Wow, what an incredible day yesterday was. I think I'm still walking among the clouds.
From the moment we woke up to the moment we crashed last night, everything was so much fun and incredible to see all the ways you helped us honor Noah and spread kindness. There are so many acts of kindness you did that I loved, I'm not sure where to start. I"m grateful for Facebook's posts that allow you to go back in time and reread old posts, I think I'll be going back and rereading what you shared with us for months to come.
While Noah's Kindness Project is technically the first Saturday in October, the reality is that it starts many months before and has grown to be something we find so much happiness and joy in all year round.
Actually right after NKP ends the year before, we start planning for next year. We order supplies, save money to be able to do the acts of kindness and figure out what of the many deserving community service efforts we'd like to try to implement.
This year we purchased coolers with our NKP name on them to give to families in the NICU and Antepartum. We fill the coolers with lots of goodies and care package items that the families might need while they are in the hospital. Campbell's Crew Cares helped us to purchase supplies to put in the cooler and they were able to even provide a gift card to each family for meals while they are in the hospital. The kids like to help stuff the bags.
Another thing we did this year was change our plans for our normal balloon release. For the last three years we've done a balloon release where we write messages to Noah and release them into the air. This year as I was thinking about how bad the balloon release is for the environment, I decided to change the release up a bit and instead we purchased Mylar balloons and tied gift bags to the bottom of them as weights and then we instead delivered 49 of them to the kids at Cardon's Chidren's Hospital.
Here's Isabelle barely able to be seen in the car with the 50 balloons!
And the treats we used to pack into baggies at the bottom of the balloon!
We also take lunch and snacks to the staff in Antepartum and the NICU
Another activity we did was decorate USPS boxes for the troops who are deployed and serving our country. These boxes will be shipped overseas at Christmas.
Here are some of the balloons we shared.
We also made these rainbow crafts and then took them along with some fall pictures to a local nursing home to share with the residents.
And another fun activity was the kindness stones. We are grateful for those who came to our house to decorate them and share them around our community!
On the morning of NKP we got up bright and early and headed downtown to the Phoenix Children's Hospital 5K run/walk. Madelyn was unsure why we were up so early!
When we got downtown we met up with the others who kindly joined our team.
The boys were excited to start off at the front of the running pack.
Most of our Noah's Kindness Project team!
Soon enough the race was off!
Happy to be done!
I think we were all excited to be finished!
Thankful for all who came down to particpate and be a part of the fun that was the PCH event!
Another exciting thing that happened at the race was that Isabelle got to hang with the beautiful ladies who represent the state of Arizona for their different pageant awards.
Isabelle got to take her picture with the girls.
Madelyn wasn't quite sure about why the princess wasn't named Elsa.
After the race we went back to our house where we worked on the crafts!
After crafts and lunch we went to the place where it all started. Banner Desert Medical Center.
Here Melanie and Brandi two of Noah's nurses came along to join us as we donated a cuddle cot to the NICU. This was the gift I was most excited about as I prayed it would be able to help a family, like us, who experienced great loss, and that the cuddle cot could give comfort and more time for family with their baby.
Campbell Faulkner, is an incredible little boy whose faced many medical challenges in his life, and at the age of 12 started his own charity to help give hope. Campbell and his family have been very supportive of our family and thanks to Campbell and his fundraising efforts, they helped us to be able to purchase this gift.
When we got to the NICU the room was filled with our crew of family and friends and the news media, who wanted to hear our story and why we wanted to share the gift.
The stories the news media ran about our donation are below.
And then after we shared our gifts with the NICU we went to the pediatric floors of Cardons to share the gifts with other children and their families going through harder times.
When I talked to the Faulkner family about the Cuddle Cot they became our biggest supporters to help make it happened and they brought together another wonder family, the Colten Cowell Foundation to contribute as well. The family of Colten Cowell is incredible and started the foundation in memory of their young son who passed away. They are now the driving force behind the Batcave that grants wishes to children facing life-challenging medical conditions and they give them an evening of fun to forget about all their worries.
And the fun did not end there, after the hospital, we went back to one of our favorite Feed My Starving Children community service events . We had a great job packing food for starving children and families and always enjoy having such a large group representing NKP.Thank you to all of you who joined us!
This baby is just one of the children who receive the nutrients packaged by volunteers at the FMSC centers. This baby was found thrown in an outhouse bathroom because he was too weak and they didn't think he would make it because he had been starving too long.
They said when they found him, he was within hours or a day of death
And finally before we wrapped up the very busy and meaningful day, we joined back up with Campbells Crew Cares to donate several vehicles full of gifts to share with CASS (Central Arizona Shelter Services), specifically their short term housing apartments for many women and children.
We were honored to get to help collect food and personal items to donate.
Thanks to the many who donated and Campbell's Crew Cares support, we were able to fill their supply shed.
When we finally got home after a day filled with so much joy, love and especially kindness, we walked around almost in shock about how moving that day had been.
As the sun got ready to set, we took our one balloon outside that we had signed with our message to Noah and as our family we released his balloon up into the sky to celebrate and say thank you for all that his life has inspired and created.
When Noah was born so early and we prayed harder than we ever had in our lives that he would survive and overcome the mountainous obstacles in front of him, we felt crushed, like our prayers were unheard and unsure how how to move. It was because of the great love, the thoughtfulness and especially the kindness by so many of you, that we were carried in those hard hard days.
Today I look back on Noah's life and his passing with a completely different perspective than I did in those early days. I still wish he was here instead, but I know that will never be. I now look at his life and I give great thanks. I give thanks for the 12 days we had and that his life while short here, can still be carried on. In each of us, in all of you who support Noah's Kindness Project and in all those who benefit from the acts of kindness you share.
As a mother who carries her child in her heart instead of her arms, one of the most healing and loving acts anyone can do to support her grief is to remember, to honor and to celebrate her missing child along with her living ones.
To so many of you who help us share kindness in Noah's memory... thank you. We are forever grateful.
Finally, I share one of my favorite pictures that you shared with us. This is a picture of my nephew's pre-school class picture who helped participate in Noah's Kindness Project this year. I love this picture for so many reasons. These are the hands that will shape our future. They will be the ones who lead our country. To see the lessons of kindness imparted to them, I hope, it will be something that stays with them for their entire life.
And finally, in this picture I think of Noah. He would have been about this same age had his lived longer. I wish his hand was in this picture. But then I looked at the picture again and realized he is in this picture. His spirit lives on in all those beautiful little hands that help to share kindness in his memory. We are deeply touched.
With deep gratitude and appreciation,
Jarrett and Angie and family