Today was HANDS DOWN one of the coolest days EVERRRRR. Molly picked up Lori bright and early and I met the two of them at the oral surgeon's office. We were all a bit nervous about hearing what it will take to do the surgery and the approximate cost of everything. This consultation was going to determine our plan of action and would show us exactly what it will take to make this all happen.
He checked Lori out, gave us the rundown of her condition and everything to expect for the procedure and recovery. It was overwhelming to say the least. This is going to be a major procedure with a long recovery. Although the long list of variables and information was daunting, it was the amount of money that really hit us. We had been waiting all week to hear what it would take financially and the answer we got was way more than we expected. The surgeon let us know that he is on board and will cut his personal costs significantly but with this sort of surgery, Lori will have to be in the hospital which will pile up bills somewhere between $70,000-$110,000. Molly and I looked at each other in disbeleif and I'd be lying if I said we weren't a little discouraged. This amount on top of all of the flights we will have to buy, food, accommodations... it was a lot to take in.
After the appointment we went to my parents house to try to catch a nap before Molly and my meeting with Element Eden. The three of us sat down and digested the consultation. We laid out all the options, the time this will take, the type of commitment this is for all parties involved and took a realistic look at what we could make happen. I could tell as we were talking about everything that there was a bit of Lori's hope lost, that Lori was scared we were going to back out with the news of these hospital bills. Lori has spent a lifetime filled with disappointment and has been let down by most of the people in her life that she should be able to trust...so in a way, I wouldn't blame her for doubting that two random girls and this team of strangers were going to follow through for her. We assured her that we are going to do everything in our power to make this happen. We let her know it will take some serious time to raise the money before we even get to any dental work but that again, we would get there somehow...hopefully.
As many of our followers know, we have had major support from Element Eden for a couple years now. They hook us up with awesome tour apparel and are such wonderful advocates for the work we do. Alex Swanson, our contact and cheerleader at Element Eden let us know in the beginning of this school year that she wanted to bring Kind Campaign deeper into their brand and figure out more ways for KC and EE to work together. We had been trying to set up a meeting with their team for the last couple months but the meeting kept pushing. Finally we landed on today at 2pm. Lori came with us and we had planned on her sitting in the waiting room while we went over everything with the EE team. As we were walking into the meeting, Alex invited Lori to come with us. We walked into a room with a table of vibrant, strong and kind-hearted women, all of which run major parts of the brand. At the head of the table sat, Johnny Schillereff, the founder and president of Element. We all made our introductions and Alex asked us to let everyone know what Kind Campaign is all about. We gave them the usual KC rundown and everyone was really excited about working with us further. Johnny then asked us for specific ideas as to how they could help Kind Campaign. We talked about different initiatives we have for the new school year and ways we could potentially team up.
Molly and I hadn't planned on bringing Lori up in meeting, let alone talk about the news we had just heard from the surgeon's consultation. But something in me thought, why not? This is such an important project and here is a great opportunity to let some caring and powerful people know what we are trying to accomplish. We gave Johnny and the team Lori's whole story and background, told them why she was here for the week and told them all the details about her Dr. appointments. Most importantly, we let them know about the daunting amount of money we now needed to raise and the fact that we had just found out this unfortunate news about an hour before we had stepped foot into this meeting. Then, something amazing happened. Johnny decided then and there, almost immediately, that he along with the brand were going to do everything in their power to raise all of the money we need for Lori. Within about ten minutes he told us his plan and how they were going to create a call to action with the Element and Element Eden community to raise whatever costs we need within 60 days. The excitement and passion he had to make this happen was incredible, inspiring and so refreshing. To sit there with the President of a major company-- someone who has resources and an ability to help-- and to see him take action like that on the spot is something we have never experienced. Having met with so many companies, brands, and networks, I can honestly say this is the most genuine and socially conscious brand we know.
Johnny let us know that he is excited for Element Eden to work directly with Kind Campaign schools initiatives but that in his eyes, hearing Lori's story was so impacting that he knew the first step in working together was to raise the money for her. We were all speechless. Thinking about how many times this meeting had been pushed and the timing of everything...the fact that this morning we were told such overwhelming and intimidating news and for help like this to come the same afternoon...it was serendipitous.
|Thank you Alex!|
As if them working with us to raise this money wasn't enough, following the meeting, Alex invited Lori to their warehouse in the back to pick out new clothes for her and her whole family. I think Lori had a permanent smile on her face today. I overheard her in a conversation with one of the women from the meeting. Lori told her that throughout Lori's whole life she has been told she is worthless and that she truly believed that about herself, but that sitting in the meeting and seeing complete strangers care for her like that showed her that she isn't worthless...that there must be something special within her. ...it was another one of those, 'oh man, I'm going to cry' moments. Really, the whole afternoon was like that for us.
|Alex takes Lori shopping through Element Eden warehouse!|
We left the meeting in the highest of spirits and the day got even better when we met Amanda Martin, also featured within Finding Kind for dinner. Lori and Amanda met today for the first time but they have been communicating on Facebook and have built a supportive friendship since the documentary came out. It was so cool to see them together and to have them both at our screening and assembly tonight at the Assisted League in Costa Mesa. This is the first time we have had people featured in the documentary at an assembly. Both Lori and Amanda were able to be a part of the conversation which was really moving. My favorite part was seeing all the girls from the assembly rush up to Lori and Amanda to tell them how inspired they were by their stories. Lori and Amanda both received Kind Cards from different girls in the sessions and plenty of hugs and 'Thanks you's.' There was so much love in that room.
|Assisted League Screening with Amanda and Lori|
|Amanda Martin and Lori meet for the first time :)|
Now Im sitting in my parents kitchen. Lori is sitting on the couch watching American Idol with my mom. My mom asked her if she wanted hot chocolate and Lori's response was "I don't know what to say... I'm not used to having all these people care like this."
I've learned a lot from Lori this week...we all have. She is constantly reminding me not to take anything for granted and to appreciate all of the people in my life who love and care for me, people who offer to make me hot chocolate. Lori has reminded me to tell those people every day how much they mean to me.
Im taking Lori to the airport in the morning. We are sad to see her go but so excited for her to go home and see her kiddies and her hubby. I know she misses them so much. She's a really amazing mom.
Well, this has been a crazy and beautiful week. I am always so touched when I see how willing people are to jump on a cause and help out in any way they can. People are inherently good. We see it every day. We can't wait to work with Element and Element Eden and all of the doctors on board to get going on the next steps!
Again, if you want to help out, please send a donation in Lori's name to this link: CHANGE LORI'S LIFE.
Life is good.