Gifts

December 1, 2017By April Warren

 

Cooper with his big brother, Graham (Christmas 2010) Photo credit Zeb Warren

Most of you are already familiar with our story and know that our youngest son, Cooper, passed away at 13 months of age. He struggled the entirety of his short life and is the inspiration for the Foundation. We were able to enjoy one Christmas with Cooper. It was a gift. During the holiday season, we are grateful for the time we had with him (although brief), but we remain mindful of the many families who have children struggling with life-limiting or terminal illnesses.

It is the time of year when many of us consider our annual charitable giving. We know that the rain Hurricane Harvey dumped on our region forced many family members, friends, and neighbors from their homes. It was that same storm that forced us to make the difficult decision to cancel our Golf Tournament and Silent Auction, which was our main fundraiser for the year. This caused our Foundation and corresponding programs to experience a severe reduction in expected support.

We stand amazed at the resilience of our fellow Texans and the way they’ve risen to take care of each other during the recent (and unprecedented) natural disaster. Our hearts are also warmed and encouraged by witnessing the charitable donations that poured into churches and national charities in the wake of the floods. It is evident that adversity brought out the best in humanity. With this post, we appeal for the same compassion we witnessed in response to Hurricane Harvey.

It is in this spirit that we too want our voice to be heard. Approaching this holiday season and into 2018, our mission remains the same – even in light of our challenging financial position. We want to help support and improve pediatric palliative care and hospice programs for children with life-limiting illnesses in the Houston area by raising awareness and funds. Our aim is to strengthen these programs and the services they provide. In so doing, we want to alleviate some of the burdens these precious children and their families carry by easing pain, making world class care accessible, and maximizing quality of life. The goals we set coincide with that mission. Our short-term goal is to fund a portion of a nurse’s salary to make at-home visits for at least one local program again in 2018. Our ongoing goals are to help provide durable medical equipment to these children and to continue the mobile library program we started this year. We also plan to expand the program to Texas Children’s Hospital. Finally, our long-term goal of building an in-patient respite facility devoted to pediatric patients receiving palliative or hospice care remains an urgent need in the community.

Asking for money is never fun, and that is especially true this year. Unfortunately, what we want to accomplish for these kids can’t be done without it. Last year, because of supporters like you, we were able to fund a portion of a nurse’s salary to make in-home visits for Memorial Hermann’s Pediatric Palliative Care Program. We also started our mobile library for these patients and their families, again working with Memorial Hermann’s Pediatric Palliative Care Program.

We are a charity that is run entirely by volunteers. Our Board includes representatives from the medical, legal, accounting, and business communities. No Board Member receives any compensation, and we have no paid employees. We do this work because we believe in it. We know first-hand the challenges these children and their families face. Together, we can achieve our goals. We can make this vision a reality and improve the quality of life for these precious children and their families.

We are truly grateful for all of you and the support you show our organization. Please consider giving a tax-deductible donation to The Cooper Warren Pediatric Palliative Care Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, today.

We wish you a happy and healthy holiday season spent with friends and loved ones.

Warmly,

April

Normal

August 16, 2017By April Warren

Normal – What is That?

I don’t know that any of us or the lives we live are “normal.” I don’t even know what constitutes normal. Maybe it’s when we find comfort in the fact that we’re not alone, and the juxtaposition of certain emotions can be (if not understood) embraced by others in our orbit who care for us. With our circumstances, perhaps it’s accepting that things are what they are. At times, we are powerless to change our lot. So, we move forward, grasping at some semblance of a routine to balance the chaos and enjoying what we can.

My “Cooper Normal”

When Cooper arrived, my normal became tube feedings, AEDs, hospice nurses, watching his near constant seizures helplessly, monitoring how much he peed, how much he pooped, how congested his lungs were, and a perpetual lump in my throat. It was also swallowing my uncertainty, fear, and sadness in an attempt to not frighten our other son, Graham. It was being so exhausted I couldn’t remember where I put my keys or when I last washed my hair. It was living with the dread of not knowing if my baby would be alive or dead when I went to get him out of his crib every morning. It was cognizance that life is fleeting. It’s not a platitude.

Is that normal? It was for us.

Normal was being more grateful for the little things. It was earnestly searching for things to be joyful about, because heaven knows plenty weighed us down. We laughed (sometimes out loud), we loved, we gave kisses and hugs, and we read to our boys (even if one of them couldn’t hear us)…lest anyone think we lacked mirth completely.

Normal was a mixture of happy, sad, and something in between. It was being thankful that Graham could run, skip, laugh, sing, and puke on me while being heartbroken that Cooper never would. It was not wanting my precious baby to suffer, but not wanting to let him go. That was my “Cooper Normal.”

Normal Now

Normal now is volunteering at Graham’s school. It’s driving to karate lessons and tournaments. It’s being proud of Graham’s accomplishments, growth, and his amazing capacity for empathy. Normal is crying on the first day Cooper would’ve started Kindergarten had he been healthy. It’s forcing myself out of bed on his birthday and not understanding why the hardest days are the ones when we should be celebrating him in some way. Normal is working for the Foundation and praying we are putting some good into the world to help children like Cooper. Normal is gratitude for the health of my loved ones. Normal is cheerfully answering Graham’s questions about Cooper but being sad that he has to ask. Normal is three of us cheering for Graham’s favorite pro football team yet knowing there should be four of us.

Normal now is appreciating the gift God gave me when He taught me to diligently seek joy in small things during dark days, and it is tragic that at times I have to look so hard to find it.  Normal is more good days than bad ones.  It’s acknowledging that when the bad ones come, their intensity hasn’t waned. They can still knock me to my knees.  It’s the hope I cling to that when this life passes from me I will see my Cooper again.

Delivery

July 28, 2017By April Warren

Simple Things That Aren’t So Simple

For most families, the idea of loading up the kids and heading to the library isn’t a major undertaking. To bring your children to the local library for story time or to let them grab the latest book in their favorite series may be something that has become a chore.

Many children who have life-limiting illnesses aren’t that lucky. Their mobility may be so limited that simply getting in a car is a major event. Perhaps their medication regimen doesn’t allow them to be out of the home for long periods of time. Maybe they’re on tube feedings that require being home during story time. There are other children who have immune systems so weak they can’t be in public places. We started the Mobile Library Project for children like these and their families.

Giving Credit Where It’s Due

The Mobile Library Project was actually the idea of Cooper’s older brother, Graham. When Cooper was alive, Graham was very small. Some of Graham’s first long-term memories are of his baby brother’s struggles. He’s very excited about the Foundation and is constantly throwing out ideas to improve things and to help children like his brother. One day, we were cleaning his room. We began stacking books that he’d read in piles to donate to the library. All of a sudden, he stopped. His face lit up. “Mom, why can’t we donate these to the Foundation and bring them to the kids who are sick?!”

The dreaded room cleaning had turned into something amazing. The Mobile Library Project’s inception wasn’t glamorous. It began in a little boy’s messy room with piles of gently used books stacked haphazardly on the floor and a twinkle in a ten-year-old’s eye. The ultimate goal is to use this project as a way to enrich the lives of these children and their loved ones by bringing the joys of reading to them. One little boy has received an immense amount of joy already in finding a way to honor his brother by helping other children with life-limiting illnesses.

A Very Special Delivery

Special Delivery – Graham delivers the first set of books for the Mobile Library Project

Last week, we made our first delivery to Memorial Hermann’s Pediatric Palliative Care and Hospice Program. We are excited to support Hermann’s Lilly Pad Library in this way! Helping to make books available to children receiving palliative and/or hospice care is one small way The Cooper Warren Pediatric Palliative Care Foundation can make life a little easier for children with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones.

First Annual Charity Golf Tournament and Silent Auction

July 8, 2017By April Warren

Our First Annual Charity Golf Tournament and Silent Auction is fast approaching.  It will take place at Eagle Pointe Golf Club in Mont Belvieu, Texas, on October 6, 2017.  That date is especially significant for us, because it is the day before Cooper’s birthday.  He would be eight years old.  Although birthdays can be difficult, we are honored to be doing something to help other children with life-limiting illnesses.

The tournament web site should be up and running soon.  On that site, supporters can register to play in the tournament, sponsor the event, or simply donate if they wish to do so.  We are fortunate to live in a community of wonderful people who believe in what we are doing and want to see us succeed.  They were there for us when Cooper was alive and know that by raising money to help support pediatric palliative care and hospice programs in the Houston area we can lift some of the burdens weighing on children with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones.  We would love for you to come out and play a round of golf for a great local cause! If you are interested in volunteering or assisting in some other capacity, please contact us.

Thank You

May 23, 2017By April Warren

Thank you to everyone who made our first year a success.  We appreciate your support and encouragement.  We are excited about the wonderful opportunities we have to support pediatric palliative care and hospice programs in the Houston area.  With your donations, we were able to help fund a portion of a nurse’s salary for Memorial Hermann’s pediatric palliative care program. Your support, whether it’s financial, volunteering, or simply spreading the word about our mission, will help us make life a little less difficult for children with life-limiting illnesses and their families.

Annual Fundraiser

May 23, 2017By April Warren

Our first annual CWPPCF charity golf tournament and silent auction will be held on Friday, October 6, 2017, at Eagle Pointe Golf Course in Mont Belvieu, Texas.  We hope you will consider forming a team with friends or co-workers and playing for a great cause!  We also need volunteers for the event as well as hole sponsors.  We will be providing updates as well as details about how to register in the upcoming weeks.  If you would like more information, please contact us.

Mobile Library/Book Donations

May 23, 2017By April Warren

We are thrilled to announce a new service we will be providing to help support Memorial Hermann’s pediatric palliative care and hospice program. When a child has a life-limiting or terminal illness, it is often difficult for the family to get out of the house to do many of the little things we take for granted each day, such as go to the library. As a way to help, CWPPCF has started a mobile library. We are collecting new and gently used books for all ages. These books will be delivered to the hospital. From the hospital, nurses and/or social workers will take the books to children receiving palliative or hospice care during home visits. The children, their siblings, and their parents will choose books at no cost to them that they will be able to keep. If you are interested in donating new or used books, please contact us.