“There are moments that the words don’t reach. There is suffering too terrible to name. You hold your child as tight as you can and push away the unimaginable.” – Lin-Manuel Miranda
December – a magical time of the year when people are focused on what Santa is going to bring their kids. We don’t even wait for December anymore. Christmas shopping starts in November, before Thanksgiving, and takes on a life of its own come Black Friday. We decorate our homes, our yards, even our cars!
What we forget is there are families that spend the holidays in the hospital with their sick kids. Most of these kids are fighting unimaginable battles – not such a magical time. Time stands still for these families as they see their kids fighting for their lives.
There is an amazing group of volunteers in Nonahood called L.O.V.E. for Nona: Ladies Organized for Volunteer Efforts. This organization was founded by Lindsay LaRouche, neighbor and owner of the Nona Tap Room. The group gives its members the opportunity to be the change they want to see in the world and to contribute to different causes on a monthly basis. The group meets every first Thursday of the month. Each month, the group picks something to contribute to and bring to the next meeting. One of their founding members, Megan Geers, suggested for the group to contribute to The Greyson Project for its December meeting. Megan is an industrial and system engineer by day, a 24/7 wife and mom to a 6-year-old boy who keeps her very busy. She shared with me that she grew up with very little money, and every day she wakes up she is very thankful and blessed when she looks around at the life she has worked really hard to achieve. She loves L.O.V.E. for Nona and the opportunity it provides to work with a group of amazing women giving back to the community.
When Megan brought this up, we asked her why The Greyson Project? Here’s her reply:
“Our Nona community has come together on a lot of projects to help out our fellow neighbors, so I asked my friend if I could head up collecting for Nemours and was fairly confident that we could meet the 75-bag goal that Nemours had given us [for holiday bags]. But I don’t want the Nona community to stop there. Yes, Nemours is the local hospital here in Lake Nona, but so many of our residents have been to Arnold Palmer or Florida Hospital as well. Once we crush the 75-bag goal, any bags donated will help out another children’s hospital that hasn’t met their goal yet. The goal for Arnold Palmer is 125 bags and Florida Hospital is 200 bags. The thought of more than 400 children across Central Florida who will be spending the holidays in the hospital just breaks my heart.”
What is The Greyson Project?
Their mission: “To bring joy to children and their families spending holidays in hospitals across the country.”
To understand its purpose, you need to understand its story. In 2010, Greyson’s parents admitted their infant son into Arnold Palmer Hospital and ended up staying an extended time there through the holiday season. A friend went to visit them in the hospital and noticed that their room was the only room decorated for the holidays. They had received a care package with decorations to make the room feel a little more like a home for the holidays. In February 2011, Greyson passed away, shortly after his first birthday. It wasn’t until 2015 when that friend who noticed the room was decorated had the idea to collect holiday bags filled with decorations and activities to bring a little cheer during a very difficult time for families. The Greyson Project was born, as a tribute to Greyson.
In its first year, 2015, they collected a total of 71 bags that were delivered to two major hospitals in the Orlando area. In 2016, they collected 495 bags and delivered to nine hospitals in five different states. How many rooms they will be able to add some cheer in 2017 remains to be seen! However, they have drop-off locations across 13 states, collecting for 25 hospitals!
L.O.V.E. for Nona collected more than 30 bags, and they have drop-off collection points around the Nonahood to make it to at least 75 bags and cover Nemours!
“There are moments that the words don’t reach. There’s a grace too powerful to name. We push away what we can never understand, we push away the unimaginable.” – Lin-Manuel Miranda
You can bring some joy to these kids and families. If you want to get involved with L.O.V.E. for Nona, visit their Facebook page. If you want to get involved with The Greyson Project, visit their website at www.thegreysonproject.org.