Grayson, GA - Four-year-old, Holden Parker is busy making a list for Santa…but it is not just for himself. Holden asked his mother if they can collect toys for boys and girls in the children’s hospitals that he spent so much time in as an infant. Although the family collected and distributed hundreds of toys to children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Egleston last year, the family had not planned to do it again this year.
However, “Having my own child ask if we could take toys again this year to these sick children completely warmed my heart” said Holden’s mother Christine Parker. “We gladly said yes and we’d love to be able to make this annual event. We understand how scary and painful it can be to have a sick child in the hospital. Maybe this is a way for us to support other families who are going through one of the most challenging times in their lives. We hope in addition to spreading some holiday cheer, that we can give them hope by sharing Holden’s story.”
The family will be collecting toys between now and December 17th and will deliver to the hospitals on December 18. The family hopes to collect more donations this year so they can also take toys to the children at CHOA Scottish Rite. Anyone interested in participating in the toy drive can send toys, gift cards, batteries, DVDs, CDs, stuffed animals or checks (made out to CHOA) to:
P.O. Box 1001
Grayson, GA 30017
You can also keep up with toy drive or find more information at: https://www.facebook.com/HoldenFaith2ndAnnualChristmasToyDrive?ref=hl
Holden Parker knows from his own personal experience what it is like to spend time in a hospital. His mother recounts the story!
I feel like my family has been blessed with a second chance. In 2008, our son Holden was born extremely sick. He had heart defects, his lungs had not fully formed, he had pulmonary hypertension and he had severe reflux. At 10 weeks old he came home from the hospital on oxygen, a feeding pump and a heart monitor. During one of our many hospital visits doctors determined that he had pulmonary vein stenosis. They explained that it was inoperable and in most cases was fatal. They said they did not know if he had "two days, two weeks, two months, two years or two decades." The words cut like a knife.
I prayed like I had never prayed before. I asked God for a miracle. I asked anyone who would listen...to pray for Holden. Even in the darkest of hours, I heard a voice telling me everything was going to be alright. It was that voice that gave me the faith and strength that I needed for myself, my family and my son. Today, Holden is 4 1/2 years old and is doing amazingly well. He's off the oxygen (which doctors said he'd need indefinitely), he's off his feeding pump and he's off all medications. He is truly a miracle.
I share this story because I feel like we've been to hell and back...and I'm so grateful to have made it to where we are today. But I saw how dark those days can get. There were hours when I was scared that he might not make it to see the sun rise. But through it all I had FAITH. I honestly can't imagine going through this journey without it. I am in the process of writing a book about our experience. I hope we can inspire others to believe, even amidst what seems impossible. Have FAITH. If not in God, have faith in something. Have Faith in yourself...or simply in that things WILL get better. Keep HOLDEN Faith!
Contributed by Christine Parker