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|THIS GRANDMA'S HUGS REACH AROUND THE WORLD (standard:non fiction, 1159 words)|
|Author: Marsha||Added: Mar 15 2002||Views/Reads: 2157/1178||Story 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.|
THIS GRANDMA'S HUGS REACH AROUND THE WORLD 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 featured. 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? Click here to read the rest of this story (47 more lines)
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