Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Breaking my Break

O.k. Sweets....I know I'm on a break of sorts but I HAVE to share this incredible story with you about my very best friend in the whole world, Marianna Teller, and her sweet family. This is one of those stories that is so touching, so heartbreaking and so inspiring all at once.

Background information is that Marianna is my oldest and dearest friend. We became close as freshman in high school when we connected at a church youth group we both attended. Our parents informed us that we had gone to Sunday School together as 4-year-olds at a different church both families attended when we were itty-bitty. When we saw photos of one another at around age 4 we both remembered the other one! I remembered her long, blonde hair that her mother often styled in beautiful curls and she remembers my long, brown hair. As high schoolers we were inseparable. We remained close until she moved away for a bit in early college but when she moved back at the end of college, we got an apartment together and were roommates until I got married in 2000. Marianna is a "forever friend," and if you have one, you know what I mean. We were in one another's weddings and rejoiced with one another over the birth of our children. She's the girl I can not talk to for months at a time and then pick up where we left off as if no time has passed.

Marianna has a 3-year-old, Andrew, who has cerebral palsy, as well as 1-year-old, Michael. At Andrew's birth, Marianna and Andrew both almost died but miraculously, they both lived. It was a frightening time for all of us. But due to balls dropped by medical professionals involved Andrew was without oxygen long enough during the birth process that he sustained a baby-sized stroke(s) and this caused his cerebral palsy. Marianna and her husband are among the strongest people I have ever known and have been through incredible, unexplainable pain, frustration and difficulty. Throughout it they have stuck together, stood by Andrew, advocated for him in every possible way, and all this while Marianna's husband works on his doctorate at Nortre Dame. It kills me to not live in the same town as Marianna...we live in Central California...and to only be able to support her by phone and email. She is my biggest hero and I love her husband and sons to death!

That's why it was horrible to hear that they were victimized. A scrap metal thief stole the wheelchair lift that had been designated for their Andrew from the non-profit agency that was helping them get this lift. Can you believe that? After all they've been through. But look at how even this has turned out for the good and not only that we can all contribute to it, as well.

Double-click on the link below to watch this incredible t.v. news story about Marianna and her family:

p.s. Keep in mind that itty-bitty little Mama carrying that big "little man" around is MAYBE 100 pounds when soaking wet and just barely taller than me at about 5'2. This lift is not just a's a necessity! But I am praying that they are able to get one, not just for Marianna's and Andrew's sake but also because of the emotional need that a gift like that could fill. Just imagine...strangers caring enough to help. That is what brings me to tears. Incredible, isn't it?

I'm going to forward any comments you leave to Marianna, Sweets, so if you don't mind, will you leave the comments for Marianna? I'd love that!

Thank you all in advance for your sweet comments, support and even financial support if you feel led to send it. There's an address on that news story but if by chance that link stops working and you need the address for the fund again, just pop me an email and I'll send it to you.



RachaelEnsomFrance said...

Oh that breaks my heart! What a blessing that people want to help them out. They are so brave and strong!

Heather said...

Lucky you and Marianna to have each other. I haven't visited the link yet but I will. I am sending bright blessings to her and her family and prayers that her family will find the help it needs. HUGS

twinkleshabbystar said...

My heart goes OUT to your dearest long time friend Marianna and her family. I PRAY that the news story reaches everyone and with donation help (big or small) sweet little Andrew will have his wheelchair lift. They are such a deserving familiy and I will keep them in my prayers!!! You are such an AMAZING sweet friend Cheryl to help spread the word. Marianna is so lucky!!! :) XO

Natasha Burns said...

WOW people can be so generous and it's amazing how you can find this out at the worst of times

Ele at abitofpinkheaven said...

That is just horrible. So glad she has you and I will keep the family in my prayers.

Lori said...

Cheryl, you friend and her husband sound amazing...and i am truly horrified that somebody would steal the chair~lift for their sweet boy...that makes me SO angry!!! i will be praying for them that they get the help they need to get another chair lift for their little boy.

Heather ~ Pretty Petals said...

OH Cheryl... it is terrible that people could be so cruel??? I hope and pray that your friend's sweet family will get the help they need.

What a good friend you are!! xoxo Heather

Sugar Bear said...

Some people's actions really amaze you sometimes. I can only hope that the thief will come to their senses. Marianna sounds like such a wonderful mother. Blessing to their family and to little Andrew.

Britt- Sparkled Vintage Charm said...

oh my goodness!!! what a horrible thing to happen to such an amazing family! My heart and my prayers go out to them!

Anonymous said...

You're such a sweet friend Cheryl!!! I'll definitely keep Marianna and her sweet little guy in my prayers!!

Love~ Dara

Beth said...

hi cheryl - i am sooo very sorry to hear that about your friend - my heart goes to her as i too have a child that had a stroke - he had a stroke inutero and we found out when he was 6mths - he is now 4 and is doing great - I can't believe that people have the nerve to do something that cruel and it breaks my heart to hear that !!its hard enough being a mom and dad that has to advocate for their child in the first place to get the very things they need -
tell marianne i am thinking of her !! and they are in my thoughts and prayers- so glad to hear that people are helping !!
hugs to you too for being such a great friend !!

Atticbabys said...

What a wonderful friend you are Cheryl. I'm touched by this story for many reasons. This exact thing happened to my brother believe it or not!
I definately want to contribute, thankyou for letting us know!

Lori said...

Oh my Cheryl how sad. I live in South Bend, guess we never went ther ewhen we talked! I missed it on the news. Just this last week we have had a church very vandalized by people taking copper and metal and to top it off they are hitting all our local cemetaries! Employment in South Bend and the area is horrible and it is definately causing people to do horrible things, our mayor is not very good!! Sent you a email. You'll have to tell your wonderful young Mom I live here and about 12 minutes if that from the university! Love,Lori

Hazel said...

Hi Cheryl,
It's at times like these that we realise how truly important friendships are. As if Marianna and her family haven't been through enough. The world is full of so many diverse people both cruel and kind. Treasure your wonderful friendship bonds which will continue to grow over the years.
Love to you, Marianna and her brave family.
Hazel xx

Jenn and Jacqui said...

Dear Cheryl,

This just breaks our hearts, that is just too terrible for words. You are such a gorgeous true friend Cheryl, we know your heart will be aching for dear Marianna and her family. And what a gorgeous strong and brave family they are. We hope and pray the family will get all the help they need.

Huge hugs Cheryl :)
Jenn and Jacqui

jillian said...

I don't even know what to say. How sad that someone could be so cruel. I will be sure to let as many people I know about it so we can have the family in our prayers. What a blessing to have a sweet & loving friend like you.

Adla said...

What a wonderful friendship you have with Mariana.What courage! I hope she gets the lift for Andrew some way soon :)May the spirits be kept high always!

Melody said...

Marianna looks like such a lovely person, what a shame, people can be so heartless. Prayer does amazing things, it is so nice to see so many beautiful caring people praying and reaching out,
God bless you and your friends.

Loving My Life said...

Oh that is so sad. I can't believe that people are that low. I will be saying many prayers for this family.

Amy at Bunny Rose Cottage said...

Oh this is just heartbreaking! Oh, I feel just awful! Marianna is gorgeous and oh that little angel is beyond precious! I am sending tons of hugs to her and her family! You are a wonderful friend Cheryl! You are lucky to have one another.


Heidi ( said...

You're a good friend for sharing this on your blog. There ARE more good people than bad, and now your friend Mariana will have the joy of knowing how many kind people are really in her world (thanks to such special friends are yourself!)


Twinkle Pink said...

I was so sorry to hear this news about your friend Marianna and her family.

Unfortunately there are theives like this everywhere but the good thing is that there is a lot more goodness and generosity in the world to overcome the evil and greed.
The good just need to know they are needed and communication is the key. So you my friend are their key along with the news on tv too and then hopefully they might just get the lift they wanted sooner than they thought.

Best wishes Ginny

Fated Follies Studio said...

How sweet is this family. I pray for their encouragement and hope that God will provide for all their needs. Even though this seems like such an awful thing, Jesus looks for opportunities to bless His children and make Himself known to them in a new way. I pray that He does this in and through this situation. Much love to them,

jenny fowler

janae said...

I read your blog and was saddened..what has happened to society. I was on craigslist today and found a free electric wheel chair lift in Chicago...not sure if that would help your friends any but here is the info:
Reply to:
Date: 2008-04-08, 11:36AM CDT

Free Electric Wheel Chair lift in good working order. Interested persons must arrange for removal and transport of the lift.

Location: Oak Park

Jen said...

This story is amazing. When you were describing Marianne and her loyal friendship, I knew she was the type of woman who could endure the blessings and challenges of a special needs child. God bless her and her family! Please keep us posted. P.s. Love your blog! :)

ReminisceHeirlooms said...

I just cannot believe some people. This world i sso sad in a lot of ways. :( I would love for you to email me her address please. I have missed chatting with you. Your blog is as sweet and beautiful as ever!