Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Kennedy Krieger Care Packages: We Need Your Help!

As promised, your second post of the day, though this one is written by Jason's brother (with a few editorial additions on my part). Apologies for the random highlighting...blogger isn't cooperating with me tonight.

Hello, this is Nicholas, Jason's brother.

This year, much like last year, donations are being collected to help aid families who have recently suffered a spinal cord injury (or other traumatic spinal/brain injury). This year, though, the donations are not for Santa Clara, they are instead for the Kennedy Krieger Institute's Pediatric Rehabilitation Center (
http://www.kennedykrieger.org/patient-care/patient-care-programs/inpatient-programs/pediatric-rehabilitation-unit), a rehab center that specializes in SCI rehab for children from birth-21 years of age. Our goal is to assemble 40 care packages (1 for every patient) and also collect items to form a entertainment lending library for patients to borrow (this is especially useful at night, which are easily the most difficult times in the hospital, since there is not much scheduled and you are left to reflect on the enormity of your situation).

There are several ways for you to get involved.  

  1. You can mail individual items needed for care packages, or for the lending library.  Some ideas for this include:

    • Hygiene Products (toothbrushes and toothpaste have been donated).
      • Face Wipes
      • Baby Wipes
      • Dental Floss
      • Travel Size Shampoo/Conditioner/Body Wash
      • Body Lotion 
      • Nail Care Items (filing boards, clippers, etc)
    • Entertainment (for various ages from toddler to young adult)
      • Puzzles (crosswords, sudoku, word search, etc)
      • Reading Material (books, magazines, etc)
      • Art Supplies (crayons, coloring books, sketch pads, etc)
    • Miscellaneous
      • Water Bottles
      • Notes of Encouragement
    • Items needed for common locations for all patients to borrow:
      • Books
      • DVDs (only G, PG, and PG-13 rated please)
These items can be mailed to: Nicholas Ng, 13100 Peach Leaf Place, Fairfax, VA 22030.  If you are in the NOVA area, I can also arrange to meet you to pick these items up.

      2.  There is an Amazon wish-list set up at:

     3.  You can send me a check: 

    • Mail to: 13100 Peach Leaf Pl., Fairfax, VA, 22030 
    • If you make it out to Nicholas Ng, I will purchase remaining items that are needed.
    • If you make it out to Kennedy Krieger Institute, it will be sent directly to them, and will be used to purchase gas cards (many of the families can not afford the gas required to drive to Baltimore and stay with their child).

All of your donations are tax deductible, just be sure to provide me with a mailing address so that the form gets to the right place.  

Thank you for your time and thank you in advance for all of your wonderful donations.
Sincerely,Nicholas Ng

PS (From Ashley):  Rehab is terrible and overwhelming and, ever since J left Santa Clara, I've been working, through the donation of care packages and other mentoring activities, to make it slightly less terrible for those who are there.  I'm super excited that Nicholas is stepping up to help in such a big way.  KKI holds a very special place in our heart--I truly credit them with a lot of Jason's recovery.  We're swiftly approaching the two year anniversary of Jason's accident, and I could not think of a better way to honor him, and the strides he's made, than to donate to this drive.  

Wheelchair Travel: Boston Edition

Today, dear readers, you get two posts for the price of one.  I'll be writing a bit later to tell you about a fun service project Jason's brother, Nicholas, is doing for the inpatient children at Kennedy Krieger Institute.  But, for now, Boston!

I feel like we're becoming pros at this wheelchair travelling thing.  The initial fear I had about flying post-injury is more or less gone, now that we know what to expect, and I know what I need to do to ensure that all goes smoothly for us both in flight and at our destination.  We flew to Boston last week, and outside of some issues boarding our flight out of SFO, everything went great.  We flew Virgin America (seriously, if you've not flown them yet, do so...so much better than the alternatives!) and arrived into Boston super early in the morning.  Thankfully, our hotel didn't make us wait too long to get a room (we arrived at 8am, check-in was not til 4pm) and, even better, upgraded us (for free!) to a concierge level room.  I'm not sure what motivated this upgrade, but we think it was what Jason and I refer to as a "gimp perk."  Whatever the reason, I'm glad of it--we had beautiful views of the water and got access to the club lounge (which meant free breakfast, snacks throughout the day while I was writing up there, free appetizers and dessert at night....very nice).  While Jason did the conference thing, I worked on my dissertation.  I had originally planned to play tourist while in town, but the weather was not terribly cooperative, so, instead, I finished a dissertation chapter.  Not a bad exchange, and I'm feeling a lot less stressed about writing today, so all's well.

Jason gave the keynote address on the first official day of the conference, which he rocked.

Jason giving his talk--I sat way in the back, so this isn't the best of photos.  

Afterwards, we celebrated with well-earned margaritas!

The Selenium Committers

Dinner the last night of the conference...after 6 years in California, it's fun to be reminded that it rains some places in June :)

Miss Sav stayed in California with her grandparents, so the Boston trip gave Jason and me a chance to go on dates and enjoy conversations with other adults.  We enjoyed this tremendously (though, after our first night away, I was ready to be back with my girl).  We got back home last Saturday afternoon and Jason enjoyed a quiet father's day.  

I'm starting a new job on Wednesday as a teaching consultant, which will have me out of the house quite a bit--more than I've ever worked out of the home since Sav was born.  I certainly will appreciate all the good thoughts you can send me as we transition into this new working arrangement.  I'm excited about the position--I'm passionate about teaching, so this is a good fit for me--but I'm worried about what this will do for dissertation writing (this post is through UC-Berkeley, and they are very supportive of my writing goals, so in theory this shouldn't be a problem) and, of course, for our family.  Changes can be scary :)

Wishing you all a happy Tuesday.  I'll be back in a few hours with more info about the KKI project.

Love you all,