12.13.2013 Marielle

A Time to Give…

For the past four years I have held a fundraiser for someone through my blog around Christmastime. I ask people to nominate someone who they think would benefit from a little extra help during the holidays. And, each year it has been a beautiful blessing to see how many giving, selfless people there are out there. Strangers donating their hard earned money to another stranger. Helping someone who can’t do it all alone. At this time of year when we celebrate the spirit of giving & love, I’ve seen tender mercies firsthand as money is donated to people who are truly in need of help. And this year, I feel like the person who I’ve picked is truly deserving of some extra help. So please, read on & see why…

Megan is a lovely person. She is young, beautiful & vibrant. She enjoyed the outdoors, was finishing her third year of vet school & had started planning her wedding to her boyfriend, Brandon…which was supposed to take place this summer. Her life was exciting, fun & everything a 20-something year old would imagine it would be.

After one of her rotations in school, Brandon & Megan headed out to a music festival. On the second night of the festival, her legs began to ache. She told her friends she needed to sit down…and when it was time to get up & move on, she realized that she couldn’t move her legs. She had lost all feeling & function in her legs. She was quickly lifted onto a cart & into the first aid tent. Things became hazy for her as the medic asked her questions. The one question she remembered them asking was about her family history. She was somehow able to pull herself together enough to tell them that her sister had passed away from aortic dissection two years ago. Immediately, an ambulance was called & she was flown to the hospital.

That morning, she had her first surgery to repair of her aorta and femoral arteries. Her aorta had dissected all the way down her abdomen & she had an aneurysm just below her kidneys. She was bleeding out internally & because her legs were without blood for eight hours, she had nerve damage. Two days later, her artery which feeds the small intestines became blocked. She had a minor surgery…and then eight days after that, it became blocked again. Her body began to fill up with fluid. She had surgery again & they found that part of her small intestine & her gall bladder were dead. Meanwhile, she still had nerve damage from the initial incident so she had to re-learn how to walk again.

Megan missed her wedding date & because of medical complications, was so sick that she couldn’t eat without vomiting several times a day. She would sometimes lie in bed & sob because she was in so much pain. She was re-admitted to the hospital…they thought it would be a two week stay but it turned into a two month stay. She was depressed, couldn’t hold food down & the pain medication wasn’t strong enough to ease her pain. Because she had received 4 abdominal surgeries in 3 months, she was sent to a care facility & given an IV that would feed her since she couldn’t eat. She lost 30 pounds…She is unable to walk without a walker & is currently waiting for braces to be made for her legs.

The reason why I chose Megan for this fundraiser is because she deserves to have a break. After such horrendous medical issues, just two years after losing her older sister, I feel like both Megan & her family deserve a break. She deserves to have a little time in her life where something good happens for a change. I’m hoping that together we can raise some money to help with medical bills & other expenses. I know that at this point in the year we are all strapped for cash as dollar after dollar has been spent to purchase Christmas gifts for the ones we love. But if you can, please make a donation to this family during this time & share in the true meaning of the Christmas spirit by clicking on the donate button below the photograph.

Any dollar amount will be accepted. 100% of the donations received will be given to to this family. The photograph of the leaves will be emailed to you in high resolution format. The photograph is then yours to print, frame, give as a gift, use as a desktop photo, etc. The photograph will not have my watermark on the image. ALL of the proceeds will be given to Megan to help her during this difficult time in their lives. Donate any dollar amount by clicking on the PayPal button below.

My favorite part about this special time of year is that we put other’s needs and wants before our own. THAT is the true spirit of Christmas-thinking of others & helping those who need extra help. I love the scripture that talks about how to everything there is a season. I know there are seasons in our lives when we are able to give to someone…and that one day it might be the season for us to receive the help & assistance from others. May you find it in your hearts to help Megan get on the road to recovery XOXO, marielle.

About the Author

Marielle Hi! My name is Marielle Hayes and I am a photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area. I love to travel, bargain hunt and spend time with my husband, our daughter and our Boston Terrier. Enjoy my blog and leave me some comments to let me know what you think!

Comments (14)

  1. Brandon Wiltzius

    Thanks so much for doing this Marielle! It means a lot to both Megan and me.

  2. As Brandon’s mom I can attest to how horrendous the past couple of years has been for Megan. I have likened her journey to walking a very long and very difficult labyrinth. There will be a way out sooner or later, but she has to walk it an there is no break from the work of making it through. This past few months has been extremely disappointing and heartbreaking for Megan, Brandon and their families. All of this is much too much for someone to have to bear, much less people this young and full of life.

    Megan goes back and forth to the hospital and Brandon drives back and forth from Reno to Corvallis, Oregon where they were living when Megan was going to school, about a 10 hour drive. He has a job there and they have been incredibly supportive of him missing a lot of time at the office and allowing him to work long distance from Reno. Obviously, as a parent, I worry a great deal for these two. Marielle is right, they deserve a huge break and if that can’t happen, they deserve as much help as possible to make things even a little bit easier.

    I know that their financial needs are becoming more desperate every day. Any little bit you can help is appreciated and prayers are good too!

    Even if you cannot help with money, please share this post. Maybe someone else can help.

    Thank you Marielle for doing this, and thank you to all who can help.

    Sandy Morris

  3. Megan

    Thank you so much for doing this Marielle. You have changed my life for the better and provided hope for my family and me, and I hope you know how much we all appreciate you. Xoxo

  4. Jacqueline

    Thank you for doing this Marielle! Megan is the most generous person in the world, it’s about time we all did something for her!

  5. Terri Brockly

    You are a very strong woman and I know that you will get threw this one day at a time, you are so blessed to have so many people that care dearly about you and your family. You are in my prayers daily. Give a big hug to your mom for me. Love you

  6. Sandy Ulmer

    Hi Megan.
    Cathy Klakoff is my neighbor and she sent this to me. I am so sorry for all the troubles you and your family are going through. You are fortunate to have such a loving and supportive family and friends. I hope my donation will help and prompt others to donate too.
    You will be in my thoughts and I know Cathy will keep me updated on your progress.

  7. Jennifer Williams

    I haven’t yet met you in person but hope all the brides maids can meet some day. You’re a strong person you’ll get through this and have a gorgeous wedding of your own. I wish I could donate more. Keep your head up! <3

  8. Jan Biferno

    Think to the future when things are better. You will have a wonderful life.

  9. Nicole Gularte

    Thinking of you and sending lots of love and positive prayers your way Megs! You are an incredible fighter and we’re all rooting for you!
    Marielle, thank you for doing such a wonderful thing. You are such a generous and loving person and I’m blessed to know you!

  10. Chelsea

    Hi Megan, I have had some major health issues this year and so many wonderful people helped me in my time of need. I hope you receive many gifts to aid in your recovery and ease the burden set upon your shoulders. May you have a very merry Christmas and may the new year bring many new gifts.

  11. Jessica Moran

    Hi Megan! We have never met, but I’m a longtime friend of Robyn Panicos and she passed along the link to your story. I couldn’t resist but to donate to your mission. I recently read a really profound and motivating phase. “Sometimes things in life jump at you. Jump back at them.” Good luck in training for your event called LIFE.

  12. Marielle, this is such a caring, wonderful thing you do each year. I am happy to participate. Megan, Hang in there, better days are coming. God Bless and protect you.

  13. Lindsey

    I wish we could do more to help you through your rough times. I know that you’re such a strong woman and will make it through it all.

  14. Chatley Family

    So sorry to hear about the past few months for you Megan, we know 2014 will be your year for good health and happiness!
    Lots of love and prayers to you and your family!

    Love Always,
    The Chatley’s

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