Hero Harper’s Donation Drive

November 24 – December 9, 2023

A little backstory on why we are organizing this donation drive:

We’ve always noticed that our daughter, Harper, has squinted a lot, but her doctor appointments were always normal. Until her 4 year wellness visit back in May 2023, when they couldn’t get the scanner to work on her eyes. They thought it was an issue with the machine after 5 or 6 nurses and the doctor all couldn’t get it to work. So they said if we wanted, we could either wait until her 5 year check-up, or take her to get a regular eye exam. Since she was starting 4K in the Fall, we wanted to be sure all was ok. Shortly after this appointment, we noticed her straining/squinting more and more, and also tilting her head down to look at objects closer, but her eyes would veer off to the side. She would also always look to the side when taking pictures and when we would tell her to look at the camera, she would always say “I am!” So in July, we made her an appointment for a regular eye exam with the doctor I have seen since I was a kid. After she completed the exam, she said “Well, this makes sense why she’s looking to the side like that, she has cataracts in both eyes.” When she would look to the side, she was essentially trying to see “around” these cataracts, or “burry spots” in her eyes.

Like most people, we had only ever heard of older adults getting cataracts. This can, however, happen in kids after trauma to the eyes, or as a side effect of some other diseases, but in our case, neither of those explanations apply to Harper, so they believe she was just born with them and they grew overtime. The odd silver lining is that she does have them in both eyes, so one has not been working harder than the other and she doesn’t know any different. She just thinks everyone sees the world a little cloudy – what a surprise it will be when she can see crystal clear!

It’s very rare in kids, so it’s been a long few months of learning and appointments – meeting with the Pediatric Ophthalmologist in La Crosse, and then another Pediatric doctor in Madison. But we finally had surgery #1 to remove the cataract in her left eye and replace with an artificial lens on Monday October 30, 2023 at the American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison. Surgery #2 will happen December 11th, also in Madison. Cataract surgery for adults is typically a quick and simple procedure, but it’s a bit more involved for a child as they have to be put under, so it’s a couple hour surgery.

Now – why are we collecting donations for the Ronald McDonald House Charities – Madison? We stayed two nights at the Ronald McDonald House, that’s located right next to the hospital and it was incredible. The amount of support they gave us was just so overwhelmingly appreciated. We felt a little out of place, knowing there were people there going through so much worse with their kids than we were, but we were still treated just the same. They made us feel so welcomed, comfortable and treated Harper so well. So, it’s been heavy on my Momma heart ever since then to give back in a big way to them and support the other families who have kiddos going through so much more serious problems than Harper is. We go back for her second surgery on December 11th, so we are teaming up with Champions Riverside Resort to organize a donation drive for things on the RMHC wish list and take it all there when we go for Harper’s next surgery!

How it will work:

  • From Friday November 24th to Saturday December 9th, you can bring donations to either Champions Riverside Resort or Flex Appeal Fitness (details below) and receive one ticket for every item you donate. If you choose to make a monetary donation, you’ll be given one ticket per dollar you donate. These tickets can win you one of ten AMAZING prizes – see the list below!
  • On Saturday December 9th, we will hold the drawing for prizes at Champions Riverside Resort at 1pm! Need not be present to win, but we encourage you to attend for other fun games and raffles that will all be donated to the cause as well!
  • We will post the ticket numbers for any prizes not claimed at the event on both the Flex Appeal Fitness and Champions Riverside Resort Facebook pages.
  • If you are not local, you can also donate online here: https://form.jotform.com/233226672543052 – these online donations will not be eligible for tickets to win, BUT for every $20 you donate, you will get one change to win a $50 VISA gift card!

The prizes you could win just by donating:

  • $50 Gift card to Flex Appeal Fitness!
  • $50 VISA gift card!
  • $50 Amazon gift card!
  • $50 Kwik Trip gift card!
  • A one year gym membership to Flex Appeal Fitness!
  • A Downtown Galesville business gift basket – filled with lots of goodies and gift cards to many Downtown Galesville businesses!
  • An autographed Jordan Love Packer jersey!
  • A gift certificate for camping at Champions Riverside Resort in the 2024 season!
  • A winter Bunkhouse getaway at Champions Riverside Resort – perfect for a winter birthday pizza party or a little family get-together!
  • Free breakfast at Champions Riverside Resort once a month for a whole year!

Here’s what we are collecting (per the Ronald McDonald House – Madison’s website wish lists)NOTE: Only NEW/UNOPENED items are accepted for health and safety purposes.

Here’s a few more donation ideas per the RMHC website:

Our House and Family Room are just like your home. We need household and personal care items, healthy pantry items, toys, books, and gift and gas cards in $10-20 denominations. 

CARE KITS: Using a ziplock bag, create a toiletry kit for our families to use for an overnight stay. Kits should include travel sized items: a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand sanitizer and facial tissue.

GIFT CARDS: Collect gift cards in $10-25 denominations to grocery stores, Target, Amazon, gas cards and more to distribute to our families in times of need or to purchase meals and cleaning supplies for our House.

SNACK BAGS: Snack bags are a great way for our families to enjoy a quick treat on the go! These are great for families to take with them from the House to the hospital. All snacks included in the bags should be individually packaged.

GIFT BAGS FOR FAMILIES: It’s such a wonderful treat for the families to see goodies left for them outside their guest rooms when they return from the hospital. It really brightens their day! You can build a gift bag assortment to suit your giving budget and creativity. Think of something you would like to receive or something you would want while spending a lot of time at the hospital caring for a loved one. Ideas include: puzzle books, magazines, healthy treats, gum, coloring books for kids or adults, personal care items, a neck pillow, fun socks and things to do while spending time away from home.