First, John and I want to publicly thank and acknowledge all the individuals who so graciously and freely contributed their time, talent, energy, efforts, brainstorming, tears, clean up, transfer and sheer physical exhaustion into planning, helping and successfully pulling off Hope’s Celebration of Life and subsequent transfer of her beautiful belongings to her final viewing at Spring Grove. John and I couldn’t have sent off our little Hopey Girl without your help and contributions and it has left a deep and lasting impact on our hearts. We kindly ask for your patience as we work on more formal thanks.
It wouldn’t be an understatement to say John and I are living through the worst possible pain a human can endure. We’ve been undeniably changed by Hope, as people, as parents and as a couple – and all for the better. As the days continue to pass and the hours feel more and more real and empty, we are moved to find a way to keep our girl’s spirit near our hearts and help her inspiring story continue to spread its wings.
The first opportunity that presented itself was the LifeCenter Organ Donation 2020 Calendar. Hope was selected as a participant, the youngest in 2020, and we participated in a photo and videoshoot where we selected the one word that transplant meant to us – so of course we picked Hope. After learning of Hope’s passing, LifeCenter gently reached out to ask if we were still comfortable with her inclusion in the calendar, to which we immediately said yes. In addition, LifeCenter dedicated the entire 2020 Calendar to Hope. You can see the calendar snapshot below. If you would like a copy of the calendar, contact us here with your name and how to get it to you (e.g. mail, delivered through a friend or family member etc.).
We mentioned that there was also a videoshoot along with this. Each family chose a word and spoke about it. You can scroll down to view this video, as well.
The Breakfast even made the news! Check out the story here:
If you actually clicked on that clip and watched the video, you may have noticed that there is a shot of me speaking at a podium. Someone very close to Hope’s story inadvertently volunteered me to speak at the Breakfast where the 2020 Calendar would be unveiled to the surprise of both myself and LifeCenter (thanks MaryKay!). And while it wasn’t originally in LifeCenter’s plan or my plan, I felt moved by Hope to put on my big girl panties and share her light and our dedication to being advocates for organ donation. Thanks to Alan and Kathy for capturing this so you can watch below, titled Hope Made Me a Millionaire. I hope you enjoy.
Beyond our continued involvement with CCHMC and LifeCenter, we want to do more to keep Hope’s legacy living and growing. We’ve needed some time to contemplate the various ways that we could honor Hope’s spirit, or help a child like her or experiences/services that would have made hospital life more bearable. We’ve decided to share a few of these ideas with those that cherished her journey on Earth. The first is a save the date! Next year we will celebrate Hope’s life with a memorial service on the evening of her birthday, Saturday, July 25, 2020. So if you loved Hope and want to join us (more details to come) just go ahead and block the evening of July 25th!
We will also have sponsored projects where people can volunteer to participate in service opportunities that will better the lives of children like Hope and families like ours. Many people already participated in the very first one of these projects that the Celebration of Life ladies took the initiative to start: collecting books that we will donate to Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute complete with her very own unicorn book label. It’s amazing that we’ve already collected over 200 children’s books to share! Thank you to everyone who generously participated!
The next idea we owe to John’s cousin Jill. She shared an observation from the Celebration of Life about what exactly it was that Hope seemed to do to those around her: Hope naturally brought out a more pure, kind and generous spirit in others; and in today’s world, who doesn’t need more of that? She shared that she was struck by the observation that Hope’s name could stand for Helping Other People Everyday.
With this in mind, we are going to develop a platform where we can all share with one another a time or moment where Hope’s memory inspired us to help someone called Stories of Hope. So if you have a moment that Hope inspired in your life, an act of kindness, or a story related to her, hold on to it or share it with us here because we’ll soon have a place to share this where her legacy can inspire all of us to do more to help one another each day.
Stay tuned for more details and be sure to stay subscribed to the blog here, where we’ll share updates to the celebration on July 25th as well as the new platform.
With Love & Gratitude – Tess & John