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THIS GRANDMA'S HUGS REACH AROUND THE WORLD (standard:non fiction, 1159 words)
Author: MarshaAdded: Mar 15 2002Views/Reads: 2156/1178Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
One disabled grandma sends hugs to sick children around the globe! You can help spread joy to suffering kids too.


Children shouldn't have to suffer; but, unfortunately, many do.  After
hearing a broken-hearted mom's story of her dying child, I wished that 
I could help. The distraught mother cried, "I want to run into the 
street and scream doesn't anybody care?   Won't somebody do something 
to help me?"  At that moment, I determined that I would "be that 
somebody" for parents like her who had to stand by helplessly and watch 
their little ones suffer.  I understand well the pain these parents 
carry.  When my grandson received third degree burns at one year of 
age, it broke my heart to hear him cry and know there was nothing I 
could do to take away the pain. 

Being disabled, I believed I couldn't do a lot to help families battling
childhood disease and injury, but I knew there must be SOMETHING I 
could do.  I started by extending the hand of friendship to distraught 
parents and offering to listen as they shared their frustrations and 
fears.  I soon discoverd that the power of kindness should never be 
underestimated!  I was shocked to learn what a priceless gift 
friendship is to frightened, isolated parents of sick children.  When a 
child is critically ill, most friends stay away from the family because 
they don't know what to say or how to react.  This is tragic, because 
these parents need emotional support.  I began posting their stories 
along with photos of their children on my website and encouraging 
visitors to the site to offer encouragement and frienship to these 
families.  Before long, I had close to one hundred children's stories 

The Hugs and Hope Club for Sick Children was born in October of 2000.
Now 500+ volunter partners strong, the group of "huggers" is committed 
to putting a little more joy and hope into the lives of suffering 
families.   We spread the message that God cares and nobody has to face 
life's struggles alone.  Club members accomplish this mission by 
sending "happy mail" across the country to cheer sick and injured 
children.  Thousands of cards and packages are mailed each year to 
children who eagerly check their mailbox each day.  The group also 
provides Bibles, encouragement, and a listening ear to disheartened, 
worried parents.  Their motto is "We send hugs and smiles across the 
miles."  Parents tell me that this group has given their family 
something to look forward to. 

People often hear that God loves them, but sometimes they need a person
"with skin on" to demonstrate that love and make it feel real.  That's 
what the volunteer members of Hugs and Hope do.  We call ourselves 
hug-givers and hope-restorers, and the volunteers tell me that they 
benefit at least as much as the families they strive to help. I know 
that helping others is the most rewarding thing I've ever done. 

Many Hugs and Hope Club volunteers are sick or disabled, and that has
proven to be an advantage of a sort. Experiencing pain makes one more 
compassionate.  You can truly offer empathy because you know what it's 
like to be sick, frustrated, and afraid. 

When I lost my eyesight, due to complications of my auto-immune
disease,I battled depression and felt a lack of purpose for my life.   
Ironically though, my disability proved to be a beginning rather than 
an end.  It propelled me into a new direction of focusing on helping 
others.  This has enriched my life. 

I believed that because I was disabled I wasn't of much use to anybody
anymore.  How wrong I was! God had big plans for me! 

What began as a hobby mushroomed into a full-time ministry almost
overnight.  A door had closed for me, but God opened a big window! 

My life proves that God can work through anyone, and he can accomplish
extraordinary things by using ordinary people. 

Becoming disabled threw me a curve; but once I accepted it, I discovered
that my U-turn sent me in the direction that I may have been destined 
for all my life.  I believe I'm doing now what God had intended for me 
all along. 

People from every walk of life eagerly join the efforts of the Hugs and
Hope Club.  What's required to be a messenger of hope for a sick child? 

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