We recently packed up the car and headed down to Bloomington, Indiana for another VIPS-Bloomington Play and Learn (PAL) get together. Originally, I was supposed to tap into my inner domestic goddess self and take a sewing class with a girlfriend, but I was feeling the need to be around my people. We hadn’t seen Ann Hughes in months as Lola’s vision continuously improves and what better way for Lola to spend an afternoon then listening to songs, seeing her little friends, enjoying the crisp outdoor air and of course…playing in the ball pit.
The wonderful thing about these PAL events is that you walk into a room full of people that get it. This is our time to take down the protective barrier and simply be. We share inchstone stories and we celebrate them as we understand the hard work that went into the child achieving them. We eagerly explain new therapies that may be working and offer support when we realize that perhaps the therapy wasn’t a fit after all. We talk about insurance debacles and which seizure medication seems to be working the best. We exchange doctor praises as well as woes. We write down the good ones and we highlight the ones to stay away from. We offer congratulatory applause when a VIPS child ages out and we hug mamas tightly to reassure them that all will be good. As much as our children love PAL…we, as parents, do too.
Its been amazing to see the PAL group expand as I can remember when there were just a few of us families. Over time the groups have gotten bigger and while we are ecstatic to welcome a new family, it is also a reminder that VIPS-Bloomington is helping more and more blind/visually impaired children. Their name is starting to get out in the Indiana community as they are the only organization that helps the young blind/visually impaired population, but they can only continue to help families like ours if they get adequate funding. As of right now, VIPS-Bloomington gets NO state funding so they rely on grants as well as private donations. I know I repeat myself often about how much VIPS has changed our lives, but I truly mean it. Rob and I were solely relying on the internet in regards to Lola’s vision impairment. Even her doctors and therapists couldn’t help us wrap our heads around what she was dealing with. It was the moment when Ann Hughes walked in that we finally had that ahhhhhh moment. For the first time in the almost year we knew Lola had a vision impairment, we were finally beginning to understand it. And that is all because of VIPS-Bloomington.
For all that VIPS has given us, I only wish we could give back in return. So I use this blog to get the information out there in hopes that someone reading can help. If I had all the funds in the world, I would ensure that VIPS-Bloomington lives on long past my years. I’m committed to knowing that other kids like Lola will have access to the invaluable resources VIPS provides. If you would like to donate to VIPS-Bloomington or if you have any leads on getting this organization funding, then please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.