Our nephew, M, was diagnosed with APS Tpye 1 nearly two years ago.
I'll wait here while you go read about what that means.
M is an incredibly vibrant little fellow and his parents, K's sister S and her husband D, took it upon themselves to raise funds to begin medical research to help find a cure for their son's condition.
Yesterday, after weeks of tireless work, they threw an auction wherein donated goods were packaged in gift baskets and people bought raffle tickets for them.
People donated all kinds of wonderful items.
K's other sister's family donated a trip to Florida and each child put together a gift/donation.
Niece S donated three framed photographs she had taken (I just realized I should have bid on them! I love her photos), her sister put together a wonderful basket of scrapbooking materials and their little brother donated a sled with a stuffed animal.
There was a great outpouring of love and support from the community - local businesses gave cakes so refreshments could be served, and there were coupons for massages and haircuts and all manner of services.
There were 200 items being auctioned - mostly coupons or gift certificates and baskets of gifts.
As the rain poured down we all sat waiting.
It was hard wondering how many people would show up. And while the big room in the top floor of the fire house was often populated only by family, people did show up and gave generously.
And though there was definitely a crowd of people who go to these types of events every weekend, people who stayed to the bitter end to see if they won that basket of candles and books for their dollar ticket, most of the people who showed up showed up for the family.
Those people, like my aunt and uncle, bought a healthy amount of tickets, dropped them in random bags and went and hugged relatives.
There were so many moments where people off in a corner or at a table just had quiet words, lent prayers of support, or just looked into each others eyes and said nothing.

The whole family turned out.
Everyone worked so so hard.
I don't know where K's sister got the emotional or physical energy to get through half of what she's dealt with. I know she's not superhuman - I know these past weeks have drained her.
But yesterday was a great success on many levels.
And I was honored to be there.

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Flyers were taped everywhere so that people understood more about APS.

girl basket

I made this basket. I made lots of baskets. I still feel like I didn't do enough.

raffle tickets

I could watch the money box well enough, but am unable to make change.


So. Many. Baskets.

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I had the great pleasure of working for a while with this fellow. K's brother-in-law's brother-in-law. Funny as hell. Cute as a button. I enjoyed his company immensely.


There were some beautiful offerings and some that left me wondering, but there was SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE.


The faces of long gone firefighters watched over us all day.

50 tickets

The 50/50 ticket lady was a gem. As was the pal who spent the day in the fire house kitchen, as were the men who carried heavy tables, and the guy who kept running to the deli and the woman who worked for weeks on donations, and the woman who has known S for years and turned up at the very moment that our energy was fading and injected new life into all of us.

Miraculous things like that happened all day.
While we were loading everything into the firehouse a janitor was emptying the trash.
I was working away and he approached me and pressed a twenty dollar bill into my hand and said: here, start the auction off right.
I was standing in the rain with a sign on the side of the main road when a woman with two toddlers pulled over. I can't go to the auction, she said, will you take a donation?
She had one of the babies hand me a twenty.
Minutes later, another car pulled over near me. A woman ran from the car and gave me her umbrella.

sweeping clouds

Miracles are all around us....

Care to donate? Specify APS type 1.


Paula said…
You made me cry with the eloquent description of your day.

I will say a little prayer for your nephew and your family.
Anonymous said…
We are often humbled by the generosity and gentle kindness of those who surround us in our communities. I wish for the best for your nephew. The baskets looked just lovely.
Anonymous said…
Thank God there are still nice people in this world.
I feel completely useless when I hear of rare diseases and especailly when children are involved.
If my prayer can help, I shall pray very hard for him.
No child should suffer, ever.
Caset said…
my family's friends organized something similar after my brother was in a serious car accident 6 years ago. My parents were both at the hospital 6 hours away with him, and so I was the one to get up and try to thank everyone. Of course, I couldn't get anything through my tears and so a friend read the note my parents had written while I sobbed.
It's incredible how supportive a community can be in times like that. That night is still one of the most poignant in my life and I'll never forget it. My thoughts are with your nephew and your family and my thanks to responsive, caring communities everywhere.
What a wonderful support network you and your family have. It's the kindness of strangers that completes the circle.
Amy A. said…
How wonderful to have so many friends pull together like that.
Anonymous said…
When my friend's son was hit by a car I took all the money our neighbors had donated and bought a ton of gift cards for the parents and grandparents for gas stations and coffee shops to use when they were travelling to and from the hospital. It really made the neighborhood feel like they were doing something for the family.

I held it together until I saw your pic of the beautiful baskets that had obviously been made with so much love. Prayers will be said for the family.
Anonymous said…
If my memory serves me correctly, your family was finding out about APS Type 1 at around the same time that my family was finding out about type 1 diabetes. APS seems scarier to me because so little is known about it.

That sky picture is beautiful.

I wish all the best for K's sister and her family.
Saoirse said…
Wow--all that in just 2 weeks time?! I've organized a LOT of community/charity events and that AMAZES me. Your inlaws must be amazing and the community equally so! Very impressive (and prayers and $$ are going out with your nephew in mind.)
KPB said…
You have to give me more warning if you're going to post a post like that.
I was thinking 'so many baskets' 'so much love' 'so much goodwill' then this:
here, start the auction off right
made me cry instant long lasting tears.
Jennifer said…
Absolutley wonderful! It's so nice when everyone lends a helping hand, or buck or two :)

I have a friend with APS. It's not easy.

jenny said…
Y'know last night I read your post and attributed my weepiness, in part, to giddy exhaustion.

I reread it this morning and found that wasn't the case. Still weepy.

You can usually count on family to assist, whether it's with a donation or a well timed hug.

Coming from strangers it just validates my faith in humanity in general.
Keetha said…
That post made me weepy, too, and gave me cold chills.

Thanks for sharing that. I'll be thinking of them.

Beautiful cloud photo, by the way.
Annagrace said…
This is truly amazing--now I'm keeping even more of your family close to heart. Isn't the internet wonderful that way?

Off the subject (but I'm afraid I don't have a minute to find the right post) I smoke 1-2x/yr. And boy, oh boy, would I ever smoke more if thought i could get away with it! Especially those damn Export-A's.
alice c said…
There are some wonderful, generous people in the world. Sometimes it takes tragic situations to experience that generosity but once experienced it is never forgotten.
Thank you for sharing this part of your life - your little nephew will be a part of our lives too now.
The internet is a very powerful tool for sharing information about rare medical disorders and I hope that his parents will find reason to be hopeful in the future.
Caterina said…
I recently read that American citizens, just us plain folk, are the most generous people on the planet. That we tend to give a nice chunk of our earnings to those in need. But I guess you already knew that :)
Sarah Louise said…
how did I miss this first time around? I gotta run, but I'll come back and re-read. Loved that the firefighters were watching.
Anonymous said…
wow. i ALMOST made it to the end, but here are the tears. i'm off to read the link describing what this affliction is all about...i know it's january now, is it too late to donate? i can put it on my list for this month, which so far includes barack obama, bossy's road trip, and possibly your nephew. let me know if donations are still being accepted.