Hello, my name is Dennis. Just like many of you, my wife Jen and our five kids have been in self quarantine for the past few weeks. Fortunately, we are both able to work from home. Balancing our new work routines in addition home schooling our kids (and keeping our little ones as anxiety-free as possible) has been a challenge.
Early on in this pandemic, I was worried most about my 11 year old daughter, Brenleigh. She suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. Throughout this pandemic, I expected a lot of sleepless nights, reassuring hugs and breathing exercises.
One morning, after doing school work at our kitchen table, she came to me with a worried look on her face. She had been watching the news - which is something I generally try to shield her from, so naturally I braced myself for the worst.
As tears of sadness were rolling down her freckled cheeks, I assumed she was probably worried about one of us contracting coronavirus. I was completely surprised when she cried for all of the families that would by affected by COVID-19. People she had never met. People she would never meet. People all over the world.
In the past, my daughter would make rubber-band bracelets for others when they were sick or felt sad, and even started making them for sick children in hospitals. It was her little way of bringing happiness to others when they needed it most.
Between cries, she asked if I would buy several thousand rubber bands so she could make as many bracelets as possible to make others happy.
I told her that was an amazing idea, and a completely sincere act of kindness to others. Then I had to break the bad news to her; I explained that it was probably not the best idea, because we are not supposed to get close to others, and others may be worried about getting sick from bracelets.
I teach my children to never give up, so naturally she persisted that there must be a way to accomplish her goal. She wanted bracelets, and she was going to get her bracelets. So, I put my work aside, and fired up Google.
After doing some research, we found a supplier that made bracelets completely by machine. They were never touched by human hands, and were packaged by a machine. Plus, they were made and designed in the USA! So, my daughter and I designed the text and picked the color we thought would "look pretty" but also be a noticeable reminder to social distance from others, and let others know to do the same.
After making sure the bracelets were safe, we ordered some and decided to put all money raised above our costs to a charity that would directly help others.
Brenleigh decided on Blessings In A Backpack.
So, this is how we came to start this mission. This is our story being written in this time and place in history. In the darkest of times, my daughter found a way to shine brightly for the sake of others. Please consider supporting Brenleigh's mission to help others, and help stop the spread of COVID-19 through a simple red reminder bracelet.
We can do this - TOGETHER!