You Lift Me Up October 26 2013

Today is a significant day! It’s hard to tell by looking out my window at the steady rain and gusts of wind blowing the leaves around that there might be something celebratory to talk about. I hope to bring a ray of sunshine with the news that the two Hailey’s Dreams books are now for sale with the christening of this new website.

This is an important milestone for me - to feel there is something of significance I can do to help my nephew, Jason and his wife, Melanie, with their daughter, Hailey. At the same time, it feels strangely contradictory to get joy out of a situation that is so sorrowful for the loved ones who are the subject of this initiative. That said, I suspect those of you who have contributed in one way or another to raise money for Hailey’s Dreams or donated your services in various ways, can relate to the sense of pride and accomplishment you feel in being able to help.

Helping Hailey is even more gratifying when you have had close enough contact to hear her belly laugh or infectious giggle. The sound fills your soul. You just want to keep pushing that replay button over and over to hear her again. Hailey gets great joy from being around people. She has a witty sense of humour and is a delight to be around.

There is no question about how heartbreaking it is to see what MLD is doing to her body. We’d do anything just to make it all go away. I’m not alone in the wish that there was something I could do to help.

That brings me back to the two books that I have written together with my daughter, Lauren. It’s our way of doing something to help when we live a thousand miles away.

The inspiration came not just from Hailey but from hearing about all the things people were doing for her. There seemed to be no end to the thoughtfulness of people and the variety of things people were doing. It renews ones faith in mankind but it also inspires you to look at your own actions. At least it did for me.

I’m shy by nature which can sometimes hold me back. That’s not to suggest any reluctance on my part to help. It is to say, the donations I made to help build a fence for Hailey’s new puppy or the afternoon spent helping out with Hailey and folding a bit of laundry for the family wasn’t pushing the limits of what I could be doing far enough.

This way of thinking is not to trivialize the simple acts of kindness. On the contrary, the simple things have the greatest ability to lift spirits. Case in point, my sister’s husband received an extra day of vacation from his co-workers. Collectively, the days added another two weeks for him to have time for family. It went a long way to adding flexibility in managing time when helping his son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. It was a treasured gift of time.

I contemplated the idea of getting a book published for several weeks last fall but I was far from resolving how it could be done. Each new story of the kind things people were doing that I heard about through my mother or sister added to my motivation to make the book happen. I was wowed by all that was taking place. A local developer named a street after Hailey – who wouldn’t be impressed by that act? I was astounded by the efforts of my niece, Becky, to start Hailey’s Dreams foundation and her boyfriend, Phil, to develop a website in a very short period of time. Moreover, I was encouraged by the outpouring of community support to make Hailey’s dreams come true. The list of things people had done continued mounting until I eventually mustered up enough courage to write to Sheree Fitch who has had a successful career as a children’s author. My sister, Joanne, and Sheree were friends in high school. There is more to this story that you can read about in The Princess of Freddy Beach. Suffice to say, we are big fans.

Sheree generously offered to write a foreword for the book – when we started it was only going to be one book. She also directed me to Penelope Jackson, the editor of Sheree’s most recent book, Singily Skipping Along, which by the way is being launched today! Another significance to the day other than the importance of my own personal achievements. I owe Sheree a huge debt of gratitude.

In addition to adding polish to our books, Penelope introduced me to Agnes Koller, a talented designer who did the layout of all the pages and did the cover designs, and Emma FitzGerald who did all the illustrations for Princess Pinch Me. This was Emma’s first experience doing illustrations specifically for a book. She has done an incredible job capturing the essence of the story, the characters in the book and Hailey’s spirit. It is only a coincidence that they share the same last name but there does seem to be a connection of kindred spirits. I couldn’t ask for a better team to lend their professionalism and support the development of the book.

Today also has significance for Hailey. As I write, Hailey is on a train, pulling away from a station in Moncton, N.B. and headed for Halifax, N.S. with her brother, my sister and her husband along with Becky and Phil. If you’ve seen the list of Hailey’s Dreams, you will know one of the dreams was to ride on a train. VIA Rail generously donated four ticket to make this dream come true. Halifax is where Hailey was born. I’m sure they will have many tales to tell from this latest adventure. Watch for posts on the Hailey’s Dreams Facebook page.

It lifts my spirits to know that Hailey is surrounded by so many caring individuals and a community that will go to great lengths to help brighten the lives of her entire family. I hope you will get as much joy out of reading about Hailey’s stories as I did hearing them for the first time.

If you have stories of your own about Hailey that you would like me to share through this blog, send me an email to HaileysDreams at BeNovel.ca.

Through November I will be adding to this blog with details about the book launch to take place in Fredericton, N.B. on December 14th. If you sign-up for the newsletter, I will send short notes to let everyone know when there is a new post.

Thanks for your interest in Hailey’s Dreams. See more detail about the foundation at www.HaileysDreams.org

Beth Craig