On August 20, 2009, our lives changed forever. My husband Charles and I were excited to give birth to a beautiful baby girl. After a blissful nine months with no complications, no morning sickness, and no major issues, the day finally came to meet Char'lee Rain Lewis. But then all of a sudden, our excitement turned into immediate concern when we learned that Char'lee was experiencing difficulty breathing...
Shortly after that, one thing led to another - it felt like endless updates on her condition. We met with so many doctors and hospital staff during her nearly two-month stay in the NICU. That alone was overwhelming. Fast forward, Char'lee is now 10 years old. Yassss!!! And we are still here!
Yet, I honestly thought after seeing my baby girl in that hospital, while hooked up to all of those tubes, that she was going to die. I remember asking one of the doctors if she was going to make it? And she looked at me and said, "Yes, but she will have life-long medical issues."
Char'lee has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. She is also visually impaired, and has epilepsy (just to name a few). No doubt, we have some high and low days, but we thank God that the highs outweigh the lows. I have to say, remaining grateful and faithful is crucial to our lives. It's hard for depression and bitterness to sink in when gratitude is our outcry. I truly believe that nothing new can come into our lives, until we are grateful for what we already have. Our hearts are genuinely grateful for our situation, even if Char'lee does not improve.
In hindsight, I see how God was preparing me for this journey all of my life. As a young girl, sometimes I would play with the kids with special needs, so they wouldn't feel left out. In high school, I felt led to pay a visit to the special education students' classroom to just say, "Hi" and spend time with them sometimes. I was also a babysitter for my neighbor's kids, one of whom was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. So little did I know, my heart was in training for something bigger than myself.
Today, we feel honored to be trusted with our miracle Char'lee. She has given us more than we could ever imagine. Now, I encourage others through my new non-profit organization, Char'lee's Cure Foundation (CCF) to never give up on your loved ones, but also never give up on yourself.