What makes a good deed?
Many of you have done such thoughtful and creative good deeds inspired by Blake’s story. For some, doing good things comes easy. For others, good people with huge hearts, finding a good deed might seem difficult. A few people have told us that they try to do nice things regularly, but wonder when is it appropriate to identify it as a good deed #ForBlake?
We might not have the right answer for everyone, but for us there are two scenarios. It’s either a planned and intentional act of kindness/good deed or it’s when you’re unexpectedly presented with a choice and Blake’s story reminds you to do the right/kind thing.
On 4th of July, 2017, our seemingly healthy 14-month-old son, Blake, stopped breathing at a nearby park. After ambulance transport, we landed in the care of Rady Children’s Hospital. Each of the next four days were worse than the day that preceded it, ultimately leading to Blake fighting for his life on life-support for 10 days.
Upon learning about Blake’s deteriorating condition, many people asked what they could do or how they could help us. Our social worker told us, “People want to help and support you. Give them something to do.” We didn’t have an answer. Much like them, we too felt helpless. While living in the CVICU, we worked with a gentleman that helped us keep our mindset positive and hopeful. We wanted to surround Blake with as much love and good energy as possible. And one day it clicked. We asked our friends and family go do something kind for someone they know, or a stranger, in honor of Blake. Big or small, we asked that they share their experience with us.
A Facebook page was created, and a community of supporters grew. Friends and family shared their acts of kindness with us. Each night, starting while on life-support, we read the stories to Blake. We’d hold his hand and tell him how much he’s loved and the impact he’s making in the world.
The good deeds, random acts of kindness and stories of positivity continued to flow – all #ForBlake. Soon people were sharing coincidences and realizing that others in their circles knew Blake’s story or had been personally affected by a good deed. It was then we realized this simple ask had transformed into a beautiful and powerful movement that connected friends and complete strangers alike. It warmed our hearts to read each individual story and know that our special little boy, then in critical condition, was surrounded by so much love.
Over the next few months Blake’s condition improved, and he was released from the hospital after nearly 3 months. Blake survived an unforeseen crisis and our reality was now managing treatment for a severe heart and lung condition. For the next year and a half, we struggled, but learned to manage his care including a multitude of medications, appointments with six disciplines, oxygen needed at home and his 24-hour infusion. Life was incredibly trying during this time – but his smile and laugh was worth every stressor. And all the while, the good deeds continued.
For his condition, Blake seemed to be thriving. But his story took a devastating turn in December 2018. He stopped breathing again and we found ourselves back in the CVICU. This time his condition was worse. He would require a lung transplant for survival, and our family was transported to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. We underwent a transplant evaluation through the holidays and on January 2nd, 2019 upon receiving the news that he was unanimously accepted as a transplant candidate, our sweet boy passed.
The amazing community that formed doing good deeds FOR Blake picked up in momentum, and in his honor continued to do good deeds BECAUSE of Blake. Through the darkest of times, all of the good deeds #ForBlake brought a wonderful light to our lives. We never doubted the love and support around us through this journey – but we are a heartbroken family, grieving an unimaginable loss. Through our pain, we still recognize how lucky we were to have Blake – even if just for a short time. We are better because of him.
When I was pregnant with Blake, each night I’d lay in bed and talk to him. I prayed that he would live an extraordinary life… and that he did. Never in a million years would we have thought that we’d have the privilege of being the parents of a child that would positively impact and touch the lives of so many.
The one thing that helps to heal our hearts is to know he is alive in yours. We hope you’ll consider the many things to be grateful for in your life, and do a good deed #ForBlake. This is for you, Blake.
We love you, always…