DeLanee's Story

10 years ago, Becky and Tommy, were blessed to be pregnant with their second child. Shortly thereafter they learned that they were going to be parents to a little girl, but the probability of their daughter living for very long was extremely low. Their daughter was diagnosed with a condition called Dandy-Walker Cyst. The doctors believed that their baby girl would deteriorate and pass away during pregnancy, but much to their surprise DeLanee developed until 28 weeks gestation when she was delivered and lived for three hours. As you can imagine, these 3 hours was precious time that they spent as a family with their daughter taking pictures, bathing, dressing and holding her until she passed away in their arms. Upon DeLanee's passing, the nurses brought the family a box to put their daughter’s belongings in to take home with them. Because DeLanee was born in January the nurses were able to find a leftover Christmas box. That Christmas box became extremely special to them and they clung to it and the contents inside that held their daughter’s precious belongings as they left the hospital without their baby. It was because of this box that the inspiration for Lanee’s Legacy began. . .

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

By small and simple things. . .

Alright you guys, we are on the final countdown - 10 days to be exact! We have had some amazing things happen recently, including our story being written in the East Valley Tribune. If by some chance you weren't able to catch it, you can find it here:

Because we are on our final countdown, we have come up with another contest that we will announce very soon that will be sure to please! You won't want to miss this, so be sure and check back as we will post ALL of the details real soon!!

The picture above is a picture of Rayel Smith, a member of our Lanee's Legacy team. She and I have been friends since Jr. high and could definitely tell you some crazy stories that go way back - we'll keep those dirty little secrets to ourselves though! What we are sharing is a story from our lives as moms and the loss of our children. Little did Rayel and I know that this would be something that we would have in common as mothers. I know this story was not an easy one for Rayel to tell. Some things are just so personal that they are difficult to talk about at times. She is such a wonderful mother (to 6 children - yes 6!) and that includes the wonderful job she is doing at mothering her angel baby, Garrett. She has been a source of strength for me as she too joined this club that neither of us wanted to be in, but thankful for each other as it has brought us closer together as we've shared in this grief.

Although many boxes had been donated to many grieving moms, most of them I did not know personally. When I heard of Rayel's loss, it really hit home for me as she was someone I had grown up with and loved. I think that many of us upon hearing of a loved one's tragedy immediately ask ourselves "what can we do to help?". It is such an empty helpless feeling to know that someone you love is hurting and to feel useless in helping to ease their pain. I'm not just talking about the loss of a baby, but any sort of personal tragedy or challenge that a friend or family member is facing. We take cards, flowers and even meals into grieving families offering our love and support during difficult times. . .and then we search for more that we can do. As hard as we all try to help, it is so difficult to watch our loved ones grieve while we watch from the sidelines. . .helpless. Sometimes, simply being there is as much as we can do. This is how I felt when I heard of Rayel's loss. Helpless. I had personally experienced the loss of a baby just as she had and yet I still felt this way. Aside from my love and support, the box was all I had to offer.

I knew of how simple my Christmas box was, but yet so special and significant to me at the same time. I know the boxes we donate can never completely take away the pain of losing a child. We've heard from many mom's telling us that the boxes they have received are significant to them as well. Honestly, when I began making the boxes I felt like they were more for me and my own way of dealing with my grief. I really did not know how much they would help until I began hearing from others. I just thought it was something simple for a mom to hold onto as they leave the hospital. Sometimes it is the small and simple things that mean so much.

So, in the LONG round about way of this post, the point in this. We have had so many people contact us asking this same question: "what can I do to help". It really is just the small things that we need. Simply buy a ticket to the breakfast. We have close to 550 members on facebook. Can you imagine the difference it would make if each person would buy just 1 ticket at $5.00 each (or donate $5.00 if you can't make it)? We are hoping to put as much as we can from the profits that we make right back into the donating of the boxes. We don't want any mother to not receive a box as they leave the hospital. They are just a small and simple way of helping a grieving parent that will be made possible by your small and simple donation.

Other ways for you to help are coming. We will have a volunteer sign-up sheet at the breakfast and hope to have many of you sign up to help with the actual assembly of the boxes. This will give us such a great opportunity to connect as parents, offering support to each other while giving back. I can't wait to meet many of you and work on this together. Thanks to all of you who are so willing to get involved and want to help out. I truly hope that this hasn't sounded trivial or too simple of a resolution of how you can help. Sometimes it really is just the small stuff.

Friday, September 25, 2009

One Family's Story

Do you ever think that you were meant to meet certain people? That there was a purpose for your paths to cross? Have you ever watched the effect and role they play in your life that confirms to you that they were meant to be there at that specific time and even for a specific purpose? And then after you do, you can't imagine your life without them? There are so many people in my life that I feel that exact way about. When I was pregnant with DeLanee and after she passed there were so many people that played critical roles in my life. I can't imagine having to navigate through that tremendous trial without the friendship, support and love of so many people. Each played a different role, but every one so important to me.

Recently, I have been blessed similarly. There have been so many amazing experiences in the last few months as Lanee's Legacy has been organized. Many stories where people have been brought into my life and become a part of this cause that is so touching. Many stories that confirm to me that they were meant to be a part of this and that now is the right time for Lanee's Legacy to be formed and really grow.

Heather at JB Promos is one of those stories. The logos you see here on our blog, she designed. The tickets you have purchased from us, she designed. The postcards that were sent to each mom that has ever lost a baby at Banner Desert Hospital, she designed. The t-shirts that we will be wearing on the day of the event, she designed. The banner that will be displayed at the breakfast, she designed. She has put so much time and effort into making sure that all of our marketing needs are taken care of. AND she has done ALL this at little or no cost to us! What a blessing she has been! Unfortunately, her family has been touched by the loss of a baby as well. She too has a personal connection to the grief and sadness a family experiences after losing a baby.

Three months ago, her brother and his Wife, Jon and Rayalee Davies, were expecting twin girls. Sadly, their babies suffered from a condition known as twin to twin transfusion which ended in the loss of both of their precious babies. Heather told us that she was in the room when they brought two pink boxes into Jon and Rayalee for them to put their daughter's belongings in. She said they cried when they were given to them. When Heather told me this story, I cried too. Each time I hear of a family beginning this grief journey my heart just aches for them.

This is an e-mail I received from Jon and Rayalee Davies which tells the story of their sweet daughters in their own words:

As any parents would be we were overjoyed to welcome a new baby to our family, we were twice as happy that we got to add two more babies. We were blessed to have identical twin girls. Our joy was to be short lived as we found out that our twins suffered from a syndrome called twin to twin transfusion. At 27 1/2 weeks the babies werent moving as much as normal, so we rushed to Mercy Gilbert hospital where an ultrasound was performed and found that twin B now known as Nichole Ray Davies had passed away inside of me, but that baby A now known as Ashley Marie Davies was fine so far as they could see. We were then rushed to Banner Dessert Hospital where I was put on bedrest for two weeks, and then released to go home on strick bedrest. I was home for one week and on sunday June 14, 2009 our little babies were born Nichole weighing in at 2lbs. 7oz.and 15in. and Ashley at 2lbs. 15oz.and 17in. Nichole was handed to her daddy and Ashley was rushed to the NICU where we soon found out that because of Nichole's eariler death Ashley had sustained some very severe brian damage and would not survive. Jon and I were given the choice to leave her on the machines or take her off, with pain management. Our hearts broke as we choose to take her off the machines. We were told we would have 15-30 secounds of time before she would be gone, but Ashley fought and held on for an entire hour till I told her that mommy would be ok, and after 13 hours and 41 minutes of her life she, surrounded by Jon and I, both sets of grandparents, and her favorite Aunt Heather, peacefully rejoined her sister. During what has been the hardest thing that we have ever been through, we have been blessed with the sweet memories of our girls, and the knowledge that they are well and safe and fufilling a mission far greater than we can know.

Jon & Rayalee Davies

Thank you Jon and Rayalee for being so willing to share the story of your sweet girls with us. Thank you Heather for your amazing talent and willingness to help Lanee's Legacy with all of our promotional items. This is definitely one of those paths that I know we were supposed to cross. I am so sorry for the losses you have had to endur, but am so thankful for the effect you have had in my life as well as Lanee's Legacy's.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Butterfly Babies (and Parents)

First of all, we need to announce the winner of our QT gift card and thank all of you who worked so hard to help launch Lanee. The recepient of our $50.00 QT gift card goes to:


Please keep referring your friends and family and get your tickets early. They are going fast, so make sure to grab them up soon!

We have been asked why we chose the butterfly to use as part of our logo and thought that we'd answer that question here. In general, the butterfly is a powerful reminder of change and transformation. It is a strong symbol of metamorphosis, with distinct stages. So, for obvious reasons the butterfly was chosen as part of our logo to represent these things.

But the butterfly has also been a part of DeLanee's story from the beginning. When DeLanee was born, her older brother Garrett was just 3 1/2 years old. He expressed a desire to be as involved as he could with what was happening with his baby sister and we were counseled to let him take the lead with this. So, we didn't pressure him to participate or do anything particular, but by his own account he was very involved with her. At her viewing he chose to bring a small little stuffed puppy to put in her casket - his puppy's name was "Sara". He didn't even think twice about leaving that stufed animal with her. He was so thoughtful to the little sister he had only spent a short time with here on earth. But, there is no doubt in my mind that the two of them had a very special relationship with each other before coming to earth.

Garrett did so good at her graveside by being as patient as possible while the talks and songs were being done. About halfway through though he started to get restless and he left his chair and started to roam and play nearby. It wasn't too long before we noticed that he was following and playing with a butterfly. Butterflies have a sense of lightness and joy and to see Garrett being so carefree and happy with his butterfly he had found was so sweet to me.

As a bereaved mother, I have found it healing to be able to link any memory or experience to my baby as possible. Which is why my Christmas box was so special to me - it contained every item that I had that was linked to her in some way. Anything that touched her skin was in that box. Any photographs I had of her was in that box. Any cards or ID tags that had her name written on it was in that box. Garrett's experience with the butterfly is another memory that I link to DeLanee and will continue to remind me of her whenever I see one.

When I first lost DeLanee, I asked the question "why me" many times. Why must I have to feel the pain of losing a child? Why do I have to be planning my daughter's graveside and burial? Why do I have to pick out a headstone? Why does my son have to continue to be an only child? Why do I have to learn to answer the question "how many kids do you have?". Why do I have to go through this adversity? The "why" question can go on and on.

But I wonder if the caterpillar ever asked the question: "Why must I suffer? Why cannot I simply, in the twinkling of an eye, become a butterfly?" It's the struggle to break out of the cocoon that develops the butterfly to be able to fly. Without that adversity the butterfly would never have the strength to achieve it's destiny. It would never develop the strength to become something extraordinary. As with the butterfly, adversity is necessary to build character in people. When we are given these really hard trials, I think it's important to remember that it is the adversity that is shaping us into who we are. The trials that we experience are a temporary chrysalis that if we can only endure we can become as the butterfly - free to grow, change and become something beautiful.

When we were choosing the name for this organization, one that we contemplated was "butterfly babies" to represent the change and transformation that our babies go through as they pass from this life to the next. I believe that DeLanee did go through a big change when she passed and when I think of her now I think of somone who is beautiful, full of joy and happiness. I feel that the struggles she had while I carried her and during her short time here on earth she no longer has to deal with. I am proud of her for the mission that she was willing to accept and the change that occurred not only in her but for me as well. I am thankful for the trials and adversities that have been sent my way that cause me to struggle, grow and transform. I don't think that I am quite like a "beautiful butterfly" yet - maybe more like a moth, but I do know that it is through our challenges that we can become as beautiful as the butterfly.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Help Launch Lanee!

If you've been following our blog, you've been able to see our recent updates including our awesome caterer who has come on board. Every week we also update our list of prizes in our very first post. This week we have added: Cheescake Factory, Sprouts, Bounce U, Bahama Bucks and Avon! Wow!

It has really been quite unexpected to see the amazing growth that has happened to this event. So, to better assist our caterer, we are encouraging everyone to buy their tickets in advance at the $5 price (or 6/$25) so that we can provide our caterer with a more accurate head count for food. For this reason, we will still be selling tickets the day of the event and you are more than welcome to buy tickets that day, however, they will be sold at $10 a ticket at the door.

Now, because we have been given soooo many awesome prizes AND in an effort to encourage you to get those tickets early, we wanted to provide you with a little incentive! Who doesn't like a little friendly competition right? So, here's our first ever Lanee's Legacy contest! This contest begins RIGHT NOW and will end at midnight on Tuesday, September 15th, announcing our winner on Thursday, September 17th.

Here's the details:

1. Tell your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors about the breakfast.

2. Have them visit the Lanee's Legacy blog to purchase a ticket via pay pal.

3. Make sure when their tickets are purchased, they click on "add special instructions to seller" and leave a comment telling us who their ticket sale credit goes to (first and last name) so we can track it.

The winner will recive a $50.00 Gift Card from:


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lanee's Legacy goes to the Parade!

Thanks to some good friends in Northern Arizona, Lanee's Legacy was able to spread the word this past weekend at the Taylor Sweet Corn Festival Parade. Unfortunately, two of these women pictured here, Kelly and Tara, have lost babies as well. They went all out for us by wearing our t-shirts and finding balloons and candy to distribute along with our flyers about our upcoming breakfast.

A BIG thanks to our crew in Snowflake/Taylor for the work they did on our behalf!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

We have a caterer!

Another week has passed and what a week it was!! When we started Lanee's Legacy, we didn't know exactly how we were going to accomplish all of our goals, but just went ahead and jumped into it with both feet - full of hope and optimism that "it would happen". It has been so humbling to see the generosity of SO many people support and donate to our organization because of their belief in Lanee's Legacy. We now know how "this will happen" and it will be because of wonderful people who support us in whatever way they can - big or small.

Speaking of people with big hearts, this week we had another HUGE donation come to us. We had a well known caterer here in the valley offer to cater our event - for free!

We want to introduce you to Nick at Arizona Party Wizards:

Last night, Heather, Rayel and I had the pleasure of going to a tasting that Nick put on at his restaraunt in Tempe where our tastebuds were delighted. After leaving (with satisfied tummies), there is no doubt in our mind that our breakfast will be fabulous down to the detail!

Nick has not only ensured that our breakfast will be completely delicious, but he also took a huge weight off of our shoulders so that we can concentrate on others things like. . .


For our adults, we will keep you busy winning prizes from our raffle and silent auction while listening to not only our emcees, but our special guest speaker Suzanne Helzer, Bereavement Coordinator at Banner Desert. We wanted to be sure and have plenty for your kids to do as well, so we have lined up: a bouncy castle, Queen Creek Fire Department firetruck, face painters, a balloon artist, coloring pages, games and a balloon release. There will be no boredom on October 10th! We don't want you to come ONLY to eat, we want you to come hang out, learn a little more about our organization and have some family fun!

Our list of raffle prizes keeps growing and growing. This week we have added Sprinkles Cupcakes and Chili's to name a few. So, don't forget to get your raffle tickets so that you don't miss out on one of our awesome prizes.

For those of you who may have had a problem with our paypal button, it is now working perfectly and should be no problem, so please get those tickets NOW!!