The month of November was extremely busy for Love, Olivia. We held fundraising events at 3 different venues as well as continued to campaign for the Christmas Ornaments and Holiday Cheer Baskets. The following is a summary of November’s activity:
Tuesday, November 10, 2009 – Rocklin MOM’S Christmas Boutique - The boutique was hopping!! Lots of foot traffic and huge hearts!! We sold clothing and accessories to further benefit special needs families. However, our efforts were focused on distributing the ornaments on the Christmas tree.
The boutique Christmas tree contained 60 ornaments representing the Christmas wishes of children with cancer and other severe illnesses and disabilities. Love, Olivia coordinated obtaining the children’s wishes with Easter Seals, Placer County of Ed, an Alta Regional Occupational Therapist, and Michelle Chunn heading up the “Adopt a Cancer Child for Christmas Program”. We are happy to say all the ornaments were taken either at the boutique or soon thereafter!! Meaning that all 60 children will receive their Christmas wish!! The Christmas presents are currently being received and distributed to these children.
Friday, November 13, 2009 – WarmLine Family Resource Center – We held a holiday sale for special needs families at WarmLine in Roseville. It wasn’t a big selling day for Love, Olivia, but we made a connection with a special parent who was very supportive of the Love, Olivia efforts. We hope that we can provide further services and support to families through WarmLine.
Saturday, November 21, 2009 – Easter Seals – Easter Seals was extremely accommodating by offering Love, Olivia to utilize its training facility for a Saturday sale. We arrived bright and early. It was a spacious facility - lots of room to display Love, Olivia clothing, toys, shoes, books, etc.
We sold mostly clothes, but we made further connections in our community. Additionally, we received donations from very gracious individuals. The highlight of the day came towards the end of the sale - when a very kind and astute woman gently grabbed my hand and with her teary eyes said to me…
“You are blessing many. You too will be blessed”. Her words touched my soul and left me speechless. I graciously thanked her.
Cheesecake Sales Supporting Love, Olivia Efforts!!
In addition to the above events, we were very surprised to receive donation checks from Columbus, Ohio for our Holiday Cheer Basket campaign.
One of our family members works at a Flying J restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. In early November, this particular Flying J’s had an over abundant amount of Cheesecakes. The waiters and waitresses were told that the cheesecakes must sell within a couple of days. The sales were not going well until our family member came up with an idea…
She rallied up the waiters and waitresses to ask if they would be willing to donate their tips to Love, Olivia if their table bought a piece of cheesecake. They loved the idea and began to advise customers of the arrangement. The cheesecake slices began selling! Some customers bought whole cheesecakes verses a slice! Within a day, all of the cheesecakes were sold! The manager was so impressed with their efforts that he gave a donation to Love, Olivia from the restaurant. We were so surprised when we received the donation checks!!
We are very, very grateful to the community, our family, friends, neighbors, and many others who have supported our efforts thus far. Thank you for your gracious donations of clothing, toys, books, accessories, cash donations, and gift cards. Your thoughtfulness will benefit many special needs children and their families.
WE ARE HAPPY TO REPORT THAT 60+ CHILDREN WILL RECEIVE THEIR CHRISTMAS WISHES THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. ADDITIONALLY, 5 SPECIAL NEEDS FAMILIES ARE RECEIVING LOVE, OLIVIA HOLIDAY CHEER BASKETS!!
We wish everyone very HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!
We are happy to announce that Love, Olivia has been invited to be a vendor at the 2009 Rocklin First Baptist Church Christmas Boutique hosted by the Rocklin MOMS Club!!
This is an annual boutique that includes a variety of vendors including Cookie Lee, Silpada Designs, Discovery Toys, Uppercase Living, TT's Tutus, and much more! Most of this year's proceeds will benefit families in need during the holiday season. Last year, the Rocklin MOMS club provided Christmas trees, dinners, and toys to several families.
This year, the boutique will have a Christmas tree containing ornaments that display Christmas wishes of special needs children. These children have illnesses and disabilities such as Leukemia, Down Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, and many other severe conditions. Unfortunately, their family's Christmas celebrations will be scaled back this year due to the economy and other factors. In addition to the Christmas tree, Love, Olivia will use its boutique proceeds to further assist special needs families with grocery gift cards, toys and clothing through its Holiday Cheer basket campaign.
Please grab friends and family for a night of shopping and giving!! We look look forward to seeing you!! BOUTIQUE DETAILS...
Tuesday, November 10th, 5pm - 9pm
First Baptist Church
5425 Coronado Way
On Saturday, October 10th, “rise and shine” came at 4:30am. We all agreed that we needed to get an early start in preparation for the 7:00am yard sale. The air was VERY crisp, but with hot Starbucks coffees in hand we were able to stay warm and be somewhat functional. With TREMENDOUS EFFORTS of our friends, we were ready for business right at 7am.
Sharply at 7am, we had our first customer! A quick looker on a mission for certain books. Unfortunately, we didn’t have it in stock at this sale. Rats! Then, minutes of silence – I think we could hear the crickets. I had a flashback to the silence at Denio’s and I started to panic. “Would this be a total flop? Would people stop by?” It must have been the “calm before the storm”, as minutes after these thoughts swirled through my head…
The crowds appeared!! We had a steady stream of people for almost 3 hours. Even people driving a moving van came to the yard sale, snatching up “big ticket items” left and right. By 11:00am, we were completed depleted of strollers, exersaucers, and many toys. By the time we wrapped up (2:00ish), we were blown away…
to realize that we raised $706.00!! We had a target of $350 - $400. We completely exceeded the expectations of the yard sale!! We were absolutely thrilled with the outcome!!
Not only was the yard sale a success, but we met several amazing special needs parents. These parents shared very sensitive, personal, and emotional stories with us. We felt a very special connection to each of these parents and hope to have future correspondence with them.
Additionally, we made a concerted effort to further raise awareness in our community. We provided flyers, web site details, and shared our own personal experiences and inspirations. We were encouraged to hear that many people were interested in making a difference including supporting Love, Olivia efforts during the holidays.
We are happy to advise that half of the yard sale proceeds will go directly to Malaysia Miller’s family. (Malaysia’s inspirational story and picture are listed below). The other half will go directly into the Love, Olivia charity to support other special needs families.
My name is Eurasia. I am a single mother of two lovely girls and one brand new grandson. The last few years of our lives have been difficult. I took a pretty big pay cut when I took a position at Elk Grove Unified School District in January 2004. I worked with families of different cultures and children with different disabilities. It was an awesome job and I loved it, however, we lost a lot including my vehicle that was repossessed.
Malaysia Laray Miller, was born on July 14th 2007 with Williams Syndrome, which was not diagnosed until September 2008. She was my second child and my little angel. Malaysia was born with a heart murmur. The doctors said that Malaysia was ok and the murmur would possibly go away with time, but there was no guarantee. Malaysia had a difficult time sleeping and breathing at night and I would stay up worrying about her. I was eventually told that Malaysia was actually suffering with Pulmonary Artery Stenosis and that she needed surgery right away. Malaysia had her first surgery on December 10th 2007 to help correct the problem with her heart. Malaysia had a second surgery on February 14th,2009 for her umbilical hernia which was abnormally large, and her tonsils and adenoids which helped her breath better through the night. Williams Syndrome is a rare condition caused by missing genes from chromosome 7. Malaysia will live with minor to moderate retardation, learning difficulties, distinctive facial appearance, and a unique personality that combines overfriendliness and high levels of empathy with anxiety. The most significant medical problem with WS cardiovascular disease is caused by narrowed arteries. More than 50% of WS children have attention deficit disorder, and 50% have specific phobias, such as fear of loud noises. People with WS require regular cardiovascular monitoring for potential medical problems, such as symptomatic narrowing of the blood vessels, high blood pressure, and heart failure.
Malaysia has changed my life for the better. She is truly an angel. Although I have been blessed with employment, my family is still faced with hardships. As a state employee, I am currently furloughed 3 times a month which is a 15% pay cut. It’s difficult, but I am happy to be employed and to be with my children.
Many special needs families are financially struggling due to the economy, medical expenses, and reductions in benefits. The costs of health care, therapies, and day to day living for these families are astronomical. We have spoken to several families directly regarding their financial concerns. The common denominator seems to be “how will I pay for groceries, gas, and provide my children with holiday gifts?”. We need your help to provide some relief and put Holiday Cheer into these special needs families’ homes!! The following holiday campaigns are ways you can help support your local community as well as make a difference this season...
Love, Olivia – Holiday Cheer Gift Baskets
This season, Love Olivia has a goal to deliver 3 holiday cheer gift baskets containing a $100 grocery certificate, $25 gas gift card, and toys or clothing for each child. Each basket will be worth $200. If you are interested in providing certificates, gift cards, toys, etc., please contact Love, Olivia directly at 916-752-8192 or send a mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Easter Seals – Families Helping Families Support Fund
Each year, Easter Seals purchases toys for all of the families in need in their program for the holidays. They pick the families most in need and purchase toys, clothing, etc. for those children. They typically end up pulling together a large bag of goodies for each child. They also give gift certificates for groceries and Target to the parents. If you are interested in making a donation to Easter Seals, please contact them at http://superiorca.easterseals.com.
Adopt a Cancer Child for Christmas
Michelle Churn is a mom of a 3 year old boy, Cole, who has Lymphoma. (You can read Cole's story at www.caringbridge.org/visit/chunn). Michelle wants to ensure that children similar to Cole have a Christmas, and thus she has created Adopt a Cancer Child for Christmas. If you are interested in details of providing a gift to a child through the Adopt a Cancer Child program, please feel free to contact Michelle at 916-224-4022 or email her at email@example.com.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!! Love, Olivia is hosting a Yard Sale to benefit special needs families!! The Yard Sale will be held from 7am – 1pm on Saturday, October 10th at 2303 Heron Ct, Rocklin, California. The Yard Sale will have strong emphasis on children’s clothing, toys, and accessories. However, the Yard Sale will also have lots of other previously loved goodies for sale.
If you have any items that you wish to donate, please feel free to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 916-752-8192.
At 5:15am on Saturday, September 12, 2009, Cheri Pryor, Kjell, sick little Olivia, and I left our house with 2 truck loads of children’s apparel, toys, and books. Additionally, Cheri brought along 2 very stable clothing racks. After the trucks were unloaded, Kjell and Olivia headed home while Cheri and I prepared for “business”.
It was a LONG MORNING until about 9ish. It was then that we sold a pair of shoes! “Woo-hoo” we shouted!! Throughout the day, we sold various clothing and toys. It wasn’t a significant impact, but every little bit helps especially given the fact that for each item sold, we are donating an item to a special needs family.
As I was sitting there, I was watching people purchase tools, antiques, and fruit. It dawned on me that folks really don’t go to Denio’s seeking out children’s apparel. It may have not been a great selling outcome, but we handed out several Love, Olivia flyers that explained the mission and vision of the company. I feel we made connections with several visitors. I am hopeful that they will further explore the web site and this blog.
We are gearing up to make our first appearance at Denio’s Farmer’s Market in Roseville, California on Saturday, September 12, 2009. Friends and family are pitching in cleaning clothes & toys, tagging items, gather equipment, etc. Additionally, significant efforts and support are underway for the completion of the web site.
We hope that our presence at Denio’s will further promote our vision and obtain additional community support for special needs families. We will provide flyers and our Love, Olivia buttons to those who stop by our booth. If you are in the area, please stop by to visit!! We would love to see you!!
The First Recipients of Love, Olivia! I'm so happy and proud to announce that the first baskets have been delivered! It was heartwarming and emotional to say the least. Because of all the outpouring of love and compassion from our friends, families and Easter Seals, it happened.
Below you will find the stories of the two families who benefited this week. Take a moment to read and please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they continue on their special journeys.
Karen Thernka and Kjell Framnes
Joseph Seaverson has been diagnosed with a rare and terminal seizure disorder. Additionally, Joseph is starting to go blind. He has surpassed his Dr.’s expectations in terms of his life span thus far. He is currently 2 ½ years old. His family has struggled financially for years. The staff at Easter Seals pitched in last year and got a plane ticket for his mom to take him to her home country so that his grandparents could see him for the first time before he passes away. Apparently dad just lost his job, so the financial troubles that the family has experienced will be getting even worse. Joseph has extensive medical expenses due to his condition, so any help at all whether clothing, toys, groceries, financial is greatly appreciated by this family.
Paul was born on March 25, 2008, however, he began demanding attention well before that. Paul was diagnosed with hydrothorax, plural effusions or fluid build-up in his chest cavity inside the womb. There was so much fluid that it began causing heart failure. The doctors went in immediately with a very long needle through his mother’s abdomen, into his chest and removed the fluid. This only helped Paul for a few days, so the doctors entered his tiny, unborn body once again, this time to place a shunt in between his ribs to serve as a sort of drainage tube for the rest of the pregnancy. The shunt worked like a charm and Paul was born full term with Down syndrome. After his birth he remained in the NICU for two months. He had a severe heart defect which greatly affected his energy level and left him too tired even to eat. A gastronomy tube was finally placed to help with the feeding issues and he came home, not as a new born but as a two month old infant. At four months of age Paul was big enough and strong enough to have open heart surgery. His energy level instantly increased and he began rolling over a week after the surgery. Not long after that Paul caught RSV, a nasty respiratory virus that took over his lungs, caused pneumonia, and almost claimed his life. After a month in the PICU on the ventilator, Paul was in and out of the hospital for the next four months battling both strains of flu, Steven-Johnsons (a severe allergic reaction to antibiotics), and dehydration. The most amazing part of his story is not that he experienced all of this by the age of one, nor is it that he survived so many life threatening ordeals. The most amazing thing about Paul is his smile. No matter how many doctors he meets or how many times he gets poked with needles or how many therapy sessions he endures each week, he greets everyone he meets with a huge smile and instantly captures their hearts. Paul has been such a blessing to our family and has no bigger fan than his two year old sister. He has taught us patience, faith, unconditional love, and the true meaning of strength. We are only beginning to understand the great power of the extra chromosome and look forward to the wonderful things it will bring to our family.