Monday, December 14, 2009

Wishbone . . .

I got hooked line and sinker.  At the Christmas Tea hosted by our church, my friend Katina stood all by her lonesome beside 3 stockings.  Wondering what she was “selling,” and having missed talking with her . . . I crept my nosey self over.  The end result was that I was blessed, encouraged, and inspired. 

And so . . . I want to share Katina’s story (that she and her husband wrote) that was inspired by the Heral’s story . . . read all of Katina’s story because you just might win something tomorrow! 

The Story Behind the Story…

“A Stocking for Us All” was written by Larry Heral after hearing one of his pastor’s sermons. The song became a Christmas favorite of their church congregation and all who heard it. Many requests were made for Larry & Lisa (his wife) to produce a CD of the song for purchase. Until the creation of the foundation WishBONE, they were never inspired to move forward with such a project.

Larry & Lisa’s youngest son Justin has a rare bone disease. Lisa was a nurse at a local hospital when their son was first diagnosed with this rare bone and often misdiagnosed disease. Doctors immediately recommended radiation therapy which is common when treating bone tumors. For three days Larry & Lisa prayed, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep and did exhaustive research. What they found surprised them. Treating Justin’s Fibrous Dysplasia (FD) with radiation could actually turn it cancerous. FD is often not cancerous. This sequence of events set Lisa off on a personal mission and a professional journey.

While working as a nurse Lisa put herself through business school and secured an internship within the research department of Zimmer, the world’s largest orthopedic company. Lisa also became a predominant and active figure on the board of the Fibrous Dysplasia Foundation. At an FD foundation’s annual conference held at Riley Children’s hospital Lisa met executives from OrthoPediatrics.

OrthoPediatrics is a small but fast growing company dedicated to making anatomically appropriate orthopedic implants and solutions for children suffering from bone trauma and deformity. Realizing that OrthoPediatrics mission was in line with hers, Lisa eventually joined the company full time.

Through her own personal experience, numerous meetings and conferences with other rare bone disease foundations, Lisa and others realized the need to create a central information entity that would be solely focused on developing online communities for the children with rare bone diseases, their parents and the doctors who treat them. WishBONE was born to help the families and children who have rare bone diseases know they are not alone and to encourage doctors to share best practices and evidence based medicine.

WishBONE logo

Wanting to help WishBONE get off the ground, Larry and Lisa were inspired to use the song “A Stocking for Us All” as a fundraiser with all of the proceeds going to support WishBONE.

Lisa then approached Greg Downey (my husband) to talk with him about ideas for a CD cover jacket. Greg and I have worked together in shaping the branding of OrthoPediatrics, so he invited Lisa and Larry over for dinner to discuss ideas.

Larry and Lisa wanted to work on their CD fundraiser for Christmas 2010.

God had bigger plans.

On a Sunday evening in early October, the Heral’s came over for dinner. Greg and I were moved by their song and their story and felt privileged to be asked to help. Before long, Greg had the idea to do a book with the CD. After seeing a mural I had painted in our oldest daughter’s bedroom, the Heral’s were looking to me to possibly illustrate it.

Being the mother of two young girls, helping my husband with work and having home schooling on my plate, my initial reaction was “whoa…. undertaking the project of illustrating a book is a major time commitment.” I told Lisa and Larry I would pray about it and see what the Lord would lay on my heart.

That night I prayed a simple prayer, “Lord, You know what kind of time I have, You know where You want me spending my time. If this is something You want me to spend my time on, You’re just going to have to give it to me.”

By the time Lisa came back over for breakfast the next morning, the Lord had given me an image, a photograph in my mind. It was the first photograph of the first page of the storybook which now accompanies the CD. I realized the Lord was showing me I could do the project in photographs and that would be much faster than trying to illustrate the book. Now, I had to put together the photo shoot, back drop, props and all. Fortunately, the Lord had every detail laid out before me.

The fireplace in the book is in the home of close family friends. Finding the exact style of stockings I needed was my next objective. Since it was early October, I made calls around to all the major stores inquiring about Christmas decorations. No one had their Christmas decorations available yet.

Then I called Hobby Lobby and they informed me that they had out all of their Christmas decorations. I piled the kids in the car and headed to Hobby Lobby. Not only did they have the exact style of stockings I was looking for (long, thin, “old-school”) but, they already had the symbols stitched on them that are referenced in the song…

“Then she showed me on each stocking, a heart, a tree, a star…”

By Saturday the photos were taken, and by Monday, a week and a day after the Heral’s had visited our home, the images and book layout were off to graphics to be put together.


By early November, Greg and I were ready to show Lisa and Larry what we had put together for the book. We invited them over for dinner and were joined by Dr. Peter Armstrong the CMO of all of Shriners Children’s Hospitals. Dr. Armstrong was in town for a Colts event and was staying the night with us. We also had Nick and Erin Deeter join us via the web. After viewing the book and the song together, we emotionally and excitedly started looking at how to get the CD and book produced.

However, our dilemma was not allowing WishBONE to go financially in the hole right out of the gate. Dr. Armstrong spoke up and asked what it would cost for us to do a first run of the project. He immediately and very generously informed the group that after showing it to his wife we would have a check by Wednesday of the following week. Nick Deeter the CEO of OrthoPediatrics offered online support and donations as well to see this project completed.

God had bigger plans…the fundraiser would start Christmas season 2009 complete with the CD “A Stocking for Us All” and a story book to accompany it.

Reminding us all to “Make the most of each moment before it is gone…” and that He is an awesome God we serve.

This is a really neat story . . . let’s help spread the word!  For starters, let me tell you that tomorrow I will be hosting a giveaway for this book, complete with CD. 

Why don’t you leave a comment for a question that I should ask tomorrow to include as an entry into the giveaway . . . hint hint hint . . . .