International Rose Test Garden, Portland OR. © 2012 Nick Drew.
Thanks to Paul and Debbie for inviting us to attend the annual Angel of Hope event at Riverview Cemetery. It was very helpful for me to hear what other parents have gone through after losing a child and validated many of the feelings I have had in the during 3 & 1/2 years. The Angel of Hope is based on Richard Paul Evans' national bestseller, "The Christmas Box." Annually, on the second Sunday in December, a candle lighting vigil is held at the Angel of Hope sites around the world at 7:00 p.m. local time. This commemorates and honors the memory of all children who have died.
The Galloping Neigh Neighs finished 17th out of 40 four-person teams. We enjoyed the event and raised $120 for LLS. Thanks to everyone who supported us. Please visit this link for a video of us participating in the event.
Sara and I and Ashley's Uncle Dave and Aunt Amy are participating in a 5K event, Pineapple Classic, to raise money for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We're calling ourselves the Galloping Neigh Neighs. Part run, part obstacle course we're inspired by Ashley's jumping and zest for life. If you'd like to help us out feel free to donate over at our team page.
Ashley's blanket drive at grade school has continued to inspire students to help others near and far. At John McLoughlin Elementary, a number of student leadership projects were started when principal Carol Sanders and counselor Sally Brown developed and promoted the Ashley Drew Leadership Project. Some of these projects were highlighted recently in UpFront, the Oregon City School District newsletter. The students who made and sold bookmarks to assist the schools reading program while raising funds to help Doernbecher Children’s Hospital fight cancer was very touching for us. As many people know Ashley was an avid reader and Doernbecher's staff were very caring during Ashley's last two days of her life.
Also in that same newsletter is a story about Carol being named new Director of School Improvement for the district. Congratulations to her for her achievements at McLoughlin and future endeavors at OC schools.
Fairy princess reading her book (Thanks to Shari!)
I'm participating in a walk to help my co-worker Shari raise funds for heroes like her son who have to deal with Cystic Fibrosis everyday. The walk is happening at Oaks Park in Portland on Saturday May 21st.
Participants are raising money to assist with the costs of treating(and to ultimately find a cure for) this debilitating disease. If you'd like to help please consider making a modest financial donation at my support page here.
Staff at John McLoughlin Elementary School in Oregon City recently started a Youth Leadership Project to honor Ashley and her desire to help others. The project aims to "support students finding ways to strengthen their home, school, community and world in a big way."
Ashley organized a school blanket drive during the Fall/Winter of 2001 after seeing a news article about local homeless individuals who were suffering in the cold winter weather. She was so touched by story that she decided to do something about it: inform others. She talked to her friends, spoke at a school board meeting and made announcements on the school PA system. In all she and her peers at school collected more than 75 blankets and donated them to a local homeless shelter!
Thanks to Mrs. Sanders, Ms. Brown and other staff members at John McLoughlin for honoring Ashley in this way. With this project they desire for students to understand that one person can make a difference much like Ashley did. Please read more about the leadership project on page 3 of the JME October 2010 newsletter and page 1 of the November 2010 newsletter.
-- Update on Tuesday March 23rd, 2011 --
Mrs. Sanders contacted me recently to let me know that Oregon City School District Upfront newsletter was so inspired by the student leadership projects that they want to publish an article about these amazing kids! Please read more about the Ashley Drew Leadership Project on pages 1 and 2 of the JME February 2011 newsletter below.
Sara was inspired by Ashley's generosity - so much so she wanted to have a way to help others during the holidays which has become a difficult time of your for us. She had an idea - let's feed members of our community who may be lonely or with food or housing during this time of year. Our church was gracious enough to let us their kitchen for preparing a traditional Christmas dinner. We had several members of our church and biological family show up to help. We fed 7 individuals from outside our church. SUCCESS!
Sara and I recently walked in Light the Night to raise money for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and to honor our daughter Ashley who passed away from Leukemia in May 2009. This was a short three-mile walk in downtown Portland Oregon on Saturday October 9th. More than 3,200 other walkers joined in to raise over $300,000 to fight blood cancers like the one that Ramsay Farrar is fighting every day. Please prayerfully consider making a donation to help him and other cancer survivors get the care they need. To find out more about Light the Night please visit their online community. Thanks!
The OCUMC Youth Group will be helping one of their congregation members, Ray Watts, by painting his house in the near future. As you can see from the photo above the south side of his house needs some work.
Spotted this rose on a recent photowalk around the neighborhood. Couldn't help but notice the purple on the tips of the flower and of course the purple roses behind!