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SMILES FOR ANNABELLE (standard:non fiction, 856 words)
Author: MarshaAdded: Mar 15 2002Views/Reads: 2056/1Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A tiny, adorable blonde three year old who lost an eye to cancer finds a reason to smile!
 



A tiny, two-year-old blonde,  recovering from surgical removal of her
cancerous left eye, discovers in her mailbox a brightly colored package 
decorated with a big sticker of hugging bears under a rainbow. Tearing 
open the box, Belle exclaims "Mama, look, it's teddy bears!" The bears 
(and the package of gifts) accomplish something that hasn't happened in 
quite a while: Annabelle smiles! 

Belle's smile was made possible by THE HUGS AND HOPE CLUB, founded by
Marsha Jordan, a disabled grandma in northern Wisconsin. The program 
sends free "goodie" packages to children with life-threatening 
illnesses. 

"Children shouldn't have to suffer," said Jordan "but unfortunately,
many of them are very sick and have little joy in their lives. I wanted 
to reach out to them and bring them a little more happiness. I try to 
make them feel special by letting them know that they are cared about 
and prayed for." 

The HUGS AND HOPE CLUB helps not only the children feel better, but
their parents as well. Parents receive much needed moral support and 
encouragement from the club's 500+ volunteers. Because most friends 
back away when a family has a sick child, the friendship offered by the 
club's "Hug Givers and Hope Restorers" is invaluable to discouraged 
parents. Parents appreciate knowing that club members pray for their 
family. Through the club's chat group,families can communicate, share 
ideas, encourage one another and form endearing friendships. 

Often, through the efforts of the club, families' financial needs are
also met. This helps to relieve some of the stress of parents at a time 
when their child should be their only concern. Member of the Hugs and 
Hope Club organize fund-raising benefits for families in need; and the 
group connects families with children's charities and other 
organizations that offer help to pediatric  patients. Jordan considers 
the Hugs and Hope Club "A link between hurting families and those who 
can meet their needs." The club and its founder were recently honored 
as "Angel of the Month" on the Her Angels.com web site. The recognition 
goes to individuals and organizations that do outstanding work to help 
children.  Jordan was also honored recently by being added to the elite 
group "Phenomenal Women of the Web." 

Jordan has always cared about sick children and tried to help them.
After becoming disabled by Lupus, she created THE HUGS AND HOPE CLUB  
to network with others who wanted to help too. The site is located at 
www.hugsandhope.com, and it features photos and stories of sick 
children. Visitors to the site mail cards and small gifts to the 
featured children each month. 

The Hugs and Hope program relies upon the support of individual
volunteers and sponsoring organizations: the people who write to the 
children as well as those who donate to the cause in other ways. 

Musicians contribute children's music, publishers donate books, sewers
send blankets, dolls, and teddy bears. 

"Anyone can help," says Jordan. "Whatever your talent, you can use it to
benefit suffering children or their families. Whether it's creating 
graphics for the website, organizing benefits, or just sending an 
encouraging note to a discouraged parent or a Barney video to a 
hospitalized child, it all helps; and it all makes a difference in the 
lives of these children." 

Interested sponsors or those wanting to learn more about the program are
encouraged to visit the website at http://www.hugsandhope.com. 

############## 

Author, Marsha Jordan, is Founder of The HUGS AND HOPE FOUNDATION for
Sick Children.  She is a disabled grandma who lives in the northwoods 
of Wisconsin with her husband of 26 years and their toy poodle, King 
Louie, who rules the household with an iron paw. Once an active 
volunteer in many scouting, school, community and church activities, 
Jordan was an energetic homeschooling mom who also worked as a 
secretary until her life took a sharp turn. Her busy schedule came to a 
screeching halt when she fell victim to an auto-immune disease which 
struck her blind for several months. She knows how it feels to be sick, 
in pain, frustrated, and afraid. When she encountered this roadblock, 
God steered her into a U-turn, but she continued full speed ahead in a 
new direction. Through her Hugs and Hope Club, Jordan strives to send a 
message not just to suffering families, but to all people that we don't 
have to face life's problems alone. God cares about our pain and 
desires to be intimately involved in our lives. He wants to help us 
through the struggles and have a personal relationship with each of us! 
Jordan likes to remind people that God has a plan for each life. No one 
is insignificant. And God can do great things with you, even if you 
lack great talent. It is her earnest prayer that hurting people will 
come to know the awesome love, peace, and joy available to those who 
seek God and serve Him. Jordan enjoys creating web pages, collecting 
and decorating with antiques, rubber stamping, and having fun with her 
three year old grandson, Cobi, who is the light of her life.  She's 
been published in 29 online newsletters and ezines including Heart 
Warmers and Warm Fuzzy Stories. 


   


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