Judy’s Kids

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*The Hickory Humanist Alliance (HHA), as a Chapter in good standing with the American Humanist Association (AHA), is a 501c3 charitable educational organization. Donations to the HHA including your membership dues, are tax-deductible.

[or Mail donations to PO Box 294, Claremont, NC 28610]

www.judyskids.org

Foundation for the support of severe and terminally ill children and their families.

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Note from Founder Gene Elliott:

As we begin the journey to fulfill my late mother’s dreams, the road ahead is rocky and long. We are growing but are at little advantage to help families financially at this point. So we asked ourselves… other than money, what can help? Answer: A lot of things can help! A donation of time and energy is sometimes more valuable that a donation of money. Therefore if you would like to be part of the financial support for families with severe or terminally ill children, please donate above. BUT, if you can donate your time to a family (cleaning home, driving to/from places, grocery shopping, yard work, babysitting, tutoring, nursing, therapy, etc…) please let us know by filling out the form below. Please put “I want to help” in the subject line and explain what skills you have and how you see your help being utilized.

Alternatively, if you know of a family in need please put “Family” in subject line and provide their contact information. Please make sure the family is aware of the sharing of their contact information prior to submission.

Thank you for visiting this page. Please keep a check on this page from time to time and join our Facebook page to be informed of future events.

-Gene Elliott [2013]

“I've often been told that the effort I exert is merely but a drop in a limitless ocean. However, what is an ocean but a multitude of drops?”

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Judy’s Kids Genesis –The Story of Why

In 2006, I sit with my mother [Judith “Rose” Elliott] in a waiting room at a cancer clinic at Duke University. As we sit there complaining about her cancer and mine, a little girl with the sweetest face walked in and immediately greeted everyone in the room, individually, with their own personal smile. She was dressed in a t-shirt displaying a cartoon figure (I think it was Dora the Explorer, but my memory fails on that detail) and a fluffy little pink skirt. Her socks were pulled up high to accentuate the glitter and glow of her pink tennis shoes. And the tattered teddy bear in her company was proudly displayed on her hip as a child being carried by a loving mother. Clearly her most prized possession. She scampered across the room and hopped up into an adult sized chair with another glance around the room with a smile plastered over the grimace caused by the obvious pain of her swift movements. She scratched at the small cloth that covered her bald head and looked up at her mother with a look of determination that seemed to say “Ok! Let’s do this!” Her mother smiled back and lightly touched her sweet daughters head as to say, “Ok baby, I’m here with you.”

As my mind began to fill with the thoughts of the horrible things she had to endure, my mind simultaneously emptied of my troubles and afflictions. My eyes became watery as I thought “why” and “she just doesn’t deserve this”. Her gaze met mine and her eyes were full of life, love, and happiness. How can that be? How can she be so happy? So… alive?

As I pondered her mortality, I slowly became aware of my mother looking at me. As I turned expecting to be asked some question about what was to be discussed with the doctor that day, I was overcome with emotion as I saw in my mother’s eyes the same tears that I was desperately fighting to suppress. She grabbed my arm and laid her head on my shoulder as we both struggled to compose ourselves. We sat there gazing across the room, staring at a wall that we didn’t see.

After a few minutes I spoke, trying to hide the crack in my voice. “I guess if she can do it, then I …” My voice broke and I chose to not finish my sentence. My mother raised her head and nodded and held me even tighter. We needed no words to understand exactly what each other was feeling.

That little girl played in my mind for days. I didn’t know her name, nor did I even know her exact illness. All I knew is that in the face of terrible circumstances, she was finding joy. She had found peace. Driving to work one morning I had a thought that changed me forever. I was spared from death. Spared from the grip of cancer. This little one… was she? Then I thought of the increased expense and hardships that this family most certainly had to endure. Not because of any fault of their own, but something that is completely out of their control. No one has ever “planned” to have a sick child. We take for granted that every conception is flawless and will be completely successful in life and health. Many barely plan for the basics like food, shelter, clothing… who plans for thousands of dollars of healthcare expense?

I wanted to help! I picked up my cell phone and without a thought dialed my mother. When she answered I was so overcome that I could not speak to which she immediately panicked (if you knew my mother, she was easily panicked). I composed just enough to explain that I was ok, nothing was wrong. The words that seem to enlighten my mother to my condition was when I was able to get out the words “that little girl at Duke…”. I spent some time with my mother that day discussing the need to help families with severely or terminally ill children. Physically? Yep! Financially? Sure. Emotionally? Absolutely! We came up with a plan to organize this effort and even came up with a name for the foundation: “Emma’s Angels”. (Emma was my grandmother’s name and we had lost her to cancer as well only a few years prior.) It seemed like a perfect way to honor her memory.

The plan to organize this foundation was quickly overshadowed by my mother’s fight for her life. May 2nd, 2007 my mother lost her battle. Although we never spoke of “Emma’s Angels” after that one day, we remembered often what that little girl taught us about how to not wallow in self-pity. I knew she needed every bit of energy and fight to survive, so it would have to wait. I have never have forgotten that little girl, my mother’s tears, or the selfishness of self-pity. The plan stayed alive because cancer failed to terminate me! Not to diminish the memory of my ‘granny’, but to honor the involvement of my beloved mother, the name shall be changed to ‘Judy’s Kids’!

What we discussed was just a plan to organize… what you see here is the genesis of the actual organization. I plan to answer the question “Who can help?”

-Gene Elliott
Founder and Loving Son

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