Extremely Premature. Abundantly Blessed.

Extremely Premature. Abundantly Blessed.

Fragile, tiny twins battling for their lives. After trying to get pregnant for over two years, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. There had been no complications. There had been no warnings. Yet somehow, that was the fate that Selah and Brynn were facing. These beautiful twins were born extremely premature after only 25 weeks’ gestation to first time parents, Ben and Kelsey, each weighing under 2 lbs.

Kelsey had experienced no issues during her pregnancy. She simply woke up one morning with contractions. After calling her doctor, Kelsey was instructed to head to the hospital to get checked out just to be safe. Doctors started running a myriad of tests but couldn’t determine why she was in labor. Even worse, they couldn’t find a way stop it. Five hours after arriving at the hospital, Selah started coming down the birth canal. Doctors immediately made the decision to deliver both girls through emergency cesarean. They feared that if they allowed Selah’s delivery to continue without intervention, the process would almost certainly kill her.

While this quick thinking saved the girls lives, their battle had only begun. Premature babies are not yet fully equipped to deal with life in our world. They are naturally behind in their development. They are forced to learn to do a lot of things on their own that should be done for them inside the womb. Additionally, their tiny bodies still have many underdeveloped systems such as the lungs, digestive system, immune system and skin. Babies do a lot of developing during the final trimester of pregnancy, and if they’re born early, they face a significant uphill battle.

Preterm birth is the leading cause of death among newborns. Those who survive are more likely to have lifelong health problems such as developmental delays, hearing loss, blindness, chronic lung disease, and cerebral palsy than full-term babies. About 25 percent of extremely premature infants (those born before 32 weeks’ gestation) suffer significant, long-term impairment of brain development. Ben and Kelsey were told Selah and Brynn had an 80% chance of surviving. The news was devastating, but Ben and Kelsey were optimistic as the girls appeared to do great the first 24 hours. There were no issues at all. That’s when their worlds were turned upside down.

The day after they were born, Selah and Brynn experienced pulmonary bleeds and struggled progressing. A few days later, it was discovered that both girls had an intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), also known as a brain bleed. IVH of a newborn is bleeding into the fluid-filled areas (ventricles) inside the brain and occurs most often in babies that are born prematurely. Selah had a severe grade 4 bleed on the left side of her brain and a moderate grade 2 bleed on the right. Brynn had severe grade 4 bleeds on both sides. Because there is no way to stop bleeding associated with IVH, Ben and Kelsey were told that both girls would require surgery to place a tube (shunt) in their brains to drain fluid in hopes of relieving the pressure. Because of the severity of the bleeds, doctors told Ben and Kelsey that if they survived, both girls would never be able to eat or walk on their own and many other areas of their development would be significantly delayed.

Their initial brain scans following the bleeds showed a tremendous amount of damage. Seeing what little remained of their brains left a pit in Ben and Kelsey’s stomachs. Both girls had to undergo multiple brain and eye surgeries and have experienced health and development issues including hydrocephalus, pulmonary hemorrhages, respiratory distress, PDA, bowel issues and infections. In all, Selah and Brynn spent more than 4 months in the NICU before they were allowed to go home, connected to a host of tubes and leads to monitor everything from oxygen levels to sleep apnea.

Ben & Kelsey were determined to do whatever they could to give their girls the best chance to beat the odds stacked against them and provide a brighter future than doctors had predicted. As soon as they were released from the hospital, Selah and Brynn started receiving Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy at Sara’s Garden. The family noticed changes immediately. From the moment treatments started, the sleep apnea monitors, which had been going off constantly, no longer registered any alerts or events. After just 2 days of treatments, Selah went from having eyes that bounced, floated, and disappeared below her eye lids, to looking around and trying to maintain a gaze. She is now able to track toys of all shapes and sizes about a foot away from her face and her eyes no longer float away or bounce!

Prior to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, both girls were extremely far behind on their developmental charts. After two rounds of HBOT treatments, that is no longer the case. Brynn has now completely caught up to her adjusted age and Selah is making great strides. Both can now roll over and are gaining trunk and head control every day. Selah is gaining awareness and strength in her right side and beginning to use it considerably more. Brynn is crawling all over the place and can sit independently by herself.

To look at her scans, you would never know that Brynn had experienced severe grade 4 bleeds on both sides of her brain. In fact, Brynn’s next MRI following HBOT treatments showed that her brain had almost completely healed. The right side of Selah’s brain looks amazing as well. Her left side, while healing slower than the right side, has still improved dramatically. There has been so much healing and improvement in both girls’ brains that their neurosurgeons announced that no additional surgeries would be necessary. Ben and Kelsey were overjoyed when they were able to cancel the follow-up surgeries that had already been planned!

Thanks to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy services at Sara’s Garden, Selah & Brynn have begun shattering the limitations that were placed over them when they were born. Ben and Kelsey are certain that God has big plans for Selah and Brynn. They feel abundantly blessed to be able to witness their continued growth and watch how their stories unfold. No matter what you’ve been told, there is hope… for this and many other conditions. HBOT is treatment without drugs… without surgery… without pain.

Casino Night Gala 2016

Casino Night Gala 2016

On Saturday, November 5, 2016, Don’s Automotive Group will be hosting its 3rd Annual Casino Night Gala at Founder’s Hall in Archbold, Ohio from 5:30 p.m. till 11:30 p.m. All proceeds from this event are being donated to Sara’s Garden’s onsite family housing project!

Casino Night will feature a delicious dinner and appetizers, dancing, prizes and silent auctions and casino time that will be conducted with authentic “Las Vegas” style casino tables, casino chips, and slot machine tokens. Come enjoy a variety of games including Black Jack, Texas Hold’em, Roulette, Craps, War, and token slot machines. Professional and friendly dealers will see that you have an exciting and entertaining experience! You don’t need to be a gambler to enjoy Casino Night.

We’re betting you’ll have a great time at Casino Night! We look forward to seeing you there.

Save the Date!
Event Date:Saturday, November 5, 2016
Event Location:Founder’s Hall, Sauder Village, Archbold, Ohio
Event Time:5:30-11:30 p.m. (Casino Floor Open from 7:30 – 11:00 p.m.)
Event Cost:$75 per Plate ($550 for an Entire Table of 8)
 Dress Attire:Semi-Formal

Sara’s Garden is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is the only facility in the United States to offer Autism Intervention, Conductive Education, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Sensory Integration and Speech-Language Pathology services.

Dinner Ticket Includes:
  • Appetizers
  • Dinner
  • Dessert
  • Alcoholic Beverages (Qty. 2)*
  • Soda & Water
  • Chips for Casino Activity**
  • Dancing
Schedule of Events
5:30 p.m.
Appetizers & Drinks
Silent Auction Opens
6:15 p.m.
7:00 p.m.
7:30 p.m.
Casino Floor Opens
11:00 p.m.
Silent Auction Closes
Prizes & Drawings

*Choose between beer, wine and liquor. A cash bar will be available for additional drink purchases.

**Additional chips can be purchased for a donation if needed.

Sponsorship Opportunities:
Platinum Title Sponsor – $3,000
  • Includes three dinner tables, three casino table sponsorships and program recognition.
Gold Table Sponsor – $2,000
  • Includes two dinner tables, two casino table sponsorships and program recognition.
Silver Prize Sponsor – $1,000
  • Includes one dinner table, one casino table sponsorship and program recognition.
Bronze Meal Sponsor – $400
  • Includes two dinner tickets, one casino table sponsorship and program recognition.
Table Sponsor – $200
  • Includes one casino table sponsorship and program recognition.

A block of rooms at the Heritage Inn at Sauder Village are available for reservation at a special event rate. Rooms must be booked at least one month prior to event. Booking ID# 6850.

For additional information regarding sponsorship opportunities or dinner ticket reservations, please contact Becky Coopshaw at 419.337.3010 or via email at b.coopshaw@donsautogroup.com. Please join us for a fun-filled casino experience.

QuarterMania 2016 FUNdraiser

QuarterMania 2016 FUNdraiser

We had so much fun at QuarterMania last year that we’re doing it again!

On Sunday, August 7, Sara’s Garden will be hosting its second annual QuarterMania FUNdraiser. This event will be a fun-filled benefit to raise funds for our onsite housing project. There will be many area vendors to shop from. The event will feature auctions, raffles, and 50/50 drawings.

Be sure to mark your calendars. You don’t want to miss this event.

Event Date: Sunday, August 7, 2016
Event Location: The Hope Center at Sara’s Garden, Wauseon, Ohio
Event Time: Doors open at 1:30, Auction starts at 3:00
Paddles: $3 each or two for $5

What is a QuarterMania?

If you are like us when we first heard of this, you are probably wondering, “What in the world is a QuarterMania event?”

A QuarterMania is a cross between an auction and a raffle where people ‘bid’ to win a product/prize of goods donated from local businesses and various home businesses participating in the event. Bids on these new items range from 1 to 4 quarters. There are usually between 40 and 60 items to auction during a QuarterMania.

When you arrive

When you arrive at the event, you will register and pick out a paddle (or several) with a number on each that is used for your individual bidding on the items you want to try to win. Paddles are $3 each or two for $5. All proceeds from paddle sales are donated directly to Sara’s Garden. 50/50 tickets are also available at this time.

How the auction works

The auctioneer begins by holding up a product and telling a little bit about the highlights and then tells everyone how much the item is going for – between 1 and 4 quarters. If you would like to bid on that item, you put the corresponding number of quarters in the collection pot then hold up your paddle(s) and wait for your number to be called.

Once all the bids are in – the auctioneer randomly selects a number. If your lucky paddle number is called and you have placed a bid , you WIN that item! Now, if you didn’t bid – you just say “no bid” and the auctioneer will re-shuffle the numbers and continue calling a number until someone who has placed a bid and is holding their paddle up wins.

It’s that simple, and it’s a load of fun!

That’s not all!

In addition to the biddings, there are 50/50 tickets and other raffle drawings going on throughout the evening. Tickets for raffle items will be $1 each or six for $5. Also, the participating businesses have a lots of specials as well as cash & carry items at their tables. Please stop by and support these individuals as these events would not be possible without them.

Food, desserts, and beverages will be available for a free will donation.

So… if you are ready for a fun-filled evening for a GREAT CAUSE, grab your QUARTERS and SOME FRIENDS and be there!

For more information on this event either as a participant or as a vendor, please visit the Facebook event page or contact Tina Whalen via email or phone at (419) 345-5302.

Playground Bricks Still Available

Playground Bricks Still Available

Did you miss out on purchasing an engraved brick? Were you not aware that you could purchase one until it was too late?

Don’t worry. You’re not alone. We continue to receive comments from people who are disappointed that they did not get the opportunity to purchase a brick for the playground patio.

We have great news… it’s not too late! We will be selling brick indefinitely as we have a very large area for them to go.

For a tax-deductible donation, we will personalize your limited edition section of the patio. This program offers you the chance to honor family, friends, mentors, sports teams, clubs, organizations or businesses by purchasing a personalized brick paver.

“Buy a Brick” Donor Levels

  • $50.00 – 4″ x 8″ engraved brick space with 1-3 lines of text.
  • $75.00 – 8″ x 8″ engraved brick space with 1-6 lines of text.
  • $100.00 – 12″ x 12″ engraved brick space with 1-8 lines of text.

Inscriptions are in UPPERCASE lettering and are centered on the brick. You can have up to 18 characters per line engraved, including spaces, periods, commas, quotations, etc.

You can also customize your brick with decorative clip art and logo graphics for only $15.00 more. We can also engrave your own clip art or logo for the same price. Simply upload a black & white high resolution logo where specified when you place your order.

You may suggest placement of the graphics on our order sheet under the comments section. Sometimes however it is not possible to accommodate the suggested placement in the layout. In these cases the final design will be left up to our engravers.

Make a lasting memory while supporting the playground project and investing in student’s lives, one step at a time. Help support the students at New Horizons Academy and countless families from across Northwest Ohio that will benefit from this inclusive, handicap accessible playground.

If you would like additional information or need help placing your order, please call or email Matt Rychener at 419-335-7272 ext. 1001.

Hope in the Midst of Life ~ July 2016

Hope in the Midst of Life ~ July 2016

In the last newsletter, I suggested that you all are heroes – the way you give and give, putting your children before yourself. In the movies, heroes always seem to do what they do, on their own.  They conquer every obstacle without ANY help.  In reality, however, heroes often require a great deal of help to do what they do. But since we don’t see that… We think we should be self-sufficient as well.

The fact is, according to Dr. Marlo Archer’s blog; “This country was founded on principles of independence and self-sufficiency. As a result, we have raised a whole nation of people who believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness.” Dr. Archer goes on to talk about the settlers who came here.  She says “We often forget that few of them lived to see a 40th birthday, that men were so desperate for wives that they’d buy them sight-unseen, and that people had 8-9 children because 2-3 of them would routinely die.  We also tend to forget that there were several groups of people already living here and doing quite well by relying on each other.  We also tend to forget that the settlers needed other people so badly that they kidnapped some and enslaved them.  So, the whole notion that American’s don’t need anyone and are self-sufficient is something that was never true to begin with, but we, for some reason, continue to teach it to our children.”

Dr. Archer goes on to talk about specialization.  That said, I might know how to bake and apple pie, but I can’t fix my computer past turning it off and then back on!   The reality is – we need each other!

According to the “Provisional Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults, National Health Interview survey of 2008, 2009,” “Caregivers of children are twice as likely as the general adult population to say they are in fair/poor health.”  I’m guessing that each one of you can understand why this might be!  Perhaps this is a giant red flag waving in the breeze.

Even so, it can be very difficult to ask for help. It is one thing to ask for help ONE time, or even two, but to just keep needing it! … “Come on, other people are busy too.” But your situation isn’t changing… this is long term life…. Not something that you deal with today and it is done and no more help is needed!    About this time, guilt sets in, because we “should be able to deal with our responsibilities.”… and we may  begin to feel like a burden to others.

Have you ever taken a look around your life and thought – “I’ve never pictured this!”?

You are not thinking – “I haven’t found my dream job yet.”  But rather, –  “I haven’t found the sea yet, let alone my ‘ship’ that is supposed to ‘come in’!”    We never pictured not being at least reasonably self-sufficient.  It is hard to be dependent on others, even for small things. At the same time, one person can only do so much.

How do you know you need help? Is it obvious like – you can’t be in two places at once, or less obvious like… your muscles are sore and you’ve had headaches lately… or how about not getting exercise this week, or at all?  On top of that, we know that children with special needs are sensitive to what is happening around them.  They can sense when you aren’t doing so well, sometimes before you do, and they may become anxious.  I’m sure that will not lighten your load!

So maybe you want to take a self- inventory sometime before you wake up and realize you are overwhelmed and life seems to be falling apart.  When was the last time you did something FUN without the beautiful one(s) you are caring for?  How long ago was it?  We know that if we have a hobby of making something – and we spend, even 10 minutes a couple times a week, it helps us heal and it helps us cope.  That said, you are probably thinking… “Hobby!!?  I don’t’ have time for that!”   But what if I tell you – this hobby – that actually TAKES more of your time will HELP you cope?   It’s true.  What should it be?  As long as you make something – music, art, food, coloring, etc., it doesn’t matter.  The only rule is – you have to enjoy it!  Just make something!

What if there’s another way to look at asking for help?…  I’m guessing you might say, being a caregiver for your child is difficult, but you wouldn’t say your child is a burden, even if in all honesty, you are totally exhausted.  Your children are gifts!  But even gifts can sometimes be over whelming and exhausting.

What if you decide to stop feeling bad about needing help and are free enough to offer others the opportunity to be blessed by helping you?  Have you ever thought that by not asking others to help… you are actually depriving them of blessing?  I read somewhere that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Maybe the challenge really is our mindsets!  What if we started celebrating the opportunities we could offer others to be blessed by helping?

I know you are probably laughing and thinking, “You have no idea how much blessing I could offer!  This is ridiculous!”  But actually, I’m serious.   What if it never was about being a burden – but is an opportunity to allow others to be able to help, so they can grow?

Have the courage to ASK and offer someone a chance to be blessed.  It will help them more than it helps you.

Janet Miller  MA LPCC