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Get Gifts for Your Kids and Help This One, Too! (Gotta Love a Win-Win)

Taylor Newman

I’d like to introduce you to someone special. Her name’s Princess, and she’s six. She’s Kaspar’s teacher’s daughter. Nichole adopted Princess when Princess was just a year old. Princess had never received any medical care up to that point, and initial blood work soon revealed that she suffers from a chronic and painful illness, Sickle Cell Disease, which has since landed her in the hospital several times a month.

Now, a little bit about Nichole, one of the most unflappable people I’ve ever met. She wasn’t phased by Kaspar’s allergy situation in the slightest when he entered her classroom this fall. I was secretly scared that they’d tell us that he couldn’t attend childcare, and that he’d have to hack it bubble-boy style at home for the next 18 years… But that’s never been our plan. We want Kaspar to be the carefree kid he is and to get to explore his world with abandon (albeit safely). Nichole got that. She took our cautions seriously, along with the Epi pen, and welcomed Kaspar into her class. Since then, he’s thrived; he’s using the potty, speaking in sentences, singing and dancing like every day’s his birthday, and constantly talking about his teachers, “Miss Ah-Cole and Miss Kelseyyyyyy!”—Nichole and Kelsey— who he loves.

For my part, I love seeing him march through the classroom door each morning without so much as looking over his shoulder (he’s always super psyched to see me in the afternoon, so at least I know I’m wanted, haha). I’ve been so impressed by how present Nichole is with Kaspar, and the other kids in her class, and all the more so when I learned about Princess. I know from experience that keeping your cool when your child is suffering is nearly impossible. And while we’ve been lucky enough to get a handle on Kaspar’s situation and live crisis-free for close to a year, Nichole and Princess are still hospital regulars. Yet, somehow, Nichole is present and patient with the kids in her class, and with her own kids at home (Princess has three siblings, all of them superstars). She really understands children, cares deeply about them and respects their right to be happy little people with independence, freedom and fun in their lives. Princess, for all of the challenges she faces (life-threatening fevers, intense pain, intermittent wheelchairs and missed school days), has a mom who is up to—and worthy of—the job. These two were meant for each other.

Still, Nichole is human. As much as I’ve learned from her as a mother myself, it’d be unfair to think her somehow super-human, immune to the long-term impact incurred by shouldering the stess and exhaustion (not to mention financial strain) that come with loving and protecting a sick kiddo. This fall has been particularly tough for them, and Princess, for all of her perseverance, humor and smiles-- she just wants to be a normal little girl-- has also struggled to keep her spirits up. Nichole and I have become friends, and even hearing snippets of what this kid has been through has made my heart hurt, badly.

So of course I wanted to ‘do’ something. And while I can’t fix Princess’s blood, I do have y’all in my corner… So I thought I’d get you on board for making this family’s holiday a little extra merry and bright.

I’ve set up a fundraiser through Barefoot Books, a truly unique and inspired children’s publisher, to raise some funds to help Nichole out with Princess’s medical bills, and to give her a little extra something for gifts to go under the tree. Please click HERE to browse the site and do some of your own holiday shopping; any purchase you make after clicking through will forward a percentage of proceeds to the fundraiser (FYI, I will not receive any kickback from this—all proceeds will go straight to Nichole). To sweeten the deal, you can enter the code AMBFTN at checkout for 15% off your entire purchase.

That’s right. Shop the site and you’ll give by getting. Pretty awesome, no? I’ll close out the fundraiser on December 16, so we have two weeks to make this magic happen.

Lastly, if you’d like to make a donation (or send a card etc.) to Nichole’s family, rather than going through the fundraiser, please let me know in the comments, and we’ll figure it out.

Thanks for reading, have fun shopping, and let me know if you have any questions. All the best to you and your families in this holiday season. Be well!