Do you know Forrest Spence??

Pretty much every person in the world has heard of St. Jude, every one in our area knows Lebonheur children's hospital, and you probably donate to one or both of these hospitals. How many of you have heard of the Forrest Spence Fund? Probably not many. I'm not going to lie I had never heard of it until someone referred us to them. I'm going to tell you a little bit about them.........all of this information came from in case you want to check them out and start donating!!

The Forrest Spence Fund begins with the story of Brittany and David Spence's first child Robert Forrest Spence, born on September 10, 2007. Shortly after birth Forrest developed complications and was transported to the PICU at Lebonheur Children's hospital where he fought for his life for 55 days before his illness overtook him. While in PICU, Forrest and his family underwent an indescribable journey of highs and lows. Amidst the daily struggles, the Spences were met with a compassion and love that gave them hope and helped them survive the most difficult journey of their lives. In light of this experience, the Forrest Spence Fund was founded to assist with the non-medical needs of critically or chronically ill children and their families throughout the Mid-South.

The fund strives to identify specific needs of families who are coping with critically or chronically ill children. As an introduction, they supply patients and families with care baskets that include helpful supplies for their stay in the hospital. These baskets provide items that are comforting and necessary during their stay. Also the baskets let the families know that the fund is available to them as a resource. Each basket includes information about the Fund and establishes an open line of communication to establish a relationship with the family. For the families that contact them or establish a relationship, they look for ways to support them in the hospital or at home, based on their unique situation. For example, in the past they have provided Christmas gifts, Thanksgiving meals and Christmas meals in the hospital, Christian Faith-based grief counseling at their expense, gas cards for the long drive to and from the hospital, purchased cribs, carseats, and other necessities for the child, and covering the cost of a phone bill and or electricity bill. 

How can we help??

There are several ways that you can help in supporting the Forrest Spence Fund. First you could always make a donation. An objective of the Forrest Spence Fund is to grow solutions larger than the needs presented to them. The Fund is strictly volunteer, meaning 100% of the financial support goes directly to meet the non-medical needs of the ill children as well as their families. A few specific ways you can contribute are:
*Sponsor Bereavement counseling for a Family $95
*Sponsor a family basket $125
* Sponsor a Lactation tote and kit $30
* Sponsor a hands free breast feeding bra $40
* Sponsor a family with chronically or critically ill child
* Sponsor a hospital need

Another idea is to contact the Fund and get a list of stuff they put in the family basket. At your next family gathering have each guest bring an item for the basket from the list. 
-Have a children's book drive. (this is a really neat idea! I am thinking about doing this!)
-Make and decorate notecards to be used in the baskets. 
-Collect family appropriate magazines for baskets

This is a Fund that has a goal to help others, and make a difference in people's lives. While they were unable to help us because our sweet Mary Martin was not in the hospital, I know they would have been there for us if she had been in the hospital long term. Even though they didn't help us doesn't mean we can't help them. Philippians 2:4 says "do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." Hebrews 13:16 says "do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Anything can happen to anyone at any moment. The Forrest Spence Fund tries to make hard situations a bit better, but they need people to to show support! Find them on Facebook, visit their website, sign up for their 5k, volunteer, and donate! Let's get the word out about the Forrest Spence Fund and honor baby Forrest! All it takes is one person putting it out there and praying that it spreads like a wild fire! Go "like" their page and let the giving begin!!! And for all of you runners and non-runners go sign up for their 5k this weekend! Please keep those prayers coming for our family. Things will never be better, but things are slowly getting easier. God is good!!