Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My birthday wish

For the past little while, I've been dreading my birthday (and Christmas, but that's a story for a different time). My birthday is November 10, a little under a month away. Just the thought of a significant day without my baby girl was enough to make me get teary, and part of me just wanted to ignore the day altogether.

But then I had a thought - why not let this birthday make a difference?

One of my most treasured possessions are the photographs of Ariella that were taken by a Heartfelt photographer, Karen. If you haven't heard of Heartfelt, they organise for professional photographers to come take photographs of babies who are stillborn or premature, and children with serious or terminal illnesses. The incredible thing is that this service is free. Absolutely free. We received over 70 photos on a disc, and around 20 professionally printed. Karen, if you're reading this, thank you.

Photos are such a precious thing to bereaved parents, because in one sense, they are all we have left of our babies. I love being able to flick through Ariella's album, and know that I will never have to worry about forgetting what she looked like or having that memory fade.

The problem is that sometimes it is impossible for a Heartfelt photographer to respond to a request. All the photographers are volunteers, and while they frequently go out of their way to make it to hospitals or homes, sometimes it just cannot be done. Many hospitals do have a camera, so parents can at least get one photo of their precious bub. However, many of these cameras aren't all that great, leaving parents with grainy, fuzzy photos as their only images.

Heartfelt have begun putting together Camera Kits to donate to hospitals that are in need of a better camera. Each kit contains:
*Quality compact camera (engraved) chosen for its ability to work in low light situations and to work closeup
*A compact printer that can be taken into the room so families can be given a print straight away
*Paper and ink supplies
*Camera case
*An inservice from an experienced Heartfelt member

From Hearfelt's website

I want to make this birthday count. How often do we give or receive presents that, while nice, go unused after a while? There has to be a better way. Since I am somewhat dreading this birthday, I wanted to do something to make the day seem worthwhile. And that's when I decided what my birthday wish is this year:

My birthday wish is to raise enough money to donate a camera kit to a hospital in need.

The total cost of a kit is currently $860. It's a lot of money, I know. I have no idea if I will be able to raise enough, but I want to try. Please be assured that even if the total is not reached, the money will still be going to Heartfelt and will contribute to a camera kit.

If you were thinking of buying me a present, would you please put the money towards this instead? If you wanted to buy me a card, please consider donating that $5 to this cause instead. If you had been thinking about donating to an organisation in memory of Ariella, please donate to this cause.

You can donate by going to the mycause fundraising page I have set up by clicking here. The money donated via this site gets sent to Heartfelt monthly, clearly labelled so that Heartfelt know what project the money is for. You can donate on this site using PayPal or a credit card. If you have any troubles, please just send me a note (on my Facebook page or email to loveisdeeperstill AT gmail.com) and I can work something out for you.

I don't know what hospital will receive the kit, and I like that. When Karen donated her time to come to the hospital, take photos and then edit them, she was doing something incredibly kind for people that she didn't know. I like the idea of giving a camera kit to whatever hospital needs it most, whether I have a connection to that place or not.

I know it's a big goal. Maybe it will have to be my "birthday and Christmas wish". I guess we'll see.

**UPDATE - I'm already blown away by donations. The new aim is two camera kits. No matter how much is raised, it will all go to Heartfelt**

**UPDATE TWO - Apparently the PayPal option isn't appearing on the mycause site. If you want to use PayPal, please send me an email (address is further up in this post) and I will reply with my personal PayPal address. Then I will send  that money to Heartfelt on your behalf. Sorry for any inconvenience! **


Julie said...

Woah! Go Larissa. Andrew reckons you are doing a happy waddle dance around your house right now ;)

Larissa said...

Happy tears would be more accurate... And a few excited jumps up and down!

Sarah said...

This is amazing! What a fantastic idea! And so glad the funds are just pouring in <3

Also ... I didn't know that you and Evie are practically birthday buddies - her birthday was 11/8 :)

Larissa said...

We are indeed practically birthday buddies :) I know Evie will be on my mind in the week around my birthday.

I've been so blessed by people's generosity! Two kits have now been covered, and it's working towards a third. So encouraged and blessed.

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