100 Baskets! I can't even believe it. 100 babies were celebrated! 100 families congratulated! One year since our story was shared on CBS-WCCO TV, we delivered our 100th basket. And you will never believe where it went. It was sent to the United Kingdom! A baby girl in the United Kingdom was celebrated and her family congratulated! Never did I think that from the first baskets we brought to the hospital on Jack's 1st birthday would we have delivered over a 100 baskets (let alone across the world) to new families! God is good and we are so thankful for the support to make this happen. We LOVE celebrating babies with Down syndrome!
I thought this might be a great post to share some facts about how the baskets get to new families and answer some FAQs along with sharing some information about the upcoming fundraiser for Jack's Basket to raise awareness about Down syndrome, spread the love, and fundraise so we can continue to provide these resources, gifts, and encouragement to new families. So...this is a little long but I think helpful to give a better understanding of how the process works...
*BASKETS ARE DELIVERED TO THE HOSPITALS IN THE TWIN CITIES, ROCHESTER, & DULUTH AREAS BY A PARENT OF A CHILD WITH DOWN SYNDROME.
-Most families accept the invitation of the basket being delivered by a parent raising a child with Down syndrome. If parents are not interested in connecting at the time, the basket can be left for the nurse, social worker, or care coordinator to deliver it to the family.
-There are currently 12 people that are available to deliver to their assigned hospital. These volunteers are members of the GiGi's Medical Outreach Committee and donate their time to meet with new families and go to the hospitals to provide a connection and be a resource to new parents.
-Many new programs in other areas of the world have been started or encouraged by Jack's Basket, DSDN, NDSS, or their local Down syndrome organization to have a first connect program for new families. On Jack's 2nd birthday, Veslas koffert delivered their first 'suitcase' to the hospital, celebrating babies born in Norway. This group of moms were inspired by Jack's Basket. Having a program to connect new parents is essential because the reality is that some families are still leaving the hospital without resources, information about Down syndrome, and some are given outdated, misinformation, which is quite frankly sad and should not be happening in 2016. The best resource to me when I was in the hospital was when my coworker, who has a child with Ds, came to see me, hold Jack, and tell me I was going to be okay. You can read about that here. I will never forget the feeling I had after she left. Hope. My mind had a little less fear of the future. Her words were gold to me and I clung to each one of them. I can remember crying as I called K's mom a week after Jack was born. Explaining to her my fears and uncertainty about the future, she said that if she was given a million dollars she would not change her daughter...who at the time of the phone call was 17 years old. K's now 19 years old and flourishing. I wrote a few blog posts about her here, when she had the whole high school student body on their feet, and here, reminding me to enjoy THIS day. Connecting with another parent is so beneficial to new families and why we think the baskets should be delivered in person by a parent to a parent.
*BASKETS ARE REQUESTED BY NURSES, DOCTORS, SOCIAL WORKERS, FAMILY, AND FRIENDS
-It has taken many meetings, hours, phone calls, and conversations to spread the word about the baskets. Each hospital has their own unique way of requesting baskets and making sure that the family is presented a basket. It's important that numerous staff members know about how to request a basket from the website and making sure that all those working with families know about the program. Some of the hospitals have a consent form that parents sign to respect privacy laws while others have a staff member explain the gift basket, ask the parents if they are interested in the basket, and when the family accepts the offer, he/she asks if they can call on their behalf to have one brought to the hospital. The representative of Jack's Basket then becomes a guest of the family. Also, friends and family can request a basket via the website providing us the family's contact info (with their permission) so we can coordinate a visit and time that works for them. We are grateful for the hospital staff members that have allowed Jack's Basket to be a part of their staff meetings to share about the process and how we support families. Along with this, I have had some unique opportunities giving a family's perspective on receiving an unexpected diagnosis and I blogged about this in a post called, "I have unexpected news." I also blogged about going back to the hospital where we delivered Jack and sharing how our experience impacted us. You can read about that here.
*ARE BASKETS JUST DELIVERED TO THE HOSPITAL?
-A majority of the baskets are delivered to the hospital while the child is still inpatient, although there are unique times when we have brought them to homes or sent them in the mail. Typically, the official genetic test results are not back before the family goes home, confirming the diagnosis, but a lot of times doctors and nurses are pretty confident on what the test results will be based on physical characteristics the child is showing so we bring a basket before being discharged. I always think that it's much easier to deliver to the hospital then at home as I would have been that crazy lady frantically cleaning my house before a visitor would come...and who has time to clean a house with a newborn? So we prefer to bring them to the hospital within 48 hours of the delivery in the case there are no health concerns that would cause the baby to be in the hospital longer. If the baby has gone home, we offer to bring the basket to the home, or send it to the home address, whatever is most comfortable for the family.
-Outside of the Twin Cities, Rochester, and Duluth areas we send baskets via USPS. We are sending baskets weekly all around the United States. We have sent over 45 baskets to 23 different states. Along with British Columbia and the United Kingdom. A few of the resources in the baskets are from local organizations in the TC but we still provide them for those out-of-state to spark a motivation to see if their is a local organization in their area similar to the ones we find beneficial in the TC area. You can find a list of the contents of the basket on the website www.jacksbasket.org on the Request a Basket page.
*100% OF THE DONATIONS GO TOWARDS PURCHASING THE ITEMS FOR THE BASKET (INCLUDING GIFTS AND RESOURCES) AND GETTING THE BASKETS TO NEW FAMILIES (POSTAGE, MILEAGE AND/OR PARKING FEES, ETC)
-All of the work that goes into the baskets is done completely voluntarily.
*PARTNERSHIP WITH GIGI'S PLAYHOUSE
-Jack's Basket and GiGi's Playhouse-Twin Cities have a partnership which allows donations to be tax-deductible. You will receive a letter from GiGi's and Jack's Basket thanking you for your donation and supporting families!
*MORE INFO NEEDED OR QUESTIONS?
-Please check out the website and also Jack's Basket Facebook page that shares the latest updates and pictures of the babies we celebrate!
*LASTLY...COME JOIN US AT THE JACK'S BASKET FUNDRAISER!
WHEN: THURSDAY, JANUARY 14TH, 2016 AT 7:00PM
WHERE: FOGERTY ARENA : 9250 Lincoln St. NE BLAINE, MN
WHAT: A GREAT NIGHT OF HOCKEY BETWEEN THE BLAINE BENGALS AND CENTENNIAL COUGARS, RAFFLE OF A BLAINE HOCKEY JERSEY WITH SIGNATURES OF THE CURRENT PLAYERS, CHUCK A PUCK PROCEEDS BENEFIT JACK'S BASKET, DOWN SYNDROME AWARENESS ITEMS, AND SO MUCH FUN!
JACK HOPES TO SEE YOU THERE!