8 Years Ago

Time flies and seasons change but some things stay the same.

Eight years ago at this time we found out that Kenzi would be missing her lower left arm due to Amniotic Band Syndrome . This was a scary diagnosis but something we were prepared to learn about and give Kenzi the same life that her big sister Bailey was living. We knew that Kenzi would have challenges ahead but we were going to do whatever necessary to make her life as normal as possible. However as we were planning on creating a wonderful life for our two daughters, life had a different plan.

We were told by a doctor at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia that Kenzi could die after an entire day of having tests done to make sure the only thing that Kenzi suffered from was a limb difference. Kenzi was perfect in our eyes. Nothing quite prepares you for the news that the child you wanted, that you created, that you have been carrying for months might not make it. The doctor shared with us that Kenzi would not make it to full term because Bailey was a preemie and that my amniotic sac was compromised making me susceptible to infection. I was fine with having a preemie again, I had done it before and I could do it again. What I wasn’t fine with was the thought that Kenzi could die.

When we returned from Philadelphia and saw our doctors here, they believed that Kenzi would make it and would make it close to full-term. I held on to these hopes and started to make plans again for our future as a family of 4. Everything seemed to be going well. My last doctors visit the week of January 15, 2007 had me convinced Kenzi was not only going to make it but she was going to be okay. Everything looked great…..

What I didn’t know was that things would change quickly and my life would never be the same. I started feeling bad on Friday, January 18th and believed it was the stress of the pregnancy and the worry that I had been doing for weeks was catching up to me. What was really happening was Kenzi and I were infected and I would be diagnosed with Chorioamnionitis. I continued to not feel well over the weekend and even called my church to have someone come and pray with me at my home and to pray for Kenzi.

On Monday morning I knew something was wrong. My Mom was still here visiting and I asked her to take me to my high risk doctor. I can still remember the drive to Littleton Hospital’s campus and the moment when I knew Kenzi was gone. I knew during that drive that I would never see Kenzi open her eyes, I would never see her smile, I would never hear her first words and I would never have the gift of her being with me on Earth. The doctor confirmed what I already knew with an ultrasounds and I was taken, at my request, immediately over to the hospital to be admitted so they could induce my labor and I could deliver my daughter. This would be my first hello and my last goodbye.

As our family approaches Kenzi’s 8th birthday, my pain is as real today as it was the day I lost Kenzi and the day I gave birth. No one could have prepared me for the pain, grief, loss and devastation we endured by the loss of our daughter. No one could have ever prepared me for the emptiness my heart still feels today without her in my life. On January 23, 2007 I met my daughter and I held her and I told her I loved her and I told her I was sorry that she wasn’t coming home with me. I would give anything to have 5 more minutes with her in my arms, to kiss her head one more time and look her over.

Nothing will ever replace what we lost and nothing will ever repair the hole in my heart but I started Dolls for Daughters 8 years ago because Kenzi gave me the strength to turn my loss into something beautiful and that is her legacy and the organization that bears her name ~ Dolls for Daughters and Kenzi’s Kidz.

What I have learned in the last 8 years has been a lesson on grace, fear and love. Little did I know 8 years ago that Kenzi would bring so many amazing people into our lives and into our family. I had no idea how many people she would impact and how many people would be inspired to support Dolls for Daughters and Kenzi’s Kidz.

Kenzi helped me embrace my fear as I created this nonprofit and she continues to help me each time we take a new step and grow. In 2015 Dolls for Daughters and Kenzi’s Kidz plans to impact more children than we ever have before. We will fulfill my dream of having monthly events for our Kenzi’s Kidz families now that we will have an office. However none of this would be possible if Kenzi wasn’t part of my life.

So my darling daughter as your 8th birthday approaches may you know how much I love you, how much I am honored to be your Mother, how much you have changed me for the better and how I will continue day after to day to make the world a better place and put smiles on the faces of children in Colorado because of YOU! ~ Love Your Mom

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The Girl Scouts of America is an incredible national organization, consisting of hundreds of female troops that focus on community service.  Girl Scout troops intend to implement the idea of helping others in young girls, shaping them to be considerate young women.  Girl Scout Troop #3996 of Leawood Elementary found a way to give back to the community that both interested and excited them.  Led by Jennifer Magri, the troop participated in Dolls for Daughters’ annual toy giveaway.  The girls were incredibly inspired, and one of them continues to work with the Dolls for Daughters community today.

1. How did you first learn about Dolls for Daughters?

We learned about Dolls for Daughters from our troop leader, who was looking for an opportunity for us to help other children during the holidays.  As it turned out, a mother of one of our girls also knew about Dolls for Daughters.

2. Some people are drawn to Dolls for Daughers because of their own personal experience, or the experience of someone close to them, similar to Jessica’s.  Why did you decide to volunteer for Dolls for Daughters?

We wanted to help kids who do not usually get toys for Christmas.  Rather than simply donating toys, we felt the urge to do more and work with the actual families and children.

3. What has touched you most about the work Dolls for Daughters is doing?

It is incredibly powerful to see someone cry because they are so overcome with joy, especially when it is because of something that you did.  We enjoyed helping parents find the right toys for their kids and seeing the smiles on their faces.  Some of us thought of our own families who have had difficult times, and what others must go through ever holiday season.  We thought about the blessings in our lives and felt incredibly thankful.

4. How long have you been a volunteer with Dolls for Duaghters?  What is/are the biggest reasons for staying involved?

This was our first time helping Dolls for Daughters!

5. What is your most memorable experience volunteering with Dolls for Daughters? 

At the toy giveaway, one family at the very end thought they were too late, and that all of the toys were gone.  The mother of the family was so happy that there was enough left, she began to cry.  We cannot believe the amount of toys and the number of families that lined up, even in the freezing cold, to get things for their children.  We loved working with the families and helping them find toys. 

6. Have you participated in any of the Dolls for Daughters fundraising events?  If so, which one(s)?

Our troop did a school toy drive to help the Christmas event.  One girl in the troop, Maddie, attended the Bowl-a-thon recently and said that it was extremely fun!

7. Have you shared your volunteer experience with your friends and family?  What was their reaction?

Yes, our families thought it was “so beautiful.”  Another friend said, “I cannot believe there are so many people in need,” and thought the organization itself was amazing.  The parents of the girls were incredibly proud, especially with the work we did to research the organization and collect toys.

8. Have any of your friends or family become Dolls for Daughters volunteers because of it?

One of our troop members and her family has gotten more involved since our experience began in December.  They are very committed to the cause and helping others.

9. With so many organizations in need of volunteers for so many different purposes, what suggestions or advice do you have for people who consider volunteering?  In particular, how should they choose the organization and how should they decide in what areas of the organization and how much they will help?

We encourage others to consider the fact that Dolls for Daughters helps not just hundreds of people, but thousands.  The event was so well attended, and volunteers get to work directly with the people that need help.  We liked that Dolls for Daughters helped with many needs, and not just toys. 

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2014 Toy Drive Media Alert

Read our media release with details on the 2014 Dolls for Daughters annual toy drive, including drop-off locations. With less than a few weeks left in its annual toy drive, Dolls for Daughters is working to ensure every child has a toy to fulfill his or her Christmas wish. Founder Jessica Bachus is asking the community to help collect another 1,200 toys.

Download the Word Document

Download the PDF

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Laura Bean has supported Dolls for Daughters for three years now and has helped the community really get running.  Her company, One Stop Operations, provides assistance to small businesses working to get on their feet.  So far, they have been able to help Dolls for Daughters with the behind-the-scenes business aspects.  Laura Bean met Jessica Bachus at a networking event, and the two organizations have been linked ever since. 

1. How did you first learn about Dolls for Daughters?

I first learned about Dolls for Daughters when I met Jessica at a Certus Networking event, and quickly aligned myself with her.  I knew immediately that this was a cause I would like to fully support.

2. Why did you decide to offer support to Dolls for Daughters?

I really wanted to help out in any way I could.  I volunteer from time to time at events at fundraisers for Dolls for Daughters, but I extremely enjoy donating my online marketing services to help them get the best online exposure for the organization. 

3. How long has your business supported Dolls for Daughters?  In what ways have you supported Dolls for Daughters?

We have been connected with Dolls for Daughters for the last three years.  Collectively, we provide social media marketing services, email marketing services, graphics design, and google ad campaign management.

4. What is your most memorable experience supporting Dolls for Daughters?

I would definitely have to say that volunteering for the Beer Run was immensely fun.  We poured and passed out hundreds of beers to the runners, and the run donated a large part of the proceeds to Dolls for Daughters.

5. Have you participated in any fundraising events that Dolls for Daughters has held?

As I said, I participated in the Beer Run, and I would absolutely participate in other events that Dolls for Daughters holds.

6. With so many organizations in need of support, what suggestions or advice do you have for other organizations? How might they choose an organization as well as decide the way(s) in which they will help?

Finding an organization that is local and close to you is a great reason to get involved.  That way, you are within close proximity and you can make sure you are making a difference in the community.  I think it is important to join a cause that is close to your heart, and support those who support you.  Jessica Bachus has been my BIGGEST supporter.  And who doesn’t love to put smiles on kids’ faces for Christmas??

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Babette Canacari, also known as “Babs,” met Jessica just after losing her own daughter.  The two connected immediately, and Babs was instantly drawn to Jessica’s work and mission statement.  Ever since, she has invested volunteer time with Dolls for Daughters and completely supported the community, as well as founding her own organization: BRI.  BRI stands for “Breathing Reassurance Into Teens” and focuses on providing hope to kids in any difficult situation.  Babs has done some incredible work for children in both Dolls for Daughters and BRI.

1. How did you first learn about Dolls for Daughters?

I was introduced to Dolls for Daughters just shortly after my daughter died.  At the time, I was starting my own foundation and was introduced to Jessica.  I knew instantly that she was an amazing woman and I wanted to follow her.

2. Some people are drawn to Dolls for Daughers because of their own personal experience, or the experience of someone close to them, similar to Jessica’s.  Why did you decide to volunteer for Dolls for Daughters?

I love helping others, and this is an exceptional cause.  I fully support Jessica 100%.

3. What has touched you most about the work Dolls for Daughters is doing?

It is absolutely priceless to see the childrens’ and families’ faces when Dolls for Daughters makes an impact in their lives.  To know that you are a part of giving these kids a special Christmas is amazing.

4. How long have you been a volunteer with Dolls for Daughters?  What is/are the biggest reasons for staying involved?

I think I have been a volunteer with Dolls for Daughters for just under a year.  I stick with the organization because of Jessica and her mission.  Jessica’s passion for others inspires me to help keep her daughter’s legacy alive.

5. What is your most memorable experience volunteering with Dolls for Daughters?

My most memorable moment is definitely when I helped at the Christmas Toy Drive.  I couldn’t believe the length of time that people stayed in line, especially since it was bitter cold last year.  I got to work the front door, and it was amazing to hear some of the stories these people had.

6. Have you shared your volunteer experience with your friends and family?  What was their reaction?

Yes, I try to promote Dolls for Daughters as much as possible.  They absolutely love the concept of the organization.

7. Have any of your friends or family become Dolls for Daughters volunteers because of it?

While I have not had any of my family or friends become volunteers, I have had some donate toys!

8. With so many organizations in need of volunteers for so many different purposes, what suggestions or advice do you have for people who consider volunteering?  In particular, how should they choose the organization and how should they decide in what areas of the organization and how much they will help?

For me, it always has to do with children, only because of my own personal loss.  My experience mirrors what I do for my foundation.  I would suggest to people that if it hits your heart, then do it.

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Andy Newland has been an enormous supporter of Dolls for Daughters for quite a few years now.  A father to four children of his own, the organization means a lot to him.  Mr. Newland works with Hercules Industries, a company aimed to reduce dependence on non-renewable energy.  By pairing with Dolls for Daughters, he is able to unite two communities both focused on bettering the world.

1. How did you first learn about Dolls for Daughters?

I don’t remember exactly when I was introduced to Dolls for Daughters but I believe it was through a recommendation from friends at NorthWestern Electric.

2. Why did you decide to offer support to Dolls for Daughters?

Any organization supporting underprivileged children has a soft spot in my heart.  I have four children of my own and know what a blessing they are to me.

3. How long has your business supported Dolls for Daughters?  In what ways have you supported Dolls for Daughters?

We have been supporting Dolls for Daughters for probably around five years.  We typically show our support through the annual golf tournament.

4. What is your most memorable experience supporting Dolls for Daughters?

I just received a copy of the book Silly Sally’s Show and Tell.  I brought it home and before I knew it, my seven year old daughter had read it and stated sharing some really neat lessons that she learned.  So, not only has the organization helped less fortunate children but even just the story helps more fortunate children appreciate their blessings.

5. Have you participated in any fundraising events that Dolls for Daughters has held?

I have not personally attended any events but have been happy to participate financially.

6. With so many organizations in need of support, what suggestions or advice do you have for other organizations? How might they choose an organization as well as decide the way(s) in which they will help?

It helps to clearly understand the mission of the organization and to see examples of how the organization is succeeding.  The sustainability and effectiveness of the group is key.

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Kathy and Haidyn Harvey are not strangers to the world of non-profit organizations.  Together, they run The Shoe Crew, a community of people who collect new shoes for children.  Since June 2012, The Shoe Crew has collected over 8,000 new pairs of shoes, acting on the mission statement that no one should have to go a day without comfortable footwear.  Kathy and Haidyn have also been volunteering with Dolls for Daughters for over a year.  After Jessica personally contacted them, they became very involved with the organization.  In the past year, they have been able to combine The Shoe Crew with Dolls for Daughters’ work.

1. How did you first learn about Dolls for Daughters?

We had started a Denver chapter of The Shoe Crew and were just beginning to settle in.  One day, Jessica contacted us and asked if we would be interested in working with her and her organization.  We were thrilled!  We 100% believe that this organization makes such an enormous impact and we were honored to receive her invitation.

2. Some people are drawn to Dolls for Daughers because of their own personal experience, or the experience of someone close to them, similar to Jessica’s.  Why did you decide to volunteer for Dolls for Daughters?

After speaking with Jessica, we knew we would be helping a multitude of children and families in need.  With our organization, The Shoe Crew, we are aware that many kids only receive hand-me-downs or used shoes.  By collecting new shoes and distributing them to the kids, we have seen that just one new pair of well-fitting shoes can put a smile on a child’s face.

3. What has touched you most about the work Dolls for Daughters is doing?

Seeing the joy that Jessica has brought to so many disadvantaged children has been incredibly moving.  Specifically, the annual toy shop was a very emotional and inspiring time for not only Haidyn and myself, but the entire Denver Shoe Crew.

4. How long have you been a volunteer with Dolls for Daughters?  What is/are the biggest reasons for staying involved?

Our involvement with Dolls for Daughters has lasted for a little over a year.  We continue to volunteer for Dolls for Daughters because of the need from so many families and the joy it brings them, as well as us.

 

5. What is your most memorable experience volunteering with Dolls for Daughters?

The experience that stands out the most was the Annual Toy Shop.  When we pulled up to give away our new shoes, all of a sudden we saw hundreds and hundreds of people lined up in subzero temperatures to get Christmas toys for their children.  We had trouble holding back the tears.

6. Have you participated in any of the Dolls for Daughters fundraising events?  If so, which one(s)?

We participated in the Bowlathon!  It was amazing to see the support from the community.  Jessica inspires so many people.

7. Have you shared your volunteer experience with your friends and family?  What was their reaction?

Oh my, yes!  They are all amazed at how many children Dolls for Daughters brings joy to.  The amount of items collected throughout the year is astounding.  Organizations like Dolls for Daughters are able to demonstrate peoples’ innate generosity.

8. Have any of your friends or family become Dolls for Daughters volunteers because of it?

Many have contributed new shoes to Dolls for Daughters and helped us distribute them at the Toy Giveaway in December.

9. With so many organizations in need of volunteers for so many different purposes, what suggestions or advice do you have for people who consider volunteering?  In particular, how should they choose the organization and how should they decide in what areas of the organization and how much they will help?

Commit to what you are able to do and have fun!  Know that everything you are doing is benefitting someone else.  Choose an organization that speaks to you and something you are passionate about.  Volunteer in a way that highlights your skills and strengths.

 

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