Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Life is Messy and Beautiful and All About What You Make It
Team Iron Aiden and a Giveaway

I have this sometimes brilliant, usually infuriating skill of turning almost anything into a joke.  Blogging tips, marathon running, winter chaos in the South... joke, joke, joke.

But some things are just so raw and inspiring that even I can't take them lightly.  These are the things that put you back in your place and make you realize how fragile, heartbreaking, and beautiful life can be.

I had no idea that the story behind Sweet Peas Stamping was one of those things.  When I contacted Kayla about a running necklace I found on her Etsy shop, I didn't realize what I had found.  I just thought her personalized marathon necklace was neat and I wanted to buy one.

But once I began reading more about her shop and her family, I realized that I had just stumbled across something that was a lot more than just cute accessories for running fanatics.

Kayla is the mother of three, including her youngest son, Aiden.  Aiden was born in July of 2011 with a variety of health issues.  A little over 15 weeks into her pregnancy, Kayla and her husband learned that their son had spina bifida and a heart defect.  They later met their son who was also born with 22q deletion syndrome and Hydrocephalus.

As you can imagine, the road has not been easy for Kayla, her family, or little Aiden.  Two-year-old Aiden had his first surgery when he was two days old and is scheduled for yet another major surgery on March 19.

Some people fold into self-pity and negativity when faced with difficulties, even those much, much less severe than the ones that Aiden and his family live with (I start moping when I have to wait for the bus in the cold, after all!).  But Kayla is not one of those people.

Kayla is taking what little control anyone can have in this situation and generating positivity wherever she can.  She donates 100% of the proceeds from Team Iron Aiden to the cardiac, pulmonary, and neurosciences floors of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, the hospital where Aiden is treated.  She also sells baby clothing and hand-stamped jewelry inspired by her journey.

I went ahead and bought the running necklace that initially caught my eye but I don't want to stop there, so Kayla and I are working together to give away one personalized item from her shop (it doesn't have to be running related!).  While I hope you enter the giveaway, I urge you to check out her shop even if you don't.  With her Etsy shop, she often gives back to the special needs community through different fundraisers.

She does amazing work and is very flexible and generous when working with her customers; she had no problem adding an extra charm to my necklace that reads "fearless," a word that has a lot of meaning to me.

You can read more about Kayla's journey on her blog and the Team Iron Aiden Facebook page.  I will keep this giveaway open for one week.  The winner can contact Kayla to order any item from her shop up to $50.

Good luck, and go Aiden!

Want more tea? Have a second cup!
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