Congratulations Sandy Gardner & Family & Friends!!!!
I am so happy to have met the 200 Commitment Goal my family made but I would never have made it if it wasn’t for the generous and caring Antonopoulos Family. Tina and her daughter Noel wanted to stay anonymous but I am so happy they extended an email to me to introduce themselves because I have made a true friend that has such a huge heart and cares for not just Cashel and Allie but ALL our children fighting SMA.
Tina and Noel Antonopoulos
In Honor of Cashel and Allie Gardner
And All SMA Children
For it is in giving that we receive.” St. Francis of Assisi.
We live in a society with so many ways to communicate. Social networking has allowed people to be more aware and more capable of communicating and helping each other. It is a beautiful thing. As complicated as life has become, one thing has always been plain and simple-giving.
I have been a giving person all of my life. In fact, I am happiest when I give. I taught both of my children to always be grateful and give back to the world. That is what God wants us to do. I thank God that He allowed me the gift of giving and receiving through the Gardner family and the SMA community.
My beautiful daughter Noel, who is 14 1/2 years old is a big fan of Criss Angel. Over the course of about two years, Noel has been a loyal. At first, she was amazed with his talents. Over time, she became amazed with the man Criss truly is, a caring, giving man. Noel found out about this through a beautiful and special boy named Cashel Gardner. Cashel and Noel are the same age. Whenever Criss would do or say something to Cashel and Noel would come across it, she would always mention it to me. We were both always so touched by what we heard.
One day Noel came to me and told me that Cashel’s mom, Sandy Gardner, had a birthday wish to collect money to buy IPADS for children with SMA. This past summer, I asked Noel to go to the site where Sandy was trying to raise funds from. I wanted to see her progress. She still needed a certain amount of money to be able to buy one IPAD. I immediately decided, without thinking about it, that I wanted to make Sandy’s birthday wish come true.
Who would have thought that helping to buy an IPAD would flourish into a beautiful friendship? I gave a little and I received so much more. Sandy began educating me on SMA. As she was telling me all she endured to take care of her two beautiful children, Cashel and Allie, she said one great thing to me and it has stuck with me to this day:” I don’t feel like my life is a burden. I am doing what God wants me to do…..take care of his children.”
That night, after I heard that beautiful statement, I stayed up questioning God -what I can do to help Sandy, on a personal level, and even further help the SMA society on a wider spectrum? Sandy and I discussed how a doctor was raising funds for gene therapy earlier that day. Sandy was trying to raise $5000.00 to give to that fund. That night, I decided I was going to gift that money to the fund. No questions asked. No doubts. No ifs, and or buts.
When I told Sandy the next day, she was in shock. We had spoken a few times on the phone, and communicated a handful of times through emails. Why? and How? were the questions. My answer was why not? I felt for her and her children. I felt for Sophia. I felt for all the children that needed an IPAD to make it through the day. I wanted to help and I am glad I did.
I extend my well wishes to all the families who have children with SMA. Anything is possible with love and determination. Don’t give up. There are others like me out there helping to ensure a better quality life for children with SMA, and perhaps a cure one day. I will help you fight this fight. I am a mom and I know what it means to want to be able to give your children everything they want and need. My heart goes out to all the families and my thoughts and prayers will always be with you always.
Cashel touched my heart from thousands of miles away, from his bed, tweeting on his computer. God works his miraculous ways through everyone. Everyone has a purpose. Every child has a gift. Cherish every moment with your beautiful children. God lives in them. You can see it in their eyes.
God Bless All the SMA families and their beautiful children.
My part was small. What you have all done for me and my family is priceless.