by Jill Whitley | firstname.lastname@example.org
On Times-Herald editor Clay Neely’s most recent podcast, Chatty Newnan Women founder Renea Carl and administrator Melanie Gramling discussed the group’s efforts to provide Christmas gifts for the family of a local pre-schooler with a rare genetic illness.
On Sunday, December 15, the group hosted a meet-up at local burger bar Art &Jakes to introduce donors to the Minor family: Georgia, who is now two years old, her three older stepbrothers, Jonathan, Gavin, and Nolan, and her parents Patrick and Kimberly.
Carl said, “I’m sure everyone has followed Kimberly and her story of sweet baby Georgia. She’s such a wonderful mom and devotes so much time to not just her daughter, but to parents worldwide who have children with Trisomy18. We would like to make this Christmas a special one for her and her family.”
Kimberly started her own blog and Facebook page after Georgia’s diagnosis shortly after birth. Her mission is to provide families with stories of children who have survived well into childhood and beyond with the genetic disorder, which was previously considered ‘incompatible with life’.
She told Times-Herald reporter Sarah Fay Campbell in March that, “Parents take their kids home to die happily in their arms. I respect that everybody has a choice to do what they want, but I think a lot of parents make that choice because a medical professional has convinced them that their kid is not going to do well.”
“If I had Googled [Trisomy18] and I had seen a kid like Georgia, I would have probably had a hell of a lot more hope than I did in the beginning.”
Although the Facebook group asked that gifts be mailed directly to the Minor family, there was still food, lots of laughter, and a photo booth at the meetup hosted by Carl, Gramling, and Chatty Newnan Women administrator Diane Spurling.
In addition, they asked members of the group not to come to the gathering if they had been recently exposed to any illness because of Georgia’s fragile immune system. Those in attendance, however, took turns holding, playing, and posing for pictures with Georgia after she woke up from a brief nap in her stroller.
When asked about the results of their efforts on behalf of the Minor family, Carl said, “It’s so heartwarming to see so many women pull together and help one of our own ladies. We’ve all grown to love Georgia and Kimberly and it was so great to help bring a little Christmas joy to such a deserving family. Kimberly had no idea this was our plan and was beyond thrilled when I told her what we wanted to do. Next Christmas we will help at least one more family, but hopefully more.”
“It was also so nice to meet the whole family, and just sit back, relax and have fun. It made my whole Christmas.”
Kimberly minor wanted to express her gratitude to not only those who organized the drive, but the entire community: “I cannot believe how blessed we are by this amazing town. I am overwhelmed by the amount of help and love we’ve gotten. It’s been a rough road, but I can’t complain. My baby is alive and thriving, and I found great support here. I found God in all of this. I found a tribe, and I found a home here in Newnan.”
Still, she confesses she is overwhelmed and a bit self-conscious about the outpouring of generosity: “I come from a family that very strongly believes in not asking for help. I am so worried that someone will think we are taking advantage of Newnan’s kindness, or be upset about the amount of help we’ve gotten.”
Despite the Minor family’s concerns, Kimberly remains committed to sharing Georgia’s story with Coweta County and the world: “My husband and I literally always gush about how lucky we are to have so many strangers who love our girl. I guess to some it may be weird to document our lives so publically and let strangers in, but we feel like the kindness, the joy, and the love we see is something everyone should experience. God is still so real and is still granting miracles every day.”
“We get to be lucky enough to raise one.”