On Monday night, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed after my girls went to bed. Through the slew of cute kid pictures, I stopped in my tracks when I saw a post from a new friend.
Pearcia is a new friend of mine, and a new Capes and Crowns client. Her little girl, Arden, was born with some serious heart issues. Issues that required her to have multiple heart surgeries, the first being an open heart surgery at just four days old.
The family is from Banks, but her specialists are at Stanford University in Palo Alto so they were transferred there a few weeks ago. We had arranged for a session for Arden and her family when she returns back to OHSU, but unfortunately that has become a harder task than anticipated.
After reading Pearcia's update, I immediately emailed Kylie. It was about 8pm on June 5, and our conversation went something like this.
Me: "Hey! I have a crazy idea. Arden isn't doing well, and I want to make sure they get these photos. Can we go to California for a day trip?"
Kylie: "When are you thinking?"
Me: "It looks like it needs to be very soon."
So away we went with flight searching, and asking for any and all connections for airlines or any other leads. We immediately made it our #1 priority to get to Arden and Percia immediately. No matter what it took.
After a few hours of searching, we were having some issues with costs. Flights are expensive, and we are a non-profit organization so any time something comes up, we have to dip into other funds. Without hesitation, one of our sweet mama friends offered up some Alaska Airlines vouchers. That was all we needed!
So, at 12:30am on June 6, we had our 6:30am flights for that same morning booked.
I don't think either of us slept, I know I didn't. I was out the door at 3:30 am and met Kylie at the airport at 4:30. And straight to Starbucks we went!
When we arrived in Palo Alto, we went straight to the rental car mall. Remember, this was a completely "fly by the seat of your pants" type trip, so we had one plan and that was it; get to Arden.
After chatting with Pearcia, we decided to go grab lunch first and then head over to the hospital.
When Kylie and I first arrived, we were immediately greeted by Pearcia with a warm smile and big hugs. The amount of strength in this woman, it's just unreal. In that moment, it was pretty surreal that we had just made this all happen, but it was immediately a huge relief that we were here, and that these photos were going to happen.
Over the course of the next few hours, we got to know Arden a little bit. She was asleep for most of the time that we were there, but we talked with Pearcia (after making sure she got hooked up with some caffeine, of course) and really got to know who Arden was. I could sense the refreshment in her voice to be able to talk and just have normal conversations that didn't involve talks about PICC lines.
Because Arden's photo shoot was supposed to be Moana themed, we decided to bring a bit of Moana to her. Kylie picked up this adorable Moana outfit from the local Disney store, and although Arden didn't have the energy to put it on, I love that she has it nearby just in case she wants to hone her inner princess.
After Arden had been sleeping for a bit, Kylie and I decided to ask the charge nurse if it would be okay for us to go around asking other families if they wanted photos. She absolutely loved the idea so we were able to go around and take photos for other families in similar situations as well.
Today was a day that I don't think any of us will ever forget. It was a lot of traveling in one day, and it was worth every single moment.
Watching Arden's strength (and her mama's) through all of the hardships is amazing. What an incredible little girl to face the impossible head on.
I felt so honored to have met Arden and Pearcia. They both are a force to be reckoned with and even though Pearcia is being faced with an impossible situation that no parent ever should have to, she remains this strong, incredible woman.
The fact that this whole trip worked out still amazes me. It's incredible what we can do when we work together. And now, this family will always have these photos to look back on to remember this time with their beautiful baby girl.
If you are interested in helping Pearcia and Jimmy with Arden's medical expenses, please visit their YouCaring link. Any little bit helps!