Meet our friend, Ava!

Usually when we share a photo of a sweet kiddo it’s a friend that has received an item from HHH. Today we are thrilled to introduce you to sweet Ava. She celebrated a big birthday (#6!) recently and instead of gifts for herself, she asked for art and craft supplies to gift to kids that could use some extra fun! We love your heart, Ava! Thank you for bringing big smiles to kids in the hospital. ❤️Check out the photo below for a look at what Ava donated and a fun “interview” to get to know her a little better!

A Swing Set for our friend, Jordon!

We were able to provide this swing set for our friend, Jordon! Thank you to our supporters for making this possible. Kendra, Jordon’s mom, tells his story below:

My name is Kendra and I have three children, two with special needs. Jordon (11), my oldest was born at 27 weeks and spent several months in the hospital before coming home for the first time. He has had a total of 11 surgeries and was in and out of the hospital for the first three years of his life. He struggles with mental health issues, and requires a feeding tube for 100% of his nutrition. I always wanted a few children; Jordon’s needs were many and it was around the clock caring for his disabilities, but I went for it anyway. Jordon was just under three years old when Evelyn (8) was born – healthy. I almost didn’t know what to do with a “normal” baby. I found it strange that she was so easy to care for. Then came Roman (6), he was rather colicky and required to be held most of the time. He only slept for 20 minutes at a time, day and night. Testing later found that he is severely ADHD, both with attention problems and sever hyperactivity. He also has sensory processing issues. I met my fiancé, Steve a few years ago, together it is us against the world!

Playing outdoors is what we do best. It is a great outlet for the boys to be free. We enjoy sledding and playing in the snow but most of the warm months we get away camping up north on my step dad’s property. We hike, play baseball, ride bikes, throw a ball to the dogs, and relax at the end of the day at the camp fire.

We are very blessed to be recipients of a gift from Healing with Hope and Happiness. Together we decided that a swing set would be a great addition to our home away from home. It’s nestled in the woods just feet outside of camp, easily viewed from anywhere within camp. This swing set has endless possibilities! The look out deck is equipped with a steering wheel and a telescope directly facing the lake. The swings are not only fun, but also soothing when anxiety sets in, and the rock climbing wall takes just enough strength to burn off excess energy. And a plus, the adults can enjoy this swing set with the kids too!!! The kids love it and there is no doubt in my mind that this swing set will provide hours of entertainment. Thank you HHH!

Thank You Aspen Surgical!

Thank you to our friends at Aspen Surgical for partnering with HHH to provide some bucket buddies to inpatient kids at the children’s hospital! The time you took to personalize each bucket for a child that’s struggling with treatment means more than you can know! The kids are so excited to cook up some fun in their new kitchen too! Your compassion and generosity is inspiring.

Stanley W. Ekstrom Foundation

Healing with Hope and Happiness is the proud recipient of a generous grant from the Stanley W Ekstrom foundation toward our polar plunge fundraising goal.  We are grateful for the SWE Foundation’s support and are excited to use these funds to continue our mission in bringing hope and joy to children dealing with a serious health situation.  Please visit the SWE Foundation website for more information on the great work they continue to do in Mr. Ekstrom’s memory.

Meet Our Friend, Kellen!

Meet Kellen as told by his mom, Mykel:

Kellen was diagnosed at 2 1/2 years old with stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma. He ended up in the ICU after round 1 of chemo due to his tumor punching a hole through his diaphragm and bleeding into his chest cavity.

He underwent several rounds of radiation to hopefully stop the bleeding and needed a chest tube, breathing tube and feeding tube placed. After 6 days, he was released back to the pediatric oncology floor where he had 4 more rounds of chemo that came with all of the usual side effects… mouth sores, pain pumps, nausea, etc. Kellen’s counts did not recover well at all so we never left the hospital (one occasion took 54 days) and after the 5th round of chemo, he had his tumor removed.

When he was diagnosed, the tumor was 8 inches long, but by the time it was removed, it was under an inch. My son weighed 28 lbs and had an 8 inch tumor in his gut. After surgery, he had one more round of chemo and then we got 11 days at home. Next we went in for his bone marrow transplant… not a good time for Kellen!! Or us as parents, watching him suffer!!

He ended up with an infection and we were close to losing him. The doctor allowed his sister in to visit (I personally believe the doctor thought Kellen might not pull through) and she was the best medicine! Kellen sat up and smiled when he saw her! Finally on day 8 following his transplant, he started to recover.

In 10 months of treatment, we spent only 28 days at home. He spent every holiday and his 3rd birthday inpatient.

Kellen’s most recent scans show that he is cancer-free! His broviac (the catheter line used to deliver his chemo, blood products, medicines, etc) was removed recently and he’s ready for some fun! We are so happy to be home and to be enjoying a little freedom!

Healing with Hope and Happiness is thrilled to be able to send Kellen and his family on a swimming trip to Great Wolf Lodge!

Meet Landon!

Adam and Jessica are the proud parents of two precious boys: Landon (6) and Bennett (3). Here is Landon’s story as told by his mom :

In November of 2015, at the age of 5, Landon was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor – Medulloblastoma. He underwent a 13 hour surgery that successfully removed all of the tumor, followed by 30 intensive radiation treatments and 6 months of chemotherapy. He finished treatment in August of 2016 and remains cancer free! He has had to relearn how to walk, talk and eat as a result of the surgery that saved his life. We are so proud of our Incredible Landon!

When Landon was diagnosed, our world was turned upside down. There were definitely more tears than smiles in the beginning. Healing with Hope and Happiness has been amazing to us – they helped brighten our darkest days. The Whitecaps first pitch experience was unbelievable! Definitely an emotional moment to watch your child that couldn’t move his arms and legs just months prior, throw the ball over home plate. He proudly waved to the crowd and really soaked in all of the star treatment that he received day!

Surgery took away Landon’s ability to walk and because of the radiation he received, it’s important that Landon remains protected from the sun. HHH gifted us a wagon that has adjustable seats, cup holders and a nice big shade on top – it fits our needs perfectly and has made it possible for us to go on lots of outdoor adventures. We’ve also made many trips to John Ball Zoo and Frederick Meijer Gardens, all thanks to the generosity of HHH.

We are gearing up for our trip to Great Wolf Lodge this weekend! We have never been and the boys are so looking forward to it! We can’t thank you enough for everything that you have done for us! You have given us precious memories that will last a lifetime and so much hope for our future.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! ❤