Love For Jake

The greatest blessing about running a children’s foundation is having the opportunity to meet the most beautiful and brave little souls. Jake Matthew Staniszewski was an incredible little boy that I was lucky to have spent time with. Two year old Jake battled alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive pediatric cancer. From the moment I met Jake I fell in love with his sprit and bravery. Jake had the most vibrant personality, heart-warming smile, and the most beautiful blue eyes. In the face of sickness Jake never ceased to amaze me with his strength, laughter, and love that he shared.906844_613660188717733_3805752278626628742_o

Jake changed my life. He taught me how to love in an extraordinary way. He allowed me to see life in a new perspective. Jake and his family taught me the true meaning of unconditional love and to appreciate every moment we have with those we care about.

While Jake did not get his miracle, I believe knowing him was a miracle in and of itself.

 

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When Jake passed away I promised myself I would forever do good everyday in his honor. Jake’s story would never be forgotten. I would find a way to continue spreading all the love Jake and his family shared. In an effort to share Jake’s love and bring comfort to children battling chronic illnesses I started Jake’s Jammies. Jake’s Jammies involves collecting new pajamas, pressing them with a special logo and tagging them with a special card that shows a picture of Jake and shares some words about him.

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The Ashley Wade Foundation distributes these pajamas to many local hospitals in Jake’s honor. I am proud to share that in a few short months numerous schools, families, and organizations have rallied their communities to hold pajamas drives. The success has been overwhelming. This week we reached 1,000 pairs of pajamas and many more donations continue to arrive each day.

My heart is full of gratitude and happiness. I thank you all for supporting Jake, his family, and The Ashley Wade Foundation. Thank you for helping spread Jake’s love and his story. Jake touched so many lives and continues to do so everyday. Mark, Denise, and Luke thank you for sharing Jake with us. We all love you so much.

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http://www.ashleywadefoundation.org

facebook.com/theashleywadefoundation.org

facebook.com/LoveForJake

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For Me Christmas Came Early..

Last Sunday we held our annual Winter Wonderland party for all of our Superstar Families. Superstar families are families with children battling a chronic illness between the ages of one-twenty one. These special days are completely free to the families. It is our hope that family funs provide a safe, loving environment where parents can meet other parents who walk similar paths and can connect and support each other. The children are able to walk in the room and not feel so alone. The other children around them are battling the same illness or other illnesses that they can relate too.

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The holiday party was our biggest party to date and it was a BLAST! We had everything from Santa, to cookie decorating, to arts and crafts, to customized water bottles. There was so much love involved in setting this family fun day up that was completely sponsored by generous local businesses and families.

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One of my favorite moments at our family fun days is watching our Superstars and their Star Siblings make friends with other kids who are “just like them.” For me and for many of our Superstar kids they struggle with their illnesses and often feel that it is a “bad” part of them. Everyone at the AWF strives to make sure our Superstars know how special they are and that we are here to celebrate their differences.

For me there was no greater gift than seeing all our Superstars laughing, smiling, and most importantly feeling so comfortable being exactly who they are.

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I cannot thank everyone enough for following our AWF journey on facebook and supporting us throughout the year. Whether it be donating a toy, making a monetary donation, volunteering your time or even just sharing our posts you are helping to make a difference in the lives of many sick children. Thank you for helping us bring so much happiness, comfort, hope, and love to the bravest of the lives.

 

Special thanks to our holiday sponsors : Holiday Inn Plainview, Homes By Mara, Camps R US, Cakes By Kim, Enchanting Events of NY, Lifevac, Cullen and Dykman, Everyday photography and Treats, Zonas, Danielle Santaniello, Suite Pieces, Miss New York Jamie, Sun Buick GMC of Nassau, The Drapery Lady Studio, DJ Kid, Phyllis, Party Couture, and Fran.

 

Lastly, thank you to my team members and volunteers who work endlessly day in and day out bringing happiness to all our Superstars.