Friday, March 25, 2011

For Paige

 This blog is copied from Tiffany at  it was a story I just had to share. 


For Paige…

I’m terrified I won’t do this family the justice they deserve.  However, I also feel I will be doing them a disservice if I don’t tell you all about a little girl named Paige Ryan…and how you can help the world remember her.
Over the last year many of our online friends have had babies.  Several had them premature – including a girl I love dearly,  Jenny from What’s the Blog? – I’m sure you know her and her adorable triplets by now.  Many of our lives have been touched by the miracles that occur in NICU’s all across the country, everyday and the amazing research that the March of Dimes and other organizations do that help save lives…
Paige and Patrick were  born at 23 weeks old on February 9.  Many of you know, just from hearing those words, that the severity of this birth was rather high.  To make matters even more complicated, their daddy was in Fort Bliss, preparing to deploy to Iraq for his second tour…looking forward to coming home in May for the twins’ arrival.
At birth, Patrick weighed in at 1 pound, 7 ounces and Paige weighed 1 pound, 5 ounces – and they were beautiful - just like their parents.  As you can imagine, their first few nights were rocky, unstable at best.  Fortunately the Army had given Shannon a little over a week for emergency leave – so Amanda had him by her side  – and together they were finally a family of four.
Unfortunately, after a week of fighting for her life, Paige Ryan passed away at Nationwide Children’s Hosital.
Her daddy and mommy were by her side.  Her brother nearby.  And, as you can imagine, they are devastated.  
Patrick is still fighting – currently they are trying to figure out his stoma/bowel issues and hoping to regulate his blood pressure.  While Amanda stays in a Ronald McDonald home at the hospital, their daddy is on his way to Iraq.  Everyday Amanda updates all of us on her CaringBridge site.  She shares her highs and lows and allows us to share them with her.
And everyday I read her words and can’t imagine what she is going through.
So there you have it, friends.  A mother, like us, has just lost her daughter.  She has a son fighting for his life.  And her husband is in Iraq, serving his country.
Can you take a moment, for me, and wrap your brain around that?
And what are they asking people for?  What is the one thing that is on their mind constantly? 
How do they help the world remember Paige Ryan? 
How can they ensure their daughter is not forgotten?  That her legacy lives on?
And, in the midst of their sorrow and sadness, they have started the Paige Ryan Project.
Directly from Amanda & Shannon -
During the past month and a half, we’ve quickly realized there’s not much about this whole situation we can control. It literally has been a rollercoaster ride, full of short-lived highs and the lowest of lows, and will continue to be for many more months to come. We’re experiencing things so incredibly heartbreaking – the loss of our daughter and watching our son struggle with daily obstacles – that sometimes it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But we continue to be hopeful and focused on the things we can control – how we respond/overcome, how we choose to remember our little girl and how we can help other families.
For those who know us well, you know we’re not ones to sit back and wallow in our hardships. Fairly soon after we lost Paige, we discussed what we could do to help others. We weren’t sure exactly what we wanted to do, but we agreed our little girl deserved a legacy. Her life, though short, had a purpose and as her parents, we want to make sure it is carried out.
We were surprised at how many husbands and wives are in similar situations as ours. One of them may not be deployed to Iraq, but many are separated just the same. There’s a couple in our unit from the UK who had their baby while on holiday here in Columbus. The mom is still here with their baby while the dad is having to remote parent from England. There’s another couple from North Dakota – the dad had to go back home for work and the mom is now here alone. So as you can see, we’re not the only ones relying on technology to communicate during a time when spouses need each other most. Unfortunately, many families in the NICU cannot afford laptops, ipads and/or webcams. So an experience that is already hard enough is made harder because of the limited tools available to communicate with loved ones, especially those who are far away.
With this in mind, we’ve decided to start a fund within Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The Paige Ryan Project will support the hospital’s technology efforts, specifically by purchasing ipads for the NICU in Paige’s memory. Families will be able to borrow an ipad when they are in the unit visiting with their baby. This will enable them to skype with family members, update their CaringBridge sites, research important medical information about their child, etc. right from the bedside. It really will be an invaluable resource for so many.
If you’d like to show your support by making a donation, please make checks payable to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and mail it to Cathy Kellerman at the address below. You can also call in credit card donations to Cathy as well. Please reference Paige Bibbee on all donations. All donations are tax deductible.
Cathy Kellerman, Foundation Director, Donor Relations
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
700 Children’s Drive
Columbus, OH 43205
Shannon and I may never be the same after all of this, but we’re hoping to somehow emerge a stronger couple, more appreciative parents and even more compassionate people. With your support, and with the help of our own special guardian angel, we know it’s possible.
Thank you all for everything,
Shannon & Amanda
My challenge to you is this:
Donate $5.
Skip your lunch today.
Don’t buy your Starbucks.
And, donate.
Give this family the joy they so desperately deserve.  Help them build the legacy for their daughter – a daughter they never got the chance to fully know.   I know you are all generous people.  I know you understand the depths of this.
I know you know what this would do for their grieving souls.
And, even if you can’t donate, I would really appreciate it if you would help me spread this message.  Either by Tweeting my post, copying and pasting my post onto your own blog or emailing it to your friends.  This is the greatest gift I can give them right now. 
I owe them this.
For Paige

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