This picture started with a conversation.
A conversation with my husband where we asked ourselves, "What can we do to give back? What can we do to leave a legacy for our children? What can we do that our children will continue to do in our family's name long after we're gone?"
From that conversation, A Little Bit of Pixie Dust was born.
We could not have imagined the overwhelming response we received. We put it out there on Instagram, asking if anyone knew of a deserving child in Florida that we could gift a day at the Magic Kingdom for them and their mom or caregiver.
Our gift would include their park tickets, their parking fee, and a $50 gift card as spending money.
We asked ourselves, "Is this enough?" It was what we could budget to do, and we thought we would not receive many nominations because it did not include a hotel stay or travel to and from the park.
We were wrong.
We received nominations of so many deserving children. Children that had never been to Disney World yet live within mere miles from the park. Children that had sadly lost a parent. Children with special needs and children that are doing beautiful things in their community. We wanted to take them all!
As a family, we decided on Cali Haven. Cali is a stage 4 cancer survivor.
Cali had just turned three when her mom was giving her a bath and discovered a lump on her abdomen.
To her horror, she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
Cali lost her hair.
Cali lost weight.
Cali had speech and developmental delays due to chemo.
Above all, Cali lost time.
Time to do what other children should be doing, playing outside, and not receiving chemo.
Cali fought back.
Her family fought alongside with her.
She beat cancer and was recently told she was cancer-free.
She's a survivor.
About a month ago, Cali underwent hernia surgery because the chemo had made her so constipated, she developed a hernia. This little girl is a cancer warrior. A testament to her parents that never lost hope while praying for a miracle.
What makes an unforgettable day even more special is how other people saw what we were doing and contacted us.
Our Little Bit of Pixie Dust turned into a WAVE of pixie dust.
People that did not know one another came together to make an already special day even more memorable.
A family contacted me and asked, "Can we contribute towards her father's ticket so that he could go too?"
An Etsy shop contacted me and asked, "Can I make her custom ears for her special day?"
People that I did not know contacted me via Instagram to ask me how they could contribute.
Our $350 gift turned into everything that was initially planned and much more than we could have imagined. We were able to gift the family an additional $575 in spending money.
They could not believe it.
I could not believe that what was started as a conversation turned into strangers coming together to give back.
I know that not everyone can budget to give $350 or even $20.
What everyone can give is a way to pay it forward.
For us, we hope to do A Little Bit of Pixie Dust every year. We would love to be able to get to the point financially where we could include a hotel stay and travel to and from the park for a family.
You do not have to do the same.
You can pay it forward in your own way.
Maybe someone in your community is re-painting an old building, and you can donate some time to help.
Perhaps a neighbor that cannot mow their lawn due to disability could use your assistance.
If you know a caregiver, ask them if you could step in to care for their loved one while they go watch a movie.
It could be as simple as helping a person unload their groceries from the car.
What I have learned through this experience is that pixie dust can be anything you can do to spread kindness and pay it forward.
An amazing thing happens when you spread pixie dust.
People come together.
People create tiny ripples that turn into waves of kindness.
What I learned is that when you ask yourself, "Is this enough? Should I even bother doing it?"
The answer is always, "YES."
Do it because the world needs more of it.
For more pictures of this special day, visit my Instagram: www.instagram.com/shepensblog/
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