April 2012

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Often we get nominations that move us to tears. This one is no exception. We received a nomination from Janice Walters who told us about Avery. Here is what she wrote:

A friend of a friend’s 5 month old daughter was diagnosed with SMA. It’s a degenerative disease that will end up taking her life. It could take two weeks or 18 months at the most. Her parents have taken a path that for the life of me I can’t figure out how they have this much strength. Instead of sitting around and crying (which I’m sure they’ve done), they’ve begun a blog of awareness and made a bucket list. They just learned the diagnosis last week. I just finished reading their posts and I’m a total mess as most folks would be. I’m not sure how this whole Sussy thing works but I wanted to reach out.

Here’s Avery’s blog if you’d like to take a look. Caution: have some tissues or a very absorbent shirt at the ready before reading. Her parents are truly an inspiration. Averycan.blogspot.com

beautiful Avery

So without delay, I went to the blog and as Janice warned me, the tears came fast. This baby girl is so precious and tiny and yet has a raging disease inside her that no one can understand. And yet her parents’ attitude is contagiously uplifting. What they have decided to do to make her short life full is just incredible. As I read through the blog and then through her bucket list, I found a few things that we at The Sussy Project could do.

We reached out to Laura, Avery’s mom, (through the help of another friend, Kate) and let her know that we have sent the following to help knock off a few things on her bucket list: a Barbie (so she can play with Barbies), the Polar Express DVD (so she can watch it), and nail polish (so she can get her first mani/pedi).

Laura and Avery

Laura was very appreciative, and we’ll continue to follow Avery’s blog not only to hopefully see her experience what we have sent, but more importantly, to follow the progress of her health. I know she has a very rough road ahead, but the way her parents are providing her a life full of living, helps keep the tears at bay.

Avery at the Waterpark!

I encourage you to read Avery’s blog, check out her bucket list and do what you can to help. And if you have a little one at home, hug him or her tightly tonight.

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To nominate someone for a sussy, email us at info@thesussyproject.com

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We have heard about a lot of life issues here at The Sussy Project: individuals who have lost pets, brothers, sons, daughters; people who have been diagnosed with horrible diseases; children who have to become adults too soon. But this is our first time being introduced to a woman who fought back against domestic abuse.

Meet “Jen.” She was nominated by her friend Karie (who is now part of the Sussy Squad!) who wrote this:

I would like to nominate my best friend.  I’m not sure where to begin as to why she should receive a Sussy.  She has two children and recently left her husband.  It was a tough decision because she was a victim of domestic violence for years and she had nothing of her own and a lot of fear.  She was a stay at home mother who took great pride in being the best mother she could be.  She would hide her pain and her hurt with her big smile – nobody would ever know she was suffering so much at the hands of the man who was supposed to love her the most.

Three months ago after a very serious incident of violence she knew she had to get out.  She found a full-time job and a house and has been moving forward ever since.  Her life has been nothing but stressful and sad but she continues to put on a brave face for her children.  Jen’s life has changed drastically – from her day to day actions as well as financially.  She struggles with the guilt of not spending enough time with her children and not being able to provide all the “things” they were use to prior to Jen moving out on her own.

She is the type of person who will help you no matter what is going on in her life.  She is always there to listen and provide support even when her life feels out of control.  She has been the best friend I could have ever asked for – she is always there encouraging me on and listening to me complain or tell a funny story.  She has been such an amazing friend to me and I just wish at one point in her life she will truly be able to smile again and see she can and will be happy.  Domestic violence is something I have never been around and when she finally opened up (and I saw first hand) I knew her strength was amazing – she wanted to protect her children and needed to move on.

Since Jen is as single mother now – money is tight.  Her life is her two children – if she is chosen for a Sussy, I believe anything for the three of them would be appreciated.  Maybe a gift card to Orange Leaf for a night out for yogurt – or maybe something just for her – she’s an avid coffee drinker so maybe a card to Starbucks.  I know she will be great full for anything.

We reached out to Jen to let her know of her nomination, and to send her a Starbucks gift card. If anyone deserves a smile and some coffee, it’s her.

Here is her response:

I am extremely grateful for the Sussy surprise! My crazy schedule doesn’t allow a lot of time to surf the web or check my email unless I’m looking for something specific. So I assumed the email was just spam and never opened! Haha! Karie had to tell me I had important email.

Anyways, I am the one who should be nominating my best friend Karie for changing my life! Ever since the day she befriended me, I’ve been a happier and a better person. I would not be here bettering myself and kids without her support. I would’ve never been able to move forward without knowing she was right behind me pushing me through it. She has been my number one support and I’m eternally grateful! She really is the bestest friend ever.

It’s tough to make the decision to leave the only life you and your children know. When in a verbal or physically abusive relationship, you become used to it and numb to the fact that it’s not supposed to be that way. I was consumed by the idea that I could change someone, but in actuality, he could not and would not change.

It’s not easy yet and may never be but I know I made the right decision. Some days I may second guess myself but I have to remind myself that my sole responsibility in life is to provide a safe and healthy environment for my children. They are adjusting well and will be happier little children and adults someday.

Thanks for the Starbucks card! And thank you and love you mucho, Karie!!

I hope that if anyone out there is dealing with a similar situation, they can find strength in Jen’s. She is quite the inspiration.

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Want to nominate someone for a Sussy? Email us at info@thesussyproject.com.

Have you sussied someone lately? Who do you know that needs to be surprised by kindness? Do it today.

 

 

The Sussy Project has taken off over the past few months. Starting with just two of us who manage the project, we are now in a position where we need help. So we are introducing the Sussy Squad.

We’ve gotten a lot of interest from people asking how they can donate or help with The Sussy Project and we finally have an answer! What we need are volunteers that are willing to help us review nominations, deliver sussies and then blog about it. We are asking for a commitment of at least three “Sussy experiences” a year. Our hope is that this Sussy Squad can not only help us deliver more sussies, but that it will also help us expand geographically. We have big plans for TSP and we know that with your help, we’ll get there faster.

So if you are interested in being a part of The Sussy Project, please email us at info@thesussyproject.com.

We can’t wait to work with you!

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You may remember the post about Debra back in December. We received the nomination from Nicole, Debra’s daughter, after her brother Wes (Debra’s son) passed away. The Sussy Project sent Debra a Christmas ornament with Wes’ name and dates printed on it.

Recently, we received another nomination for their family – from Nicole’s good friend Evan. Evan wrote us this:

I’m writing this nomination for an old friend who’s recently come back into my life. A friend, in fact, who nominated her own mother for a sussy even though my friend was hurting. I’d like to nominate my friend, Nicole Singer Bova.

As you at The Sussy Project know, Nicole lost her brother Wes around Thanksgiving last year. Although I’m in Ohio right now, I saw her struggle with her brother’s loss, putting on a brave face to help her family through it. She planned the entire funeral, driving back and forth between Evansville, IN and Indianapolis, taking all of the planning on her shoulders to help give her mom a little peace. Although I couldn’t be there at the funeral, I heard that it was beautiful and a real tribute to Wes.

Wes’s birthday is coming up in April, and I know it will be a rough time for Nicole. She’s so strong and thoughtful that I know her focus will be on her mom. I just think Nicole deserves something that will make her smile and laugh, something that will bring a little bit of lightness to a very dark time.

Thank you for everything you do. I know Nicole was so moved and excited when you sent her mom the ornament. I keep seeing her do so much for others, that I’d love to see something great happen for her.

I had communicated with Nicole quite a bit while organizing the Sussy for her mother and was so happy to see that Nicole has great friends looking out for her too. So The Sussy Project did a little research (with the help of Evan) and found some fun wine glasses on Etsy to send to Nicole. As a wine lover myself, I thought they were perfect for her. Plus they are pretty lighthearted.

Mustache wine glasses

I emailed her to let her know of her own nomination and her response was immediate. She seemed quite honored.

And just last week, Evan wrote us this:

Nicole got the wine glasses and she loves them! They’re so cute/funny. Thank you so much! She’s apparently been laughing since she got them. Exactly what she needed! Thank you!

I can’t even fathom the thought of losing my brother. This family has been in my thoughts since the first nomination from Nicole and I am just so glad that we were able to bring a little smile to their faces. Please keep them in your thoughts as they continue to mourn the loss of their dear Wes.

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To nominate someone for a sussy, please email us at info@thesussyproject.com


Adam and Abbie are bright young teenagers living in Cleveland. But their world has been turned upside down not just once, but twice in their short lives. A few years ago, they lost their mom at a very young age. Since then, they have been raised by their father, who has worked hard to keep them in private Catholic schools and be the best parent he can over the course of their tween and teenage years.  Despite the grief of losing their mother, both Adam and Abbie have excelled. They are fantastic students. They volunteer with children and in local hospitals. Adam wants to be a pharmacist (he is a junior in high school) and Abbie loves animals and is considering becoming a vet (she is a freshman).

Within the past month, their dad, Brian, was diagnosed with cancer. They are determined to fight this battle head-on with the help of friends and family. As their aunt, Michelle (who nominated Adam and Abbie) says, “it takes a village.” They haven’t given up hope that remission, healing and/or a miracle could be possible for him. But needless to say, this diagnosis has placed a very heavy heart on their family.

So The Sussy Project sent a sizable box of goodies from Baking for Good to Adam and Abbie. We know that nothing we do can fix their pain and fear, but sugar sure seems to help every situation look a little brighter. Baking for Good is an awesome organization. With every order, 15% is donated to the charity of your choice. Of course we chose the American Cancer Society.

yum!

As soon as they received their Sussy, they called Aunt Michelle who wrote to us this:

Thank you so much for sending a little bit of sunshine and yummy goodness to Abbie and Adam (and their Dad, Brian). They were very surprised by the package from Baking For Good of assorted treats! When Abbie received the package she called me and said, “Awww, that was so nice of them to think of us. Everything is so good! That is so neat that money was sent to the American Cancer Society, too”. Brian was very touched as well and sends his sincere thank you for reaching out to the family. Thanks to all those who make The Sussy Project possible-it touched a lot of hearts. :)

Our hearts go out to their family and we are sending every well wish we have that Brian makes a full recovery to see his children become the amazing adults they are destined to be. Thank you, Michelle, for the nomination. And to Abbie and Adam – hang in there. Keep shining. Eat cookies. :) Much love from your Sussy Project family.

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To nominate someone for a Sussy, please email us at info@thesussyproject.com

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