We Heart Harlie – The little girl who opened my heart
“I always thought someone should do something about that, then I realized I was someone” ~ Lily Tomlin
Too often these days we are told of why something can’t be done or how it’s not my job. But if it’s not our job, then whose is it? Allow me to tell you an amazing story that will inspire you. It takes place right here in Glen Allen, VA. The story is about a little girl named Harlie. She is a daisy in Girl Scout Troop 5091. Harlie is six years old, just like the other 14 girls in her troop. These little girls have taken their role of being a sister to every scout quite seriously.
Harlie is very special and she has some unique needs. She is anything but your average six-year-old little girl, but don’t tell her that. She loves to play and giggle and hang out with her friends. She loves dress up and dancing, and is quite good at yoga. What makes Harlie special is that she was born with Goldenhaar syndrome, she has lung defects, and she has a mirror image heart. In her short six years of life, she has endured 32 surgeries. She is fed through a tube, she uses a communication device to speak, she wears a hearing aid, but only in one ear, and that’s because she has only one ear. She goes to Kindergarten, and she has two brothers that she likes to play with. Harlie has a pug dog named Rooney, whom she adores. She loves to play in the pool. She loves to tease you and has a fantastic sense of humor.
Her friends adore her. In fact, they all go out of their way to make sure Harlie has just what she needs as often as they can. To be honest, they usually fuss with each other over who gets to sit by her. They love her so much, and they wish she didn’t have to go through so many surgeries. They wanted to help, so along with the help of their Troop leader and mommies, they created a really cool day to celebrate Harlie – it’s called We Heart Harlie Day. They started this celebration when they were only five years old – awesome, right? They found out Harlie was going to have to spend a lot of her summer in Boston having surgery and then recovering, so they wanted to do something.
This May 18th will be the second year in a row they have put together a fundraiser to help her family offset their medical and travel costs. The money that is raised also goes to help pay for speech, physical and feeding therapies. We Heart Harlie Day is a great way for the local families to come out and show their love and support to Harlie. At the event, there will be a fun run for the kids, a 5K, Zumba, Team Adrenaline Sports, Master Cho’s Tae Kwon Do. There will be a bouncy house, face painting, cotton candy and tons of raffles (only $5 each) to win prizes that are donated by local businesses.
This year Harlie will be traveling to Boston again to have a jaw distraction surgery – and trust me, it will be more painful than it sounds. We can’t make the surgery any less painful, though we all would in a heartbeat if we could, but we can make it easier for them to travel and to be separated from their family. We would love it if you could come out and join us to show your love and support. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning!
At the end of the event, people leave knowing they helped make a difference in Harlie’s life. They know that when we all come together, we can make a change and we can be proud of ourselves. Some people come out just to say hello and meet Harlie, some people come for the exercise. No donation is too big or too small. My favorite donor last year was a classmate of Harlie’s. He told me that he only had $4 in his piggy bank, but he really wanted Harlie to have it for her surgery – I gave him two raffle tickets. With gestures that big, you can only imagine how amazing Harlie is. So please, come join us at Glen Allen Elementary School on May 18th. If you want to run the race you can sign up online at http://www.racerpal.com/races/WeHeartHarlie.html, and even if you can’t come, you can donate as a phantom runner.
To learn more about Harlie, you can check out her mom’s blog, www.lifesinceHarlie.blogspot.com or you can friend her on facebook – We Heart Harlie. We hope to see you there.