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|SMILES FOR ANNABELLE (standard:non fiction, 856 words)|
|Author: Marsha||Added: Mar 15 2002||Views/Reads: 2055/1||Story 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. Tweet
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