Growing up in Tipp City, a tiny town in Ohio, I had big plans. When I was younger, I worked a lot with kids and after-school reading programs, so I thought I would go into some sort of social work or that I would help at-risk kids and teens. I loved giving them the support that they might not get other places. But at 18, I met my husband Steve, and we got married a year later. By the time I was 28, we had three kids—Christian, Caleb and Cara, and I was going to college when I wasn’t taking care of them, just trying to finish.
One day in 2002, when we were visiting my mom, her neighbor approached me while I was playing with my kids in the yard. She told me she’d been helping a woman who was only 23 and battling stage IV breast cancer and asked if I knew anybody who would want the woman’s baby daughter. A midwife by trade, she was a compassionate person and knew that working with at-risk populations had always been a passion of mine, so she thought I might have some ideas for how to help.
I spent three days praying on it. My husband and I hadn’t talked about adopting—we already had three little kids, so we thought we were done—but after four nights of tossing and turning, I told him, “I think we’re supposed to adopt this baby.” I asked if he’d be open to at least speaking with Alexis Preston, the woman who needed help.
That weekend we went to the Meijer megastore in Dayton where Alexis wanted to meet. Thin as a stick and dressed up in a wig, she said to us, “I’m looking for someone to take my baby. I just want to know that you’re going to love her.” My husband just melted right there; he would have done anything for her because she was so sick with no support.
During the next three weeks, I visited with Alexis and her baby at Children’s Services a few times, and I saw that Alexis was all about fighting to live. She wasn’t going into this arrangement thinking, I’m finding my daughter a home because I’m going to die. It was more like, I’m finding her a good home because I’m going to get better, but I need help taking care of her now. She was a fighter.
The baby—also named Alexis, but we call her Lexi—was 10 months old when we took full custody of her in June of 2002. Over the next year, the three kids and I sometimes took Lexi to see her mom at chemotherapy or to get groceries. We’d bring Alexis medicine and we’d talk about her dreams for the future. (“I should be on American Idol,” she’d say, always spunky and proud.) The last time I saw her—bald, 80 pounds, and only 24—I just sobbed. She died a week later.
It was hard to adjust at first, but life with Lexi became second nature. All of our family, but especially Steve and I, just have this immense love for her. To us, she’s no different than our biological kids. We tell Lexi how hard her mom fought and how much like her she is. Now, 10 years later, Lexi is 15 and Cara is 16 and they act like twins.
The February after Alexis passed, Steve and I planned a small getaway for our anniversary. I was taking a shower to get ready for our trip and thought, I should probably do a breast self-exam. Alexis was super young. And I felt this hard lump. When the doctors told me it was cancer, I was screaming in my head, What? My kids are going to lose their mother? And Lexi’s going to lose two moms? I’m always the strong one, but then, I was not so strong.
I was mad, I was scared, and I didn’t want to talk about it. Once I started losing my hair, I wore a wig everywhere, because I didn’t want anyone to know. I didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for my kids. But my husband was a rock, and I was so lucky my cancer responded to treatment. Had it not been for Lexi’s mom, I would never have done that self-exam. She saved my life.
Fast forward to today, and Lexi has to get checked, because her mom was only 22 when she was diagnosed. That was a really hard conversation with the oncologist; both Cara and Lexi thought they had cancer when they started getting breast buds. We had really candid conversations with them, because at the end of the day, no matter what, every girl just wants to know that she will live.
With my social work background, I always knew I wanted to help women cope with breast cancer. Alexis rode home from her mastectomy on a bus. She never, not one time, had someone go to treatment with her until she met us—that’s why she wouldn’t go half the time. In 2007 I met Tracie Martin at a young survivors conference. I joined the small nonprofit she started, called Pink Ribbon Girls, and later became President/CEO.
Together with Tracie, I helped to write a grant that’s given us the funds to serve healthy meals and offer house cleaning to breast cancer patients. Those funds also go towards transportation so that other women don’t have to endure those long solo bus rides like Alexis did, and so they can know they’re supported, even if only by strangers.
We come from all different backgrounds, all different socioeconomics, and everybody really wants the same thing: You want to live and you want your kids to be okay. I think back on Lexi’s mom, and I know it could’ve very easily been me.
Preemie Found In Trash Bag With Maggot-Infested Head Wound, Now She’s Fighting For Her Life
One thing I will never understand, and am quite sure many people can relate, is how a person can be able to abandon their little defenseless baby at a time they need them the most and walk away.
Unfortunately, such things still happen. In a recent case that is garnering a lot of attention, a baby girl was reportedly found inside a plastic bag in Vietnam. The baby had been exposed to the sun, had several mosquito bites and had a nasty wound in her head that had become infested with maggots.
According to sources, the child was found tied to a coffee tree in Lam Dong Province, in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.
When she was found, the baby was in a horrific condition. Doctors feared she would not survive, and if she did, then she wouldn’t last too long.
Luckily, Venerable Minh Tai, abbot of the Hue Quang Pagoda, came to the poor baby’s rescue.
Tai has taken in more than 100 orphans over the years, giving them a safe place to live and grow until they found a foster family.
When Tai learnt of the baby girl’s plight, she immediately adopted her. With the help of her nuns, Tai currently takes care of ten orphans.
Tai also managed to raise $25,000 from kind Facebook users and the temples in Vietnam to pay for the baby’s medical bills.
The baby girl was named Hoai An, which means perpetual peace in Vietnamese. Baby Hoai has a number of health issues but doctors are doing the best they can for her.
“I wouldn’t write her off at this point; that would be wrong. There is a chance her condition will improve.” Dr. Tang Kok Kee, a neurosurgeon treating Hoai told the Straits Times.
Tai also is doing the best she can for baby Hoai, by giving her unconditional love and praying for her. “She is sleeping better, crying louder and has more of an appetite. She has also gained about 700g in weight and her reactions have improved,” Tai said.
Please remember to share this article with friends and family to garner prayers and well wishes for baby Hoai as she fights for her life and to show appreciation for all the incredible people who have helped so far.
Five Guys staff sees a customer too weak to order—so they feed him a free meal
There is always something amazing going on within the local communities. Last month, customers of the Five Guys restaurant in Detroit witnessed an uplifting random act of kindness between the restaurant staff and a sick customer.
Detroit’s Greektown neighborhood, Five Guys franchise manager was having a normal day at work when he saw a familiar face at the restaurant — It was Leonard. He noticed that the customer was not feeling alright.
“This time when he came in, he was having trouble ordering, saying he was sick,” Justin told FOX 2 Detroit.
As Leonard struggled to make his order, Justin decided to give him the full meal: a burger done “all the way” (topped with all the classic ingredients), plus fries and a drink.
And he didn’t charge him for the meal. “He was so unwell that he couldn’t even process the order himself,” Justin said. “So we just gave it to him.”
It didn’t just end there. Leonard was too weak to feed himself. That’s when a Justin stepped up once again and fed the man.
The manager has really won the hearts of many people.
“At Five Guys we don’t have — or believe in canned interactions but in the genuine interactions,” Justin told Liftable. “All of our interactions are genuine.”
“Every guest is special to us,” he told FOX 2. A random customer at the restaurant took photos of the scene and shared them online. The photos have since gone viral.
Justin was surprised that people were making a big deal of it after his story went viral and got picked up by news outlets.
“It came as a surprise to me, that so many are surprised to see this level of service for our guests,” he told Liftable.
“What I am most grateful for is the impact the story has had on my team,” Justin said. “Too often my staff and I hear negative stories about the city we call home and often morale is lowered because ‘who wants to work in that environment.’”
It is amazing how a small act of kindness can impact a lot of people in the community.
“I believe that every person has the ability to make an impact on a person’s life through small acts, like this one,” Justin said.
Share this uplifting story with your friends
Heartbroken grandfather eats alone next to late wife’s memorial at granddaughter’s wedding
Everyone loves weddings because it’s usually a great time for families both from near and far to come together and celebrate someone’s special day.
Unfortunately, sometimes some family members are just too far away from us.
Sahrah Elswick together with her husband Zachery were celebrating their marriage when Sahrah decided to set up a tribute to her beloved grandmother “mawmaw,” who died in 2017
She didn’t realize that the seat she was about to set up for her mawmaw will create a heartbreaking moment.
At her wedding, a white chair with photos of Mawmaw and a sign on it that read, “We know you would be here today if heaven wasn’t so far away,” was set up to honor her grandmother.
“It meant everything to me to see this at my wedding. It was so important that she be a part of my day because we were very close and I’m so glad I did it because now I see that it meant even more to him,” Sahrah told TODAY Food.
While having dinner, Sahrah spotted a scene that made her burst into tears – her grandpa was sitting with the special memorial.
“When I saw him sitting there I immediately burst into tears I was just so heartbroken and also in awe at how much he loved her,” she said.
Pawpaw sat and ate with mawmaw today at my wedding 🥺 pic.twitter.com/GEXWMCfgXB
— Sahrah Elswick (@sahrahMichelle) July 7, 2019
“I just wanted to sit with her and be there with her,” Pawpaw said. Pawpaw and Mawmaw were married for 45 years and its evident they had a “loving relationship filled with fun” and you can tell by how she is missed.
Sahrah captured and shared the moment on social media and it has since gone viral.
Sahrah’s story just made me shed some tears. Share this story if you have a loved one that you miss so much.