By now, most of you have experienced at least one of our Love Bombs. Every so often, we pick a cause (anything from awesome projects that need help, to struggling people that need a little extra kindness sent their way), and put a call out to our tribe to try and send a little love in whatever way they can. The idea is to expand the reach of the cause as much as we can, shower support upon them and make someone's day AWESOME.
This week, for our holiday edition, we asked you all to let us know if there was a cause you would like us to consider. Dana Eskes, one of my most cherished clients, would like to tell you the story of the Brann Family. Take it away, Dana!
I do not personally know the Brann family, but they are from my community. The children’s hospital where their sons have been/are being treated is a place my family knows well. We have a son who has been seen there many times over the last 13 years.
I have a very close personal friend who has three adult children. I’ve known her and her children for 14 years and consider them to be an extension of my own family. Her sons were childhood friends with A.J. Brann. My friend’s sons met A.J. through a mutual friend when they were about 10 years old. They were on a Rocketry Team together, and A.J. also played football with one of the boys on a homeschool team. They were good friends for many years. They have shared the Brann family’s story with me, and I am sharing it with you.
The Brann family has been on a heartbreaking journey with FSGS. FSGS is a rare disease that attacks the kidney’s filtering units (glomeruli) causing serious scarring which leads to permanent kidney damage and even failure. FSGS is one of the causes of a serious condition known as Nephrotic Syndrome.
More detailed info on FSGS can be found here: http://nephcure.org/
Taylor was diagnosed with FSGS in January of 2013 at the age of 4. He spent several months courageously fighting the disease, but sadly he passed away from complications of FSGS on May 27, 2013.
In December of 2013, Sebastian was also diagnosed with FSGS. He has been hospitalized many times this past year as he battles this disease. A.J. and Jessica’s parents have been caring for the youngest two children while they have been at the children’s hospital with Sebastian. This week Wednesday (December 17), Sebastian is currently scheduled for a nephrectomy to remove his diseased kidneys. This will be done in hopes to stabilize his condition. After the surgery, Sebastian will then begin dialysis. If the hospital is able to stabilize Sebastian, he would then be a candidate for a kidney transplant. As the family awaits Sebastian’s surgery, they have been stunned with the news that their youngest son, Baxter, may have also developed FSGS. Preliminary tests show he is spilling protein, but it will take a kidney biopsy to give a definitive diagnosis of FSGS. This will likely be performed next week (the week of Christmas, 2014).
Due to the time he had to be away caring for Taylor during his illness, A.J... lost his job. He is a talented musician and videographer. Securing gainful employment during this time has been near impossible for him as he needs to be with his wife and his son during his hospitalization.
They have a Facebook page where you can follow their journey and offer support and encouragement:
I’ve personally witnessed this community of artists come together in amazing ways to support those in times of need. Please join me in coming together now to shower this family with love to help lift their spirits during their time of greatest need.
There is a GoFundMe campaign currently running to help the Brann Family with the costs of medical care not covered by insurance for both Taylor and Sebastian.
Sebastian Brann and Family
Helen DeVos Children's Hospital
100 Michigan St NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Thank you for anything you can send!
Peace & Love
*hands out tissues* Everybody good? Now go squeeze your kids/pets/parents/everyone you love and get back here to start doing what you can to help cradle this family in a net of warm fuzzy love and comfort.
HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:
DONATE to the GoFundMe campaign. If you've ever heard the term "American Health Care Crisis", I do not need to explain why this is so vitally important.
Send cards, gifts, letters of support etc. to the hospital. We wrote and asked AJ if there was anything they or the boys needed. He graciously said they were pretty much good on all necessities, although he would really like to have a laptop so he can try to double task working and being at the hospital with the kids. One of you out there has to know someone that knows someone that can hook this guy up with a shiny new computer. Faith in humanity testing, ready set go.
A.J. is (as you can tell!) a phenomenal photographer. Support his art by following here: https://www.facebook.com/AJBrannproductions and if you're a Michigan local, book a casual shoot with flexible hours, just in case. Understanding clients are the BEST.
Also, scared moms need chocolate, bath bombs and massages. Just sayin'. That pretty lady up there in those pictures needs a virtual hug just as much as those precious kids. Sebastian is my son's age. I just can't even imagine.
THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO IS SHARE THIS STORY. You never know who's hands it may end up in, and how they might be able to help. I will put share links below. Please ask others to send some love and pass it on.
I know you guys will make this beautiful family smile. Let's make some magic and shine it on bright!
HUGE thanks to guest writer Dana Eskes for being one of the single most generous and caring people I have never met. May love flow back to you eternally, my dear. Many, many thanks.
All family photos are the property of and borrowed with permission from the Brann family. (All our love to you guys).