Four years ago, Stacey Fiscus’ world was turned upside down.
During a routine doctor’s visit, she learned that her 1-month-old daughter Izabelle had a heart murmur. After several tests were conducted, she was told her little one had an aortic coarctation — meaning there was scar tissue buildup inside her heart that disrupted the flow of blood to her vital organs.
The following week she took her daughter to the hospital for heart surgery.
“I was scared out of my mind,” she said. “There’s just no way to describe it.”
After Izabelle’s surgery, Fiscus and her husband, Brandon, were surprised with a gift bag from Midwest Heart Connection, a helping agency and support group to heart patients and their families. Inside the bag, she found a gift certificate for dinner, popcorn and beauty supplies.
The bag sitting in their hospital room was more than just a gift; it symbolized hope and support.
“It was a huge relief to know there is a group in Omaha that supports families through this time,” Fiscus said. The events leading up to the surgery are just “chaos and the gift bag was a little bit of sunshine and a little bit of comfort.”
The grand gesture stayed with Fiscus for four years. Her daughter is much older and has made a complete recovery.
Now she’d like to give back to the community that once helped her.
She’s collecting Scentsy Buddies — stuffed animals with scented packs embedded in them — to donate to the Midwest Heart Connection to give to children undergoing heart surgeries in the Omaha area. Her goal is to collect 100 of the plush toys — which cost $25 — for the “Buddy Drive” by Nov. 30.
To purchase a Buddy to donate or to learn more about the drive, call 402-301-5848 or email Fiscus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Looking for more opportunities to help others? Check out the list below.
No Kid Hungry: September is the time of year when restaurants team up and ask their guests to support Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. Throughout the month, thousands of restaurants nationwide will sponsor promotions and fundraisers in their restaurants to raise awareness and funds to help end childhood hunger in the U.S. Among Nebraska and Iowa national chain restaurants that are official partners with Share Our Strength’s program are Arby’s, Bruegger’s Bagels, Denny’s, Joe’s Crab Shack, Romano’s Macaroni Grill and Mimi’s Cafe. To find other participating restaurants near you, visit www.nokidhungry.org.
Get dirty: Dirty Girl is a 5K womens-only run for women of all ages and athletic abilities. It is an untimed obstacle course to be held Sept. 21 at the Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln. A portion of the money raised will go to Bright Pink, a nonprofit dedicated to the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancers. Register, $85, at godirtygirl.com.
Tailgate for charity: Reservations must be made by Sept. 13 for the 2013 Big Red Tailgate. Attendees will support Completely Kids, an Omaha nonprofit dedicated to serving at-risk youths and their families, while celebrating Husker pride. This casual event will be Sept. 20 at Embassy Suites in La Vista, 12520 Westport Parkway. The evening will feature a raffle, silent auction and cocktails at 5:30 p.m., with dinner and live auction to follow at 7:15 p.m. To reserve your spot, visit completelykids.org or call 402-397-5809. Cost is $150 for patron reservations, $125 for regular reservations and $75 for individuals 35 and younger.
Anna Backhaus, 29, is a mother of three boys and student at University of Nebraska at Omaha, interning for momaha this fall. Click here to read her blogs on momaha.com
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