Sister to Sister: Guest Writer Sarah Heltsley…Addie’s Mom!

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“IT”S BEAUTIFUL, IT’S GLORIOUS AND IT’S MIGHTY!”

As many of you know, during the month of October, lots of us rallied behind Addie Heltsley whose father is a gospel preacher in Yuba City, CA. Her mother Sarah  let us know that she was hopeful that Addie could be awarded a full year’s supply of Liquid Hope, an organic nutrition supply that would allow Addie, a sweet little girl who suffers from Cerebral Palsy to gain much needed weight and strength to survive and thrive to a greater degree than previously possible. You can read about Liquid Hope and the  Child of Hope contest here: www.functionalformularies.com  As you may have also heard, Addie was the winner, in a close race with a beautiful little boy named Elijah.

Personally, my happiness, while definitely substantive, was tempered by the sweet photos and stories of Elijah and all the other children who did not win. It was no small relief to me when I heard that Elijah would also be awarded this year’s supply of formula and that all of the children would receive a box of this liquid nutrition from Functional Formularies. Now, as Paul, would have phrased it. “My joy is full!” I believe that our rally behind Addie was at least partially responsible for the end result of the contest which was twice as good as any of us expected.

Addie Heltsley’s mom, Sarah has composed a special message for all of the Bless Your Heart readers who voted and shared and contributed to Addie as well as to  the other kids who need formula. For today, let’s share Sarah’s joy. Let’s praise our great God that we are blessed with a close fellowship in His large and amazing family worldwide. Be sure to watch for an update later this week on Bless Your Heart about how you could help another one of the families in need, how you can do this in the name of the church and to the glory of God, and how, in the process, you can receive a free “How to Raise Great Kids” DVD for you or someone on your Christmas list. So keep reading!

Sarah, a self-described introvert, admits she had a hard time pouring out her heart’s gratitude at this emotional juncture. I loved reading her sentiments. Here you go:

Hi Cindy!

I have tried to write this so many times….It’s a LOT harder than it looks. I’m a pretty introverted person so this is proving difficult to express the joy and gratitude I have for the member’s of the Lord’s family swooping down and rallying behind Addie.

Addie (Adalyn Bliss) is our 5th child. She was born at 29 weeks weighing 3lbs 6oz. in a hospital not prepared to care for such an early baby. As soon as she was born they raced her down to Sacramento to a large hospital with a NICU.

I stayed a day and a half after my C-section in the local hospital  before I insisted to leave and go see our newborn daughter. She stayed in the NICU for 8 weeks and we made the two hour trip to see her every other day.

As Addie got older we noticed she was not doing the typical baby milestones and at 13 months she had an MRI that confirmed she had Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy…a form of brain damage that affects the muscles in her body.

By 16 months we could no longer keep her weight up and the design to put in a G-Tube was made (feeding tube). The first 6 weeks was awful and I regretted doing it everyday but slowly it became normal. She gained 10lbs in her first month!!

Last year our entire family changed our out look on food…we decided that we needed to change the way we eat. I have a wheat allergy so going gluten free was an eye opener to me.

Addie stopped gaining weight on her prescription formula, she was having mood swings, constantly severely constipated, and just had no energy. She slept ALL day.

This is where I started putting two and two together about her actual nutrition and what she was “eating” thru her tube..Have you ever seen what is on a label of Pediasure?….the first 5 ingredients are all sugar based. She had been basically living off of sugar for 3 years!

I started researching other formulas to get her prescription changed to, BUT…….her Pediatric GI Doctor had retired and NO ONE to this day has been able to find us a new one. They either 1.) are not taking new patients or 2.) will not take Addie’s disability medical insurance. Her prescription to receive formula runs out when she turns 5!

I took matters into my own hands and found Functional Formularies….a TINY little company that had JUST started making REAL blended food formula that also just happened to be organic and GMO-free.

I was lucky enough to be accepted to be part of an 8 week clinical trial of their product Liquid Hope. It is just that…..hope. Every symptom Addie had from being on Pediasure vanished. She finally gained weight…I didn’t just see her tiny ribs. She was awake during the day….the screaming fits stopped. And she….(sorry TMI) had a bowel movement everyday!! That is huge for kids with CP…..it causes so many problems in their GI system. She also made HUGE gains in all of her therapies.

When I found out about the Child of Hope contest….I jumped on it! Never in my life did I think it would become this big…The other parents and I really wanted to make it easy for other children to have a choice in what they are fed. To be told that your DME (Durable Medical Equipment supplier) will never carry this product because it does not make them enough profit is OUTRAGEOUS!

I figured if we got a 1,000 votes I “might” win. Wow….It became so much larger than that! I remember the first week and we had 200 or so votes and the other children had already gone past 1,000. I honestly thought that was it. There was no way we could compete with numbers like that. I stayed the course and decided to ask a group of preachers wives to vote……Um. Yeah. They did that….and then took us under their wing and they got to WORK!!! I have never seen so such devotion to a cause to a family they do not even know and had not even met! How does one even describe seeing them work in unison?

Like a little bee hive…they all had one goal. For Addie to receive the formula we desperately needed.

We saw the numbers gain, we saw them diminish…back and forth….at one point we had 1,000 votes—only to be behind by 300 the next week. It was grueling…exhausting…so incredibly stressful and even though it wasn’t “their” fight, every day we saw more and more Christians from all over this country jump in to help this little group of preachers wives help Addie get one more vote.

We have had so many people praying for us….it’s OVERWHELMING! To show any level of gratitude would pale in comparison to the effort expended. I wouldn’t even know where to start. Over 10,000 Christians pressed the vote button for Addie, Over 10,000 people now know the struggle that parents of G-Tube fed children are going through on a daily basis, Over 10,000 people have, at the very least, had our “little” family in their thought and prayers!

Over 10,000 people made a difference this month! They made a difference not only in Addie’s life…but Elijah’s and the other 38 children life on that page! Because of you….during the contest, 4 DME’s agreed to carry Liquid Hope and 1 DME has national coverage so that kids in EVERY state will have a chance to have real food.

This is the power of the Lord’s Family….. Sometimes I think we don’t we come together as often as we should or want.

But you should see it from my seat when we do…… It’s beautiful, it’s glorious and it’s mighty.

 

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  1. […] women around the world who were watching the voting results and praying for Addie. See http://thecolleyhouse.org/sister-to-sister-guest-writer-sarah-heltsley-addies-mom for her mother’s heartfelt gratitude and voice of…well, it’s been overused, perhaps, […]

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