Thursday, May 22, 2014

JACOB'S FUND :: Prayers for Fabiola

In loving memory

Sweet, sweet Princess. It is with heavy hearts that we share that she passed away early this morning. 

Yesterday morning, she came through her open heart surgery fine. By afternoon, the medical team was already discussing plans for her next procedure in 6 months following her expected recovery. Yet sometime during the night she slipped away. 

Tomorrow TRTP VP, Sonya, her children, and a friend will be visiting Princess's mother, Fabiola, to comfort her in any way possible. Sonya is printing out the photos she took of her two days ago and framing them to give as a gift - a small something for Fabiola to take home. We cherish the photos and hope that the family does as well. 

If you pray, please say a prayer for the family who is in deep mourning. If you think positive thoughts, please send your energy to them. The mother, father and grandmother's separation from one another must be unbearable. 

Gifts in her memory are gratefully accepted. Please write "Princess" on the memo line. To make a gift via credit card, visit our websiteTo make a gift via mail, please make checks payable to The Red Thread Promise:

The Red Thread Promise
249 N Belfield Ave
Havertown, PA 19083
Attn: Kathy Korge Albergate

Thank you as always for your support for all parents that grieve the loss of a child.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

JACOB'S FUND :: An overwhelming day

Princess and Jacob Noah Beachy
Our hearts are OVERWHELMED today. It is a day for CELEBRATION, MEMORIES, TEARS, and most importantly, HOPE. 

Today we honor the life of Jacob Noah Beachy, namesake for Jacob's Fund, the US arm of The Red Thread Promise. Today would be his 10th birthday, a day we celebrate every year. Jacob was born with a heart condition that required multiple surgeries; complications from his final procedure took him from us 3 years later. While his life with us was brief, his memory continues to make a lasting impact on children with disabilities. We honor him every time we award a hippotherapy ridership to a disadvantaged child. Along with his family, we are happy that a bit of Jacob lives on in every child who receives this life-changing treatment.

On this same day 7 years later , an infant girl with a similar heart condition went to Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio for open heart surgery. Today, tiny Princess, a Haitian infant just 6 months old and barely 10 lbs, had her first of several critical operations, under the skilled hands of the same surgeon in the same hospital where Jacob was treated. Both children will forever hold a special place in our hearts.

We ask for your prayers and positive thoughts for this little girl, her mother, the surgeon and the hospital staff. Although she made it through surgery, we are unsure of her status as of this post. We trust that everything went well, and following all procedures, she will grow up to lead the most normal life possible in Haiti with her family. The Red Thread Promise will continue to support Princess and her mother, Fabiola, while in the States as well as in their home country.

Your donations make a huge difference in the lives of disabled children in the United States and abroad. Please consider making your next gift to The Red Thread Promise in honor of Jacob to help children like Princess receive the medical care and therapy they need to lead the fullest life possible. Thank you for your support and for sharing this critical need with others so we can make a huge impact on children with disabilities.

To make a gift via credit card, visit our website.

To make a gift via mail, please make checks payable to The Red Thread Promise:

The Red Thread Promise
249 N Belfield Ave
Havertown, PA 19083
Attn: Kathy Korge Albergate

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

JACOB'S FUND :: Hilltop workday re-scheduled

Jacob's Fund Director, Glenna, and Amayzzing at Hilltop Equestrian Center
With a number of commitments pressing on Hilltop, plus the prediction for rain on Saturday, Hilltop has decided to postpone their work day for May 10th. We will let you know as soon as we have the new date! Thank you to all who have shown interest in joining us. We look forward to working with you at a later date!

Monday, May 5, 2014

HAITI :: Critical time-sensitive request for host family in Columbus, Ohio

Meet Princess. 

Her story is heart-wrenching, but there's hope on the horizon. Long story short, she was born with a serious heart defect that MUST be operated on & quickly. Thankfully, Nationwide Children's Hospital (Columbus, OH) has stepped up to the plate!!! Just this morning a host family was found to house Princess and her mom when they come to the US for her surgery - hopefully in May! 

This is where we need your help. We are looking for a backup host family. Why? Because sometimes things don't turn out as planned - families have emergencies, kids get sick, jobs are lost, circumstances change. Our goal is to find a second family - people with a big heart, extra space and ready access to Nationwide. 

Interested in becoming a host? 
Email us and we'll give you all of the details available at this time. 

Want to help? 
You can do so via PayPal or by sending a check to:

The Red Thread Promise
249 N Belfield Avenue
Havertown, PA 19083

Be sure to mark "Princess" in the memo line.

Many thanks to Morna Smith from Nationwide Children's Hospital for reaching out to us for help! It is both our duty and our pleasure. And thank you to John Carroll from Haitian Hearts for bringing light to this child's needs and for his work on behalf of the Haitian people. Together, we can make a lasting difference!

For more info on Princess:

As we wait for her VISA to be processed and for her arrival in Columubs, please keep this child and her family in your thoughts and prayers over the next few critical weeks. Of course, we'll keep you up-to-date on her progress. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

CHINA :: 2 years old and growing like a weed

2-year-old WZX

Every day that we hear from our partners in China with an update on one of the children we sponsor is a GREAT day! Our hearts swell when we see these children growing and thriving in the hands of the caregivers at Swallow’s Nest. We are thankful to be able to provide life-changing surgeries, life-sustaining hospitalizations and medical care for these babies until they are matched with a loving family forever.

As you can tell from his smile, WZX is a happy boy. He loves to eat, which is no surprise based on his chubby, kissable cheeks. He enjoys holding and playing with toys but occasionally gets upset and cries for no obvious reason, sometimes during meals or at night. Then, after a minute or so and some comfort from his caregivers, he’s fine again.

Although he’s over 2 years old, WZX has never spoken yet he responds to speech and sound, especially music. He often seems unaware of what’s going on around him and doesn’t process sounds very well.

Following his clubfoot casting, he appears to have no feeling in his legs. Due to his weight and lack of feeling, it is challenging to get him to move around very much. We are unsure as of yet, but he may require a wheelchair. His caregivers are working to provide him more exercises that will help him build strength in his arms and upper body.

Your support of WZX since January 2013 has been amazing and we are so thankful for your donations on his behalf. We will continue to provide medical care for him as he grows and pray for him to become a permanent part of a family soon.

If you'd like to support WZX and children like him, 
you can do so via PayPal or by sending a check to:

The Red Thread Promise
249 N Belfield Avenue
Havertown, PA 19083

January 2013

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Jacob’s Fund :: Work Day at Hilltop Equestrian Center

Jacob's Fund Director, Glenna (center), surrounded by Hilltop staff
Spring on a horse farm in Ohio is the gurgle of a stream winding through a meadow, all-legs foals kicking in a breeze that carries birdsong from a nearby stand of forest, and grass so impossibly green you kneel to touch it to make sure it’s real.

If you’d like to experience a morning like this, come join us on Saturday, May 10, from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at Hilltop Equestrian Center, 4051 U.S. Rt. 35, West Alexandria, Ohio. That’s the day that Jim Hazelwood, Amy Day, and the staff and therapists at Hilltop have set aside to spruce up the farm after the long, cold Ohio winter.  

We’ll receive our assignments and get to work on a beautiful horse farm and barn where kids with disabilities enjoy hippotherapy and therapeutic riding in a warm, loving atmosphere. Following our morning labors, we will gather with the Hilltop “family” for food and fellowship at 1:00 p.m.

If you’ve longed to be part of one of our mission trips but have not been able to commit the time for a trip out of the country or for a long weekend, this is quite possibly the ideal experience for you to “get your feet wet” in a mission experience.  

Please join us in this hands-on experience that helps ensure that the children we sponsor have the best possible experience as they gain the strength and skills to live their lives as fully as possible.

No need to RSVP. 

Just show up on the morning of the 10th and be ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work. 

Inside the Hilltop stable

JACOB'S FUND :: McKenna Farms Spring Mission Trip 2013 (part 5)

Sunday Morning: Amazing Grace

Before my eyes open I hear Ted in the kitchen making his family recipe pancakes.  In seconds I’m dressed and following the delicious smell of pancakes on the griddle.

It’s raining. Hard.

Brian lifts his eyebrows at me and asks, “What’s our plan now?”

“No work. It would be impossible. We’d be mired in mud, red Georgia clay mud.” I hate leaving things undone, but it can’t be helped. Jessie tells me she has volunteers coming this week who can take care of what’s left.

A double helping of pancakes later, we’re gathered in the waiting room, warm and dry. We sing “Amazing Grace” to the accompaniment of Brian’s guitar.  

From where I’m sitting I have a view of the side and front of the barn, and a few feet away from it is the sign along the path that says it’s the Jacob Beachy Sensory Trail.

We would never have thought that sign would be there six years ago at this time. We’d be happy if, instead of the sign, we’d see Jacob emerging from the barn on a horse. But sometimes we don’t get a choice. And we do what we can to help others. ~ Glenna Fisher

JACOB'S FUND :: McKenna Farms Spring Mission Trip 2013 (part 4)

Brian leading the singing

Saturday: Working for the Weekend  

Bright fresh faces greet me on the patio. Brian’s ready with devotions: I Corinthians 13, the passage on love. I never tire of this, and am forever in need of reminding that love is patient, kind, never fails, and never ends. He’s also given us a songbook, and we sing three songs before we break up into work teams and scatter out over the farm. And we haven’t even had breakfast yet!

I’m passing out tools, directing wheelbarrows full of weeds to the dumpster, and recruiting help to get the Gator started. The barn is a magnet. Of course it is. How can anyone not want to see, pet, feed, groom, and lead the horses to pasture? Then there are the miniature horses. Jessie’s told our eager youth they can go inside the corral to see them up close. No sooner said than done. One or two of the kids have ridden horses before, but most are discovering these beautiful animals for the first time.  

Jessie’s here with biscuits! These are monster biscuits, light and fluffy and filled with things like bacon and sausage and cheese and egg. They’re delicious, and with the profit this morning coming to McKenna Farms, we hope they sell thousands of them.

The slight cloud cover makes today more comfortable for all-day work. I check the hourly forecast. Looks like we’re home free. No precipitation is expected until after dark. Wilma, you are the woman!

Other volunteers have arrived, including a local ROTC crew, and a young woman who has come alone. She immediately becomes part of our weeding and mulching crew, spreading pine straw after Jana, wearing the weed killer backpack, douses the unruly vegetation.

What mission trip would be complete without an encounter with wildlife? While we don’t stumble into bats, rats or tarantulas as our Red Thread counterparts in Haiti have done, Georgia has its own zoological thrills: lizards and ants. “Look what I found!” one of our young men says as he holds a lovely green gecko up for me to see. I share his delight – these little lizards are captivating.  

Our group seems to be pretty much on a live-and-let-live basis with ants for the most part, but the ants here seem determined to build skyscrapers in the midst of the planting beds, making it hard to mulch. So the routine is: ant killer, wait, check anthill for activity, then, if all is quiet, flatten anthill and spread mulch. Slows the process down a bit. 

Since a visitor to the farm parked too close to a fence last week and a horse ate the front of her car, one of our crews is moving railroad ties to the staff parking lot, placing them a safe distance from the fence and any hungry equines.  

Next they begin what will be the hardest, longest job of the day. The indoor arena sits atop a hill, and drainage and erosion have been a problem. Most of the problems have been corrected, but two perforated plastic drain pipes that ran from the arena to the pasture below have washed down. A few feet of pipe extend from the top of the hill, but most of it lies thirty or so feet below. Our mission: dig two thirty-foot trenches, reattach the pipe, and bury it. I’m somewhat surprised and pleased to see that a rather large crew, both boys and girls, has gathered to help Brian and Ted with this project. This job isn’t going to be easy.

I’ve come to borrow a mattock to dig out a transplanted shrub that is not going to make it.  Ted brings it and quickly dispenses with the dying bush, making my twenty minute task his five minute job.

Jana and I set out sandwich makings and round up our troops. They’re ready for a break, but as soon as they’ve eaten they’re back to work.

“We’re almost out of pine straw.” That’s the news as I return to the sensory trail. Jessie’s back from delivering two of the miniature horses to a festival for disabled kids at a nearby church, so it’s unhitch the horse trailer, hitch the flatbed trailer. Off to the garden center.

We’re hoping to mow the area in the center of the trail, but the riding mower can’t get close enough to the weeds around each of the stations, so I’m off to get the weed trimmer when I encounter Ben. Ben’s just completed his last task and is looking for something to do. I hold up the weed eater, which is nearly as tall as I am, and thus is at least as tall as Ben. Undeterred, he’s ready for this. I take a quick pass and then hand the trimmer to Ben. Bernie has joined us now, and he gently instructs Ben in the fine art of weed eating.  

These last thirty bales of pine straw bring our weekend total to one hundred ten bales. Good thing we brought gloves; otherwise our hands would look like pincushions.

Ted meets me at the edge of the parking lot and announces that the drain pipe is in place and buried in the two trenches they’ve been digging for six hours. I check the time – after 4 p.m. The kids are tired; they’ve worked very hard. And Ted and I are responsible for dinner tonight. I’ll prep and he’ll grill.

I run a mental inventory of what’s left to be done: mow the grass at the sensory trail, continue weed eating around the stations, and spread mulch at the few stations that still need it. Maybe an hour and a half’s worth. I think we can finish before we leave tomorrow morning.

A flock of teenage girls clusters around me in the kitchen. “Can we take a shower?” they chorus. Of course you can, I tell them. Not so simple. The next line of the chorus is “Can I go first?”  

I wash the hamburger off my hands, find paper and a pen, and make a schedule. With warnings about running out of hot water (thank goodness the boys take their showers in the barn’s upstairs bathroom), I return to making patties.  

We have one casualty – there’s a small patch of poison ivy on Alex’s leg, but the farm’s first-aid kit is amply supplied with packets of poison ivy cream to soothe her itch.  

Ted and Glenna preparing the meal
Our hungry crew quickly dispenses with twenty-four hamburgers and nearly thirty hot dogs, plus all the cookies and fruit left from lunch.

Ted, who brought hand tools, is busily installing some great signage donated by a father of one of McKenna Farms’ kids.  

Dusk is quickly moving toward darkness. Joyce has brought us her fire pit and some marshmallows. Some of our youth have brought the minis up from the pen, and they’re exercising them in the grassy area near the gazebo. Oh, wait! Now the horse is ahead of one of the young men, so perhaps its horses exercising teenagers. 

Brian, guitar in hand, sits on one of the picnic tables. Christian grabs a bucket from the barn, turns it upside down, and begins drumming. Their duet draws a crowd – good music.  

Joyce giving marshmallow roasting lessons
At the fire pit, Joyce gives instructions on how to toast the perfect marshmallow without burning it. She has several eager pupils, and some even duplicate the golden toasted exterior and soft warm interior that literally melts in your mouth. I’d forgotten how good they were.  

There’s a game of “Hide the Lizard” going on (yes, that lizard) a few feet away. It’s noisy, but I don’t think the lizard is any worse for wear.

Raindrops begin to fall. I smile at Wilma, our weather maker, sitting by the fire pit.  

The little chill brought on by the sprinkles of rain drives some team members inside. A group of teens gathers on the patio, talking with Brian. As I recall from my own youth, there’s nothing like a full day in the outdoors and a quiet evening to bring out the big questions in life.  

Thunder rolls as I zip up my sleeping bag. ~ Glenna Fisher