#emmesmiles – Let’s Make it Happen
I’m feeding teenagers at my house. If you have never had that experience, let me tell you, it’s pretty incredible, and when one of them is playing football, it takes on a new meaning. Let’s just say that they eat A LOT.
From that perspective I learned about a little girl, Emily Jo Theisen, who hasn’t eaten a meal in more than two years. TWO YEARS. So, even though I usually try to help you grow professionally and personally with my blog posts, this time, I want your heart to grow and I want your help.
Emily is known as Emme, the Warrior Princess. I’ll just give you a few reasons why.
First, Emme is just 3-years-old. She has a condition called pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is extremely painful; enough that grown men and women have said that they are ready to accept death if it makes the pain go away. Emme has known nothing different. Every day is normal when it is filled with excruciating pain. Wrap your head around that one.
Next, because of the nature of pancreatitis, Emme cannot eat. The pancreas produces enzymes and other metabolic juices, (including insulin) and when pancreatitis attacks, the pancreas basically turns on itself and, for lack of real medical terminology, I’ll say it begins to digest itself. I know that is really simplifying the condition, but you get the idea. Anyway, in order to try to control the production of the enzymes, etc., sufferers are not allowed to eat – at all. Instead, they have a feeding tube extend well beyond the stomach to bypass the pancreas in the digestive system.
Third, the hope for Emme comes in the form of a radical surgery called a total pancreatectomy with islet auto-transplantation. It means her pancreas will be removed. This surgery will make her a diabetic for the rest of her life and require her to continually monitor her health, but she will be pain free and able to eat like everyone else.
You can watch this video from a young woman named Whitney Yates who has undergone the procedure.
But that is just some of the really big stuff. There are every-day episodes that Emme deals with, too, like a real smiling warrior. Just this week an error was made and sutures were removed when they should have remained in. So after the pain of having them removed – and there were about 20 of them – she went yesterday to have them PUT BACK IN. Let me remind you, she’s only 3-years-old.
Now let me tell you what’s going on around her little world.
Mark Light is a fellow pancreatitis sufferer since 2007. He’s luckier than Emme in that his attacks, although almost killing him twice, have also subsided and there have been long periods when he is pretty much pain-free. But, like Emme, pancreatitis is the center of his life.
He co-founded the Pancreatitis Foundation, with the purpose of spreading awareness of the disease and, more important to him, helping those who suffer from it and their families. Because it is so extreme and long-lasting, pancreatitis is a huge financial drain as well as an emotional drain. It affects the entire family.
You can read more about his story in the next issue of the Hendricks County ICON.
He is thigh-deep in a fundraiser for Emme. Formally called “Pedaling Coast-to-Coast for the Warrior Princess,” he will be dipping his back wheel in the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, Calif. on Sept. 17 and cycling his way ALONE across the nation to hopefully dip his front tire in the Atlantic Ocean in St. Augustine, Flor. around Thanksgiving.
He’s doing this because Chris Theisen, Emme’s father, told him earlier this year that they are finally in a position that they need financial help and with the expected surgery and related expenses, he wasn’t sure what they would do. Chris wasn’t sure the procedure would be covered by insurance, but he couldn’t look his daughter in the eye and even think money was an object. He had to find a way to make it happen.
So Mark said he would set his life aside for several months and do what he could do through the Pancreatitis Foundation. So that’s how this grassroots effort began. Two men, seeing a need for 3-year-old Emme.
Mark told me if he could find at least 2,000 people to give him $30 each, which is a penny a mile, the Foundation would be able to provide significant help to the Theisens.
2,000 people giving $30.
Now what is $30?
- Not even the cost of dinner out for a couple.
- Less than a week’s worth of café latte Frappuccino mochas.
- About the cost of four drive-thru junk-food meals.
- Not even the cost to fill up your gas tank.
- Less than the cost of a movie and popcorn with a friend.
You get the idea. We hand over $30 for treats and eats that aren’t even good for us. $30 for Emme can change her life.
If you want to donate to the cause, you can do so at emmesmiles.com Your donation is much appreciated.
But what I really want you to do is share this message far and wide. It is a grassroots effort to help this family who has the heart of their family in their hands.
I’m going to make it as easy as I can for you to share.
Here are some posts to share on your Facebook page, Twitter and LinkedIn. (You can cut and paste the photos as well):
Mark Light is cycling 3,000 miles coast-to-coast starting Sept. 17. He’s doing it for a BIG reason – or should I say a LITTLE reason? 3-year-old Emmily Jo Theisen #emmesmiles Learn more or donate at emmesmiles.com
#emmesmiles – whether you read it as Emme’s miles or Emme smiles, you’ve got it right. Join us in the effort to get 2,000 $30 donations for Emily Jo Thesien and her family. It’s an incredible story. Learn more at emmesmiles.com
While you are snacking on your donut scrolling through posts, think about Emme – a 3-year-old girl who hasn’t eaten hardly a morsel for at least two years now. How can that be possible? She has pancreatitis. Hopefully relief is coming soon – find out more at emmesmiles.com.
Here are some links you can use in posts you write:
Emmesmiles.com – this is the link to the Pancreatitis Foundation page with a video explaining more about the event and where donations can be made
http://wishtv.com/2016/08/24/pedaling-coast-to-coast-for-the-warrior-princess/ – this is a link to the WISH-TV story by Nick Natario that aired on August 24
http://www.pr.com/press-release/684151 – this is a link to the press release released August 19.
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=the%20pancreatitis%20foundation – this is the link to the Pancreatitis Foundation page on Facebook where you can find more posts to share about Emme, the ride, Mark, the family and friends who are working to make this happen for Emme. Please like the page while you are there!
https://www.facebook.com/mark.light.520?fref=ts – this the link to Mark Light’s personal Facebook page. He is posting more about the ride and events here. You can share his posts as well.
You can encourage people to dine at home and donate the cost of a dinner out to the cause at Emmesmiles.com. Here is the graphic created for that purpose.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ua5-uPYAWU – this is a link to the video from Whitney Yates who has had the surgery that Emme is hoping to have. Be gracious in the use of this video.
http://gybcoaching.com/?p=3729 – You can even send out a link to this blog post if you like.
Please use the hashtag #emmesmiles everywhere, every time you talk about this.
If you want to organize something in your business with employees, clients or customers to support this cause – be it Friday jean days, giving up donuts on Monday mornings, or even setting up a can on the counter, please, please follow that intention. Chris Theisen has been a part of the IT and small business community in Indianapolis for many, many years. Many people won’t even be aware of the struggles he and his family have faced over the last years. Now is the time to become aware and show him that everyone in our community matters.
I know that small business people make BIG THINGS happen. Let’s show the nation what we are made of, starting in a little pocket in Indiana.
If you want any additional information, or have any questions, please contact me directly. By Thanksgiving, we want this family to really have something to give thanks for this year.
To your success!