Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tribute Tuesday: The Heaps Family Heroines

Jill, Jacqueline and Emily Heaps

“Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!” D&C 128:22

Today I want to pay tribute to three girls who mean the world to me and who I have had such sweet experiences with over the past 6 years. The girls are daughters of God who show that they know who they are and where they have come from by the faith and courage they put forward everyday.

Jill, Jacqueline and Emily Heaps are modern day heroines.

In January 2002, Jill was blessed with a second angel daughter named Emily. After Emily had been sick upon arriving home she was returned to the hospital and after several tests and mis-diagnosis it was concluded that Emily had SCID, “Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, is a primary immune deficiency. The defining characteristic is usually a severe defect in both the T- & B-lymphocyte systems.
Emily was what you refer to as a “bubble baby”. She was checked into Primary Children’s where she stayed in a very sanitary restricted area. Jill was basically at the hospital 24/7 unless the family, friends or ward members relieved her for small visits home. I believe they were there about 4 months.
During this time I was able to take time off school and work to take care of the other part of the heaps family, Jacqueline and Thomas. From the beginning I felt so blessed to be able to be in a time of my life where I was able to be of service to Jill so that she wouldn’t have to worry as much while she was away. I literally felt angels guiding me everyday to comfort those children in the ways they needed comfort. It was a blessed time of my life.
During this time is when another heroine was born… after a sad day of blood tests on our little Jacqueline and Thomas, it was shown that Jacqueline, then 6 yrs old, was a perfect match for a bone marrow transplant and she was so brave and wanted to do it to help her sister.

On the day of the transplant they had to drill lots of holes (at least to me it seemed like that) on the bottom part of Jacqueline’s back and then they put all her bone marrow in a machine which shook it all up and it came out looking like blood and was given to baby Emily by IV. We all sat there and watched while the transplant took place. It didn’t seem to phase Emily physically at all but poor Jacqueline was so sick and throwing up and sore. She went up 100 notches in my book that day as I watched that brave 6 yr old suffer so her Sister could have a normal life.

During Emily’s sickness the ward and community rallied around this family and gave all of us more love and strength then we could have ever imagined. We threw a successful benefit yard sale, a benefit concert and the movie “Charly” donated the benefits from the premiere to the cause. Although none of that could even come close to touching the medical bills that come from an ordeal such as this, the love and support and generosity gave such peace and stability to help see the family through this difficult time.
For 6 years Emily has been able to be with us in public. To romp around like any 6 year old would and to bring love, smiles and hugs to everyone she comes in contact with. How we all adore our little princess Emily. Anyone that is ever around her would never know the trials and sickness that are going on inside her little body. She lost most of her hearing from all the medications she was on yet talking to her you would never know. In fact, if you would see her today you would NEVER guess that tomorrow is the day that she will have to undergo chemotherapy for the first time. Yes, Emily’s bone marrow is rejecting and she will need to have chemo and then the two heroines will reunite their bone marrow once more…. This time we are positive it will stick!

As for the Mother heroine she is a rock. She has the faith to move mountains for her daughter. She is there to comfort and bless sweet Emily’s life, She is willing to take a step into the darkness, the unknown, if it will improve Emily’s overall health and lifespan.
I was told by Grandma Whiting that when Emily went into surgery to have the port put into her for chemo yesterday, that she got a little scared and Jill said to her, “Emily don’t be afraid, Angels will be watching over you!” to that Emily replied, “ Will the doctors step on them?” Isn’t she the cutest thing ever?!

To my Jill, my Emily and my Jacqueline heroines, THANK YOU for showing me that you believe in the Savior Jesus Christ, that you love each other more than any pain would inflict, and that you understand the principles of faith and hope. This new detour will continue only for a time but when it is over just like the last time we will all be able to look back and see the miracles of life and love and charity that were reaped upon you all.

Just like your blog says, “keep moving ahead” look forward not backward, and come back to all of our arms soon! We will all be praying for you, supporting you, and visiting you!



Ging said...

Meg, that was awesome! Our prayers will be with all the family, and that includes YOU too!

Angie said...

Wow, what a story! They are in our thoughts and prayers! And like ging said...you are too!

Holli said...

oh my gosh meggie!!! that was so sweet!!! emily will pull through this just as the whole family will to!! that was a great tribute!! love you meggs!!! the heaps will definaltly be our prayers!! love ya!!!

Heaps Family said...

thanks for doing that! it means a lot to us! we love you so much!

when are you going to come over and see justin & the buhrleys'- we want to see you!

emily had chemo today- she's doing awsome! it hasn't even phased her! we love you!

Brandon and Erica said...

geez! I am sitting at my work desk crying! I hope my coworkers think I am working :-)...

That was a very sweet sweet story and we will be praying for the Heaps family as they continue on in their challenges.

You are awesome!

~wendy~ said...

"Wow" is all I can say. Does Jill have a blog?

David said...

It makes me very happy to read about miracles like this, and I would like to share a story i ran into today online

Things like this brighten my days. God bless

The Burners said...

What a sweet tribute to these strong, righteous daughters of God! I will keep this sweet family in my prayers :)

Angee said...

Amazing. You captured how I feel so beautifully. Thank you for sharing. Jackie and my daughter are best friends so I know what a heroine she is...

Velda said...

As soon as I read the description of her problem in the school newsletter announcing a fundraiser for Emily, my heart lept into my throat. My niece and nephew were SCID kids too. I don't know whether the Heaps family has been talking to other SCID parents, and maybe they already know Rick and Marybeth, but if not, their blog is at lilyharper.org . I'll be praying for everyone involved, and for those who aren't involved to be generous...

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