At Casey Cares, we know how much our moms do for critically ill kids. They are often the ones taking their children to doctors' appointments, rushing them to the hospital when they are in dire need of care and just being there when their kids need a hug.
So often, however, our moms do not get a chance to relax or treat themselves.
So our friends at the PANDORA store at The Gallery at Harborplace in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, wanted to surprise some of our moms with special holiday gifts to honor them for all they do year round. Earlier this year, employees from this store surprised a couple of our moms with special bracelets for Mother's Day, and then provided some bracelets at our annual 5K Run/Walk at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
They surprised one mom, Anne Powell, the adoptive mother of Damari, who underwent a liver transplant when she was just 9 months old. Working with Casey Cares and Damari's teachers at Catonsville Elementary School, Damari created a secret video in which she talked about how much her mom means to her.
"I love my mom because she adopted me," Damari said in the video. "I love being part of the Powell family because Powells have superpowers and they never give up."
PANDORA store manager Carrie Rock and her staff put together a special bracelet with a family tree charm and a mother's heart charm for Anne, and then showed her Damari's special video.
Two other children in the Casey Cares programs also made videos. Sydni, who is in remission after battling leukemia, "I'm so grateful to have an awesome mom ... For as long as I can remember, she's been there for me," said Sydni, 13, about her mom, Julie. "She's an inspiration to me, and I know she's an inspiration to a lot of other people, too."
Willow, who has lupus and is being raised by her grandmother, Dagry, worked with her teacher at Cockeysville Middle School, to make a video. "My grandma is amazing to me because she pushes me to do bigger and better things, and she sacrifices a lot for me, like getting special shoes if I need them or getting food that I need to eat or getting clothes that I can wear, and she is everything I need her to be whenever I need her to be. That's why I love her."
Sydni's family drove from Middloetown, Maryland, to downtown Baltimore on a Sunday morning under the guise that they were going to help Casey Cares with a pajama campaign at the store (PANDORA also collected new pajamas for kids in our programs). Casey Cares arranged for Willow and Dagry to come downtown as well. Once they were there, however, PANDORA surprised them with a bouquet of flowers and bracelets. There were not enough tissues to go around.
Afterward, Sydni and her family enjoyed a special lunch donated by the Cheesecake Factory. The day was extra special because it just so happened to be Sydni's parents' anniversary, and Sydni's birthday was a few days later. Willow and her grandmother, meanwhile, had a blast at the Hard Rock Cafe, where they were treated to lunch and plenty of swag from the restaurant's official store. Willow said she wore her new Hard Rock Cafe sweatshirt to school the next day because "no one would believe me that I ate there if I didn't wear this."
Here is the report Megan Pringle of WBAL-TV filed about the surprise: http://www.wbaltv.com/article/video-this-is-what-love-looks-like-courtesy-casey-cares/8509078
Check out these videos from our Casey Cares kids about their moms:
Thank you to everyone at PANDORA at The Gallery at Harborplace, Cheesecake Factory and the Hard Rock Cafe for making our moms feel as special as they should!