Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gratitude That Made Me Gulp

On Saturday I found a letter in the mail that looked like a holiday card (isn't it fun to open mail this month?).  I recognized the surname in the return address area and ripped open the envelope in anticipation. 

It was a thank-you card.  It was a thank-you card from Florence's parents, the cousin of one of my close friends from college and his wife.  It was a card from their family, expressing gratitude for a donation I made in 2010 to COTA, the Children's Organ Transplant Association. 

It was the kind of thank-you note I suggested writing a few weeks ago.  Except that this note came from the parents of a little six-year-old girl who died in March of a rare disease called autoimmune encephalitis.  Florence's spark, and her life and her battle, inspired all sorts of support (see Mom-101's plea on behalf of her family here and here and here, and the COTA page to read Florence's story). 

Her family's blog is a poignant and inspiring glimpse of their journey with Florence, her big sister, and each other.  And still, they March Forth (as they plan an event to honor Florence that "evokes moving forward, focusing on children, improving medical care, curing rare diseases, and helping families and kids.") 

I imagine Florence's mom and dad writing hundreds of notes of gratitude to donors and supporters during a season when many of us are scribbling signatures on photocards featuring healthy families. 

They're reaching out to their village. 

In this time of giving, here are two ways to honor the life of Florence and other children needing  transplants:

Duke's Pediatric Bone Marrow Unit's Family Support Program:  Checks should be made out to Duke University with "In Memory of Florence McDow" in the memo line. They should be mailed to:

Family Support Program
Duke University Medical Center
1400 Morreene Rd.
Durham, NC 27705

You can also donate to COTA (Children's Organ Transplant Association) here

Thank YOU, McDow family.

1 comment:

Marisa Reichardt said...

Thank you for always putting things in perspective and doing it so beautifully. Your line about the holiday cards with photos of healthy families is a poignant one. I would love to donate to this wonderful cause.