn's journey. It was emotional at times and Damek had to put in his 12 cents. Dan took this photo during a break...I just love Hudsyn's smile. Although she isn't able to "talk" with us, she communicates her enjoyment pretty easily.
And there's nothing like a multi-tasking momma. Notice the glass of wine? Yeah...it's my coping mechanism these days;)
We hope you enjoy the show, and the message - which was aired in two segments:
Latest Hospital Stay Changes Plans We were scheduled to go to Panama this week (April 6-13). Right after Easter weekend, Hudsyn started exhibiting signs of a cold. We didn't get too concerned since we've had colds before and thought she'd be fine. But by the end of the first day, a slight fever began...and lasted four days. Tylenol, epsom salt baths and Vick's weren't cutting it. By Thursday we were more than worried and took her to the ER as instructed by her pediatrician to rule out pneumonia. By Thursday night, she had been admitted to the hospital for low oxygen levels. Normal levels are 96+, and Hudsyn was dipping into the mid-80s at times. Her nose was completely stuffed and the cough she'd developed sounded like a hardcore smoker doing three packs a day. And she'd lost a lot of weight (3lbs) due to the mucous causing her to vomit after every feed.
Our little miracle wasn't well.
I quickly took off work and rushed to the hospital to see what I could do about getting us the necessities we needed to get her out of the hospital before Saturday (our flight left at 10am to Panama). I rushed so fast, I ended up with a speeding ticket on the way there...great.
She had an oxygen mask on when I arrived and her face looked overly pale. Her low grade fever was still apparent but she hadn't vomited since that morning. In speaking with the physician on staff, they promised they would do everything possible to make her well before our big trip. But at that point, all we could do was wait. We were anxious to meet Dawn and Emmy - two good friends of ours from California who were also taking the journey to Panama alongside us. Emmy is a friend of Hudsyn's who also suffered from lack of oxygen at birth. And Dawn, her momma, has been a huge source of support for me along the way. We met on a few Facebook parent forums that have been invaluable for us. This was both of the girls' second stem cell treatments.
By Friday afternoon, things were still pretty grey. Hudsyn's tests for pneumonia and RSV were negative, thank God. She had improved, but not to the point that her doctors were willing to release her. I fought hard. I called her pediatrician and asked if he would override the decision. Let's give her Prednisone, more breathing treatments, get oxygen and suction to travel with, etc. This momma was determined. But by 5:00pm, the obstacles became apparent. We were lucky to have a visitor that day, Jill Hamilton, who is another special needs mom I turn to for advice and support regularly. She was at Children's Mercy with her son Luke for a regular appointment and stopped by our hospital room to see us. She tentatively asked, "Kacy, besides my nurse opinion...do you want my mommy opinion?" I looked up at her through tears and said, "Yes."
"Don't do it. So many things can go wrong with traveling that far with her while sick. What if she runs out of oxygen? What if she develops pneumonia? What if you get a mucous plug en route that you can't remove with the suction? What if she gets even more sick from the trip and you end up in the hospital in Panama? Don't live in "what-if land." Reschedule the trip."
I needed to hear that...and from a fellow mom. She was right.
So, I began the daunting task of rescheduling our flights, condo and appointment at the Stem Cell Institute. Surprisingly, it was easy. And, although the flight change fees were crazy high (around $1,000), I went home that night and received a large donation from Hudsyn's OB office in the mail...for exactly $1,000. It's funny how sometimes when you give in to the signs you're being presented that the problems start to vanish and life becomes easy again. God was in control...I just needed to listen.
By Sunday afternoon, Hudsyn had been discharged. She was still on oxygen sporadically so they sent us home with a monitor, suction machine (fantastic little thing I wish we could've had a long time ago) and a stationary oxygen tank with nasal cannula to administer as needed. Her fever had been gone since Friday night and her feedings, which we'd slowed down, were going better than they'd had in months.
The new trip to Panama is now set for July 6-13...exactly three months later than planned. I realized for the first time that we wouldn't be able to leave Damek here at home since my parents were planning to be gone on their own at that time (they had agreed to babysit him). I knew we'd have to get his passport now and he'd be going with us. I looked at our little girl, and asked, "Hudsyn Ann, did you want this trip rescheduled just so you could bring your little brother with you?"
She responded by giving me the biggest smile I'd seen in weeks. So, I guess that was it! Shame on me for trying to separate her from her bubba. :)
That leaves us a little more time to save our pennies and get ready for the next big adventure to Panama. This is a good thing since we hadn't quite reached our goal prior to going. If you'd like to help us get there, please consider a donation by any of the following ways:
2. Give online (any and all amounts are appreciated).
3. Send a donation by mail (you avoid all fees and 100% of your contribution goes to Miss H): Kacy Seitz 1900 Barber Ave. Kansas City, KS 66103
When you buy your shirt(s), don't forget to post a photo of yourself in the shirt to Hudsyn's Facebook page. We're loving that her message is now walking all around the world for others to see. Take a photo in a favorite local spot, on your next vacation or with your loved ones.
Miracles happen every day...and these shirts can help you remind others of that by wearing yours with pride: