Mission: Food for Families - The Leyva Family

For: The Leyva Family
Organizer: Rachelle Sparks, author of "Once Upon A Wish: True Inspirational Stories of Make-A-Wish Children" (www.onceuponawishbook.com)
Mission: Food for Families - The Leyva Family  (The Leyva Family)
of $500 goal
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Raised by 14 donors
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The Story

Madonia Family Update - Paying Their Gift Forward

The Madonia family received $200 toward their gift of receiving home-delivered, fully-prepared meals from http://homebistro.dinewise.com. They were $300 away from their goal, and they decided to donate their gift to the Leyva family.
Here's their story:

The Madonia family is everything that generosity is all about - giving to others who are less fortunate. But they are in the same boat as the Leyva family. Both of their children suffer from the same disease, both have gone through endless hospital stays, and both have experienced the heartache of having a sick child. But through it all, Paul Madonia and his wife, Jessica, have accepted help from family and friends whenever it was offered.

The Leyvas have not.

"This year my goal was to say 'Yes' whenever someone offered help," Tamara Leyva said, adding that they wanted their "families and friends to feel more connected to (their son) Charlie and us."

Looks like Paul and Jessica came into their lives at just the right time. The Leyvas, who met the Madonias via their website (prayingforandrew.org), have been a support to one another through email as both families battle this difficult disease. 

"We have been greatly blessed over the years as we faced difficult times with Andrew's condition," Paul said, "and we would like the donations received to go towards the Leyva family."

Tamara said her family resorts to take-out most nights because life is just too busy with daily doctor appointments, therapies, and infusions. If she does cook, it takes away from her mommy time with Charlie. And since cheeseburgers have lost their appeal, Tamara said, "these meals would help tremendously!" 

Just the way it did with Andrew, Mito disease has taken a big toll on Tamara, her husband, Brian, and their entire family, and Paul said he and Jessica wanted to "take one last worry off their plate (pun intended!)."

Tamara and Brian fostered Charlie when he was six days old, and said they could tell something wasn't quite right from the very beginning. And while doctors told them that "Charlie looks fine," they listened to their guts. The next two years were filled with CPS visits, doctor visits 2-5 times a week, evaluations, 17 hospital admissions, 8 surgeries and countless procedures, tests and pokes.

In 2013, on National Adoption Day, they officially adopted Charlie. He is "the most amazing blessing we have ever received," Tamara said.  

Please help Tamara and Brian by giving as little or as much as you are able. Every donation helps this family reduce one daily burden - and the amount of food they receive depends on your donations!

Rachelle Sparks, Author of "Once Upon A Wish: True Inspirational Stories of Make-A-Wish Children" www.onceuponawishbook.com

If you missed it, here is the Madonia Family's story:

I (virtually) met the Madonia family through an old high school friend, who posted on my FB page that Andrew Madonia and his family were on a cruise to the Bahamas for his Make-A-Wish trip – and from the looks of the website Andrew’s parents, Paul and Jessica, keep for him (http://prayingforandrew.org/), it was the trip of a lifetime.
As Paul writes, “Andrew has perked up and really been doing so much better since the Disney Cruise. He really seems to have a lot more drive to keep pushing on and in some instances kind of seems to be getting better.”
Andrew Madonia suffers from Mitochondrial Disease (aka “Mito”). While there are too many symptoms to list, here are a few: weakened immune system, muscle weakness,  asthma, feeding tube, GERD/acid reflux, leg misalignment, facial paralysis , petit mal seizures, delays in fine and gross motor skills, sensory issues , lack of physiological development, and migraines.
From birth, Andrew showed signs that things weren’t quite right, and while doctors told Paul and Jessica he would most likely “grow out of it,” their guts told them otherwise. After two years of trying to figure out what was going on with their son, doctors finally gave them the diagnosis.
As Paul writes on his blog, “Many of us have been knocked down, broken, and felt our world crumbling to pieces when faced with difficult times.  Andrew experiences these things everyday but does not give up…he’s a true fighter.”
This is one of the reasons I wanted to feature the Madonias as the first recipient of Mission: Food for Families. They face fear and uncertainty with courage, strength, and faith, and Andrew faces it all with smiles. Even during the most painful procedures, Paul says Andrew has a smile on his face and thanks doctors and nurses when they’re done poking and prodding.
With a life so consumed by hospital visits and doctor appointments, with your help, we can raise money to provide fully-prepared meals for this family – one less thing for them to worry about – through homebistro.dinewise.com (http://homebistro.dinewise.com). Let’s help take one thing off the Madonias’ plate – cooking dinners – so they can, instead, do what they enjoy most: spending time with one another.  
While Andrew’s activities are often limited by his disease, he continues to do the things he has always loved doing – playing with his service dog, Quade, playing soccer, Legos, dress up, watching movies, and playing Mario Kart on the Wii.
This is a wonderful family who has gone through a lot, and wants to share the lessons they have taken away from it all. After starting a Prayer Warriors page on their website (http://prayingforandrew.org/?page_id=608) and seeing the support they received, Paul and Jessica realized the impact they could have on their readers.
Paul said their website has been a way for them to “keep Andrew’s story out there for others struggling with similar issues. We have been deeply humbled and blessed throughout the whole experience. We have learned to be thankful for what we have.”

Rachelle Sparks, Author of "Once Upon A Wish: True Inspirational Stories of Make-A-Wish Children" www.onceuponawishbook.com

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Mission: Food for Families - The Leyva Family

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