Parents, big brother (with enthesitis-related JA), and warrior sharing our perspectives of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, a painful autoimmune illness affecting joints & internal organs. JA affects 300,000 children in the US. Many also have other autoimmune illnesses. There are multiple forms of JA; some less severe than others. Parker has systemic onset JA with overlap syndrome, hypogammaglobulinemia, severe allergies and asthma. We proudly pound at JA together, HOPING for a cure!
There are really amazing big-hearted people in this
world!I have been blessed to meet one
such person, Helene Graziano.Helene heard
about Parker through a friend of mine who was sharing to raise awareness about
juvenile arthritis.My friend, Denise,
told Helene about Parker’s giving heart and how another mom, Dawn Veselka, and
I had started a non-profit to benefit children with chronic illness like Parker
and Sadie (Dawn’s daughter).
Helene was very excited to hear about this because she
has a business called Helene’s Papercrafting with
“Stampin’ Up”.Their new theme is “Making
the Difference”.Well, this new theme
lead her to recruit her family’s help and set up a weekend card crafting
marathon to benefit our non-profit, the High-5-Club.Helene wanted to make a difference for
children with chronic illness like Parker and their families.
Rochelle giving Helene a
Now, what you need to understand is that Dawn and I have
been working hard just to jump start High-5-Club and we only have a Facebook
and a website landing page, www.high-5-club.com, so far.We are a brand new non-profit with a 501c3.We are still just trying to get everything
lined up and along comes Helene who made High-5-Club her first official benefit
event!I just couldn’t believe it!
I went to the final of four card making sessions that she
hosted.As soon as I entered, I could feel
the warmth of her heart.Helene and her
daughter greeted us all and guided us through such fun card crafts.I knew I was there because of the benefit,
but what I didn’t know was what fun it would be.It was like I was transported away from my
stress and I found myself relaxing, giggling, teasing, and conversing with an
amazing group of women who were all there, not only to learn and craft, but to
also give back to their community and make a difference. I am thankful to each and every one of them.
At one point, Helene shared why she went into this
business and she shared that she was drawn to it because she was a social
worker; and what she liked about paper crafting was that it allowed for her to
build relationships.Her words resonated
with me a great deal and as she spoke about how impressed she was with children
like Parker; she took my breath away.She was incredibly genuine and in that moment I was thinking how we are
all interconnected and the relationships we build are the greatest gifts in
this world.The human spirit…the love we
share…this is what pushes us on.
Helene donated $600 to the High-5-Club.A huge “high five” goes out to her for our official
first benefit and first donation. Yet, Helene has given much more through her
kindness. We are so very thankful.