Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2 Year Old Receiving Life Saving Kidney Transplant from Mother Today

We need all your good thoughts and prayers sent to a family who is desperately trying to save the life of their sweet 2 year old daughter, Eloise.

At the age of six months, Eloise was diagnosed with a kidney disease which eventually permanently damages the kidneys. She has already had her kidneys removed and today, she is receiving a kidney transplant from her mother. Her mother was the perfect match to be her daughter's donor....how amazing is that?

Eloise with Mom
Eloise is already a miracle baby. Her parents never thought they would be able to have children as Eloise's father, Nick, had testicular cancer when he was in his twenties.  They defied the odds and became pregnant naturally and welcomed Eloise into the world in December of 2012. We are pretty sure they are all going to beat the odds again with this transplant today!

Eloise Loves Her Daddy

How did Annie & Isabel come into the picture? Eloise is being taken care of at UC Davis Medical Center. The sweet nurses who have taken care of Eloise went in together and purchased Eloise's mother, Kristin, an Annie & Isabel hospital gown for the big day today. Watch this emotional video as they gift Kristin the "Evelyn" hospital gown:

So....let's all come together and send this family the best wishes for a successful transplant and speedy recovery. Both Kristen and Eloise are going to need good thoughts sent their way.

We would love if you do the following:

1. Go to our Facebook post and "LIKE" it. This will help spread their story but more importantly will help them feel surrounded in love. As we always say, each "Like" is like a big hug!

2. Please COMMENT on our Facebook post and leave messages to help them remain strong through this process as they recover in the hospital.

THANK YOU for always helping to bring cheer to our Annie & Isabel warriors. You are the best!!

Lastly, we would also like to mention the importance of becoming an organ donor and hope you might consider registering to be an organ donor. We encourage you to visit Donate Life's website and educate yourself about organ donation. More than 123,000 men, women and children are waiting for organ donations. You can register on the site and you can limit your gift of any organ or tissue you do not want to donate and can exclude use for research. Take the decision and stress away from your family, and make your wishes be known. Become an organ donor today. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Inspiring Teenager Smiles Through Her Challenges ~ The Story of Ellie

In December of this last year we received an email from Erin, who is the mother of a 17 year old daughter named Ellie. Ellie was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor when she was younger and has had many complications. In the last year alone, she has endured 13 brain surgeries. She also had surgery to her back due to a mass which left her with a paralyzed leg. She has spent far too many days in the hospital. Throughout all of this, her mother explained that Ellie has always kept a positive attitude and can mostly be found with a big, beautiful smile on her face.

Ellie with her mother

The reason Erin was writing to us was because Ellie had found our website and had been saving up to purchase one of our hospital gowns. Erin hoped that we might make her a part of our "Feel Better Campaign" as she was not yet able to purchase one of our hospital gowns, and she knew this would brighten her daughter's time in the hospital. At the time of her email to us, Ellie was hospitalized and about to undergo more surgery.

We couldn't think of a better person to receive one of our "Feel Better" hospital gowns to, so it was an easy decision for us. We sent her our "Annie" designer hospital gown and a few days later we received another email from Ellie's mother that made us both cry. The email contained step by step pictures of Ellie opening the hospital gown that we sent to her. Looking at the pictures made us feel like we were right there with her as she was opening up our gift...... and it was powerful! You can see for yourself in this short Flipagram video:

We have always known our hospital gowns can make a big difference in the life of anyone that has to spend time in the hospital and Ellie confirmed this, once again, for us. She is yet another reminder of why we started this business and why we continue to move forward with Annie & Isabel.

Ellie in her "Annie" hospital gown

After Ellie received her "Annie" hospital gown she wrote us a very nice thank you note and we have included some of that here so you can see what a sweet, thoughtful person she is:

"Most teenagers are worried about how perfect their hair and make-up look, or which party they will attend over the weekend. For me, it's a little different. I just want my hair to grow back completely so I can do different things to it. Forget weekend parties, I just pray to stay out of the hospital for the weekend. You see, in the last year or so I've had over 13 brain surgeries, 55+ spinal taps, at least 15 hospital admissions, countless nights in the PICU, and several ER visits & ambulance rides. I've been diagnosed with multiple serious chronic illnesses throughout the last few years. As a teenager it's been hard spending more time in the hospital then at home. Nurses and doctors are more of my friends than people my own age. But it's also taught me so much. I can't wait for the day when I'm able to attend college and follow my dream of becoming a pediatric oncology nurse. My passion is helping people and I love volunteering in any way possible when my health allows me. I frequently have surgeries or am in the hospital for extended stays. I try personalizing my room and bed up a bit, but to have a gown of my own just means so much! Anna & Selena, thank you SO, SO much for choosing me as your feel better campaign recipient. I truly an so honored, and grateful to be part of something so amazing. I can't thank you enough for the smiles and the happy tears you have brought to me at such a hard time. You are both wonderful people with amazing personalities and I just really can't put into words how much all of this means to me!!! Thank you, truly thank you!! ~ Ellie" 

We gave Ellie a small gift, but the truth is, she has given us a much greater gift. She has shown us how to stay positive in the face of so many obstacles, to live life to the fullest, and to always dream big. We are the ones honored to have Ellie as a "Feel Better Campaign" recipient and we can't thank Ellie and her mother enough for reaching out to us. Ellie's fighting spirit, huge heart, and positive attitude have touched us deeply.

Now we need YOUR help! Ellie has recently been re-admitted to the hospital and could use some good thoughts and prayers.

We would love if you could write some words of encouragement on our Facebook post as Ellie follows along. Ellie is always one to smile, even when she is feeling down, but let's help make that smile much bigger by letting her know there are people thinking about her! It just takes two easy steps:

1. "LIKE" our Facebook post because we feel like each LIKE is the same as giving sweet Ellie a nice big hug!

2. COMMENT on our Facebook post so she can read each message and feel the love and support surrounding her.

You all have always pulled through for our Annie & Isabel warriors so I can't wait to see us all do it again and imagine Ellie smiling with each message! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts (and Ellie's too).