(From - The Aunt)
Sean I just wanted to say that you and your family are truly special. My thoughts and prayers always seem to turn to you and I really hope they are helping. My sister is now in need of prayers and help. I'm not sure if you are able to do anything, but prayers are always appreciated. Her 4 year old daughter recently came down with Necrotizing Pneumonia. She is on the road to recovery but has permanent lung damage and will probably be in the hospital for a while. We were hoping she would be home for Christmas, but it isn't looking good. Her husband has had to take time off of work without pay, and their children have always been in such good health that they switched their insurance deductible to a higher rate just before Nora got sick. Again, I don't know if there is anything you can do to help them out. But if there is I know it would make this difficult time a little easier on them.
Thank you for all that you do, you remain in our prayers.
(From - The Mom)
Dear Sean and Wendy,
I just wanted to write you a quick note while I have the kiddos in bed and I haven't joined them quite yet...we received your generous check today and we wanted to thank you again and let you know how grateful we are to be a part of Hailey's legacy. Your faith and generosity are an inspiration and a testament to your daughter's life and all the lives she has touched. When I have the chance, I am eager to write a little bit of Nora's story for your website, but I had to share something here for you that is unbelievable and a small miracle in my life: As I was talking to Sean last night on the phone, I mentioned to him that Nora and I found two shiny pennies on the street as we were getting into the car going home from the hospital, and how I immediately thought of Wendy and Hailey (I had been reading Wendy's blog for strength during our hospital stay). That story ended our conversation on the phone, and as I hung up, there on the bedside table, partially under the phone receiver, was a dime! Tails up! I couldn't believe it, and I am still in awed disbelief. Bruce and I were so grateful to hear of your offer to help us, but we were also humbled and wondering if we really deserved it. I truly believe that your daughter, through the will of Jesus, sent a sign to ease my heart and mind about accepting your generosity. What a fitting testament to the miracle of this Christmas season! We wish your family a joyous and blessed Christmas, and we will be praying for strength and joy to be showered upon you.
With grateful love.
The Official Letter From the Redmond Family:
Dear Friends and Supporters of The Hailey Mayz Foundation,
Thank you so much for being so generous with your prayers and support! Please know that your love for the Vassilaros family and your generous support of their foundation is so appreciated by those of us who have benefited from one of "Hailey's Halos". Our family wanted to give you a little background on our daughter Nora and how much your support has meant to us.
Nora is four and in generally good health, but in early December, she became very ill with what we thought was the flu. After a few days at home with a very high fever and typical flu-like symptoms, she suddenly began complaining of abdominal pain, so we rushed her to the E.R. The doctors gave her a thorough exam and also suspected flu, but did an abdominal x-ray to rule out any bowel obstructions. To their surprise, the x-ray caught a portion of her lung, which showed a pneumonia so severe that fluid was pressing on her abdomen and her right lung had essentially ceased functioning. She was immediately admitted to the pediatric ward and treated with numerous I.V. antibiotics and an anti-viral medication. After two days, however, Nora was not responding to any treatment, and she was transferred by ambulance to another hospital that had an I.C.U. and access to pediatric surgeons. Despite the best care, Nora's pneumonia continued to worsen and was diagnosed as being caused by necrotizing staph, a severe bacterial infection that was eating away at her lung tissue. Nora had a catheter inserted directly into her jugular vein to deliver heavy-duty antibiotics in an effort to stop the infection that was causing the pneumonia. She also had a chest tube inserted in her side to drain the accumulation of fluid in her pleural cavity, which was not only severely compromising her lung function, but pressing on her heart. For more than a week, the doctors worked to get both the infection and the pneumonia under control, but Nora's condition only deteriorated. This was the most difficult time of her hospital stay. Ultimately, doctors resorted to an antibiotic that is considered the last line of defense, and finally, after nine days, Nora started to stabilize. She remained in the hospital for the better part of the next week as doctors monitored her condition, adjusted her medication, and prepared us to take care of her at home. Upon her release from the hospital, Nora continued to receive antibiotics around the clock through her internal jugular catheter for the next ten days, then was on oral antibiotics for an additional ten days. After five total weeks on antibiotics, the doctors felt confident that the bacteria had been eradicated from her system. Though the staph infection is gone, Nora continues to recover from the pneumonia. Even today, two months after her initial diagnosis, Nora's x-rays still show a significant pneumonia in her right lung, a pneumothorax (pocket of air) and pleural effusion (accumulation of liquid) in her pleural cavity, an area of abscess (dead lung tissue), and several areas of suspected abscesses. We see improvements in her physical condition daily, but her body still has a good deal of recovering to do, and we do not yet know the long-term implications of her illness. She is housebound until at least March because she cannot risk picking up any infections, especially the flu. Despite this, she is acting like her old self again, playing with her brothers and sister, showing an interest in her toys and activities, and getting better day by day.
When Sean called us the day after we returned home from the hospital, and two days before Christmas, to tell us that the Hailey Mayz Foundation was sending us a gift to help out with expenses, we were so humbled and so grateful. We were thrilled to have Nora home for Christmas, but her hospitalization and the severity of her condition had taken a toll on the whole family. We had been apart for over two weeks since the hospital was more than an hour from our home, and we were scrambling to make sure that Santa would make an appearance for not only Nora but her older brothers Joe (9) and Tony (6), and her younger sister Alice (1). In addition, a hospital stay of that length of time entails not only high medical expenses, but time off from work and additional travel and eating expenses that of course we did not budget for! We know that the Vassilaros family knows first-hand everything that is involved in caring for an ill child, and their compassion and understanding of our situation was so uplifting and so appreciated. Through their generosity, and the generosity of all those who have contributed to make Hailey's Halos possible, we feel that our family will be forever linked to the memory of Hailey and her legacy. What an amazing testament to the life of a beautiful and much-loved little girl! Thank you!