“I feel as if The Lord placed a domino in front of us, and we just kicked it over,” says Judy Lynch of the day she will always remember – May 18, 2005. “Without Thomas and the Lord's greater purposes, there would never have been that first domino - at least not in front of us.”
That first domino – realizing shortly after the birth of their first child, Thomas, that he had an incurable seizure disorder – set forth a path of twists and turns unfolding before them and outside their control. Thomas suffered severe seizures in the neonatal intensive care unit at BSA hospital. Amid his nearly two-month stay in the NICU, the Children’s Miracle Network held their annual telethon at the hospital. Another domino fell and baby Thomas and his family were in the spotlight, as his grandfather talked about their experience, while cradling Thomas in his arms during a live interview. “The chain of events that ensued was beyond anything we could have ever envision or hoped for!” says Judy.
Focused on Thomas and his daily milestones and setbacks, the Lynch’s admit, although they had heard about the Children’s Miracle Network, they were largely unaware of the organization’s impact. That telethon revealed the presence of the Children’s Miracle Network, not only in the room where Thomas received care, but also for families throughout the community.
As the dominos fell, paths were revealed. Thomas was released home from the hospital, while another path of dominos took off in a parallel direction, as that realization of the importance of CMN rested on the hearts of Barry and Judy. They did not know at the time that would mean Barry would raise $25,000 for the local CMN participating in an Olympic triathlon in Dallas just five months after his son’s birth. From there the momentum kept building and the Amarillo-based event, Tri to Make a Difference, was born.
“There are so many people in our community, as well as employees of BSA, who have given generously of their resources and time to benefit Children's Miracle Network and families in the Panhandle,” shares Judy.
“I hope the environment helps to alleviate some of the fears and uncertainty that children and their parents face coming into the hospital,” Judy adds. “The pediatric unit is a positive place, staffed with amazing nurses and other healthcare providers, filled with hope and compassion. The environment should reflect that.”
Child Life Specialist Elizabeth Palermo says it does just that. “It gets the child's mind off of not feeling well and instead focusing on something else,” she says. “It reduces the child's fears and stress. Having new toys and activities for children gives them choices of what to do, interact with others, provides physical activity, and children can compete with others and learn to play new games. It's great to have new TV's in the patient rooms so children can watch movies when they don't feel like going to the playroom or outside.”
Not only a distraction, an environment of playfulness is therapeutic says Director of Pediatric Services Teri Skelton, RN. “Play, is a child’s stress relief,” she says. “A child may even revert in emotional age while they are ill, such as a child who has been potty trained for several months may revert to needing a diaper while hospitalized. Play is an integral part of healing for a child. Our playroom offers several different areas of play for children and their parents.”
That Spring day in 2005 started with the birth of one baby boy and has grown into a network of support for CMN in Amarillo. “We are constantly amazed by the powerful witness of a boy who cannot walk or talk,” Judy says humbly. “Our involvement with Children's Miracle Network is a privilege and great blessing.”
Judy serves as a board member for the local CMN chapter and works tirelessly to help families in need, helping to provide grants for everything from the cost of travel expenses to see specialists out of town, outstanding medical bills, specialized healthcare equipment, home medical supplies, prescriptions, and uncovered procedures and therapy. For more information on ways you can get involved with the local CMN, contact CMN Program Director, Jodi Reid at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 806-212-7648.