Monday, January 12, 2009

Annie's Benefit Auction

Jenn Lund, a senior high student at our church, has organized a benefit auction for Annie's ongoing therapy. The auction is going to be on Friday, January 23, from 7-9 PM at Northlake Christian Church. If you click on the link at left, you can get all the details.

As most of you know, our daughter, Annie, sustained a catastrophic hypoxic brain injury on January 21, 2007, when she was 3 ½ years old. So we're coming up on the two year anniversary. This crisis happened at night, while she slept, and was a result of undiagnosed Addison’s disease. Addison’s Disease is also known as adrenal insufficiency, when the adrenal glands cannot mount an effective fight against infection, stress, or injury. In Annie’s case, the cause of her adrenal insufficiency is not known. An Addisonian crisis causes a precipitous drop in blood pressure and blood insulin that can result in seizures, coma and death.

By God’s grace Annie’s life was saved, but not before much of her brain had been affected. She was in a coma for about a week, on a ventilator for 5 days, and in the hospital for 52 days. She lost the ability to walk, talk, eat, and use her hands and arms. Her cognitive level has regressed to about 12 months. Fortunately, her eyesight, hearing, and swallowing were preserved. Her smile came back after 1 year, and her speech has begun to emerge after almost 2 years.

Contrary to the widely held assumption that the brain injury recovery process ends after 1 or 2 years, recent studies have shown that people can make significant functional improvements for at least 10 years post-injury. We believe that with intensive physical and cognitive therapy, Annie can relearn to walk and talk, and regain her ability to eat real food. She responds quickly to repetitive training—such as learning how to scoot down the stairs—something she mastered over Christmas vacation!

As you might imagine, the cost of physical, occupational, feeding and cognitive therapy is quite expensive, and is only partially covered by insurance. We are just now beginning to get a grasp on how to navigate through all the politics in accessing funding for the therapy that she needs to make functional gains. Unfortunately, the insurance industry is reluctant to support the long-term therapy needs of people affected by brain injury, and getting them to pay for what Annie needs is an ongoing, uphill battle.

We are so grateful to Jenn and her huge team of volunteers who are busy making this auction happen, and we'd like to invite all of you to come too.


Gretchen said...

Oh, I absolutely believe that Annie is not done healing. Not only that, but her little body is growing, too, so her brain is working double time.

I will never understand why God allowed this to happen. I hate that it happened. In fact, it makes me crazy. But I love Him, and if Annie had to go thru this, she's definitely in the best of hands. Your parenting and your entire family is a testimony to faith. He has given you courage that you probably never knew you had. Strength that you absolutely didn't think you had. Resilience as His mercies have been new each morning. And joy at each of Annie's steps of growth and re-development. He IS a mighty and powerful and awesome God, and perhaps thru this, He's even growing my faith, too.

Grace, my friend. xxxooo

P.S. Doug is coming to the auction with me. :)

Annie Sullivan said...

Thanks, Gretchen. You're right--I hate it too. But someday it'll make sense, and our faith will be sight.


aunt rebecca said...

Thank you, Jean, for this blog entry.
Read it again, ponder what you have written...who would ever have imagined you would be writing such a clear, concise, caring and calm communique (forgive the alliteration :-)! about such an awful event almost two years after it happened.
Your gift is a rose that blooms among thorns. No thorns, no rose.


Sue Powell said...

Super post, Jean. I can't WAIT for the auction and enjoyed the privilege of preparing for it. I too have full confidence Annie is FAR from complete in her healing progress.

Anonymous said...

You know I rarely comment on this blog, you all write exactly what I am feeling anyway! But read it regularly. I feel compelled this time because I am soooo excited for this event, for all the blessings He has in store for Annie's healing. Jean, you are not only fighting for proper treatment for Annie, but for all other people with brain injuries. Rebecca, I wish you could attend this special event. Sue & Gretchen, thank you for your donations-everyone else, plese attend!!! xo~A

Anonymous said...

Another reason I do not post is because I am a horrible proofreader and I cannot edit my post after I've hit "publish your comment"-as evidenced above!!!~A

Sue Powell said...

Yah I am excited about the auction too. I still have to get busy and wrap my basket; it is finally done except for that unless I find something else cute to stick in like I keep doing. :) I can't wait to see all the creative stuff people come up with!