#BenefitNate - Supporting a Cousin with Crohn's

I have been a terrible blogger since I've moved back to Austin, and more recently, I haven't blogged ALL. SUMMER. But that doesn't mean I haven't been keeping myself plenty preoccupied with life or that I don't have TONS of awesome things I'd like to share with you.

Right now, I want to share a story about a cousin (my age) who has been dealing with something that I (or almost anyone) cannot even begin to comprehend. My cousin Nathan was diagnosed with Crohn's in 2008. It answered the question to problem A he was having, but along with it came problem B, and C, and D and so on. Here we are SIX years later, and Nathan just can't catch a break, literally. He was admitted into the hospital in July of 2013 and remained in the hospital until this past June, 11 MONTHS, on a feeding tube, while the doctors attempted to close a hole in his esophagus. Home for less than two months this summer, Nathan was admitted back into the hospital last week, with some feeding tube complications... and still with a hole in his neck. And sadly, tomorrow is his 26th birthday, another birthday he'll have to spend in the hospital. He'll also have be cooped up there while his friends and family (and the entire community) gather together in Ennis to support him and my aunt and uncle, who have both been more than directly involved in this illness.

First, Nathan's full story can be read online at youcaring.com/benefitnate. Take the time to read it, and it'll put life into a little perspective.

Second, on the website, if you're able, you can donate toward the family's medical debt and associated needs. Anything helps. Remember, Nathan has been sick and in the hospital for a LONG time, and he isn't conveniently sick in his own bed. The family has been commuting 45 minutes to Dallas non-stop, and the hospital room doesn't have a nifty full-size kitchen. Gas and food expenses are a beast of their own. Not to mention, my uncle is a contractor, which means time spent with Nathan is time not spent working. He also has been in the hospital himself recently, which has only added fuel to the fire.

Third, we're hosting a benefit in honor of Nathan this Saturday, 8/9, to help raise funds for the family. Our goal is $50,000, and I truly have faith that once this is all said and done, we can do it!

Fourth, helping host this benefit has been both a selfless AND selfish experience for me. Selfless because no matter how much time and effort I've poured into this (which has been no small feat, especially from afar), it's not enough. I can't physically be with the family or at the hospital, now due to living in Austin, so I feel like assisting in coordinating the benefit is the absolute least I can do for the family. Selfish because I legitimately love coordinating this stuff, like a job, and collecting tons of auction items is so much fun, like Christmas (even though I get to keep none of it). I've also gotten to work on some really great projects for the auction (that I may or may not eventually add to my Etsy shop... practice run?). And I've garnered enough content for about 20 post-benefit blog posts, but let's be real, it's HIGHLY unlikely that will happen.

Fifth, here are some of the cool things I've been working on.

Czech flag made of painted newspaper on canvas.

Made in Texas, Jak se Mas and Lions spirit wood signs

Pallet wine rack (props to the husband on this one)

Round TWO Texas pallet art piece... love almost just as much as the first!

Lots of designing for framed entry table signs

Sixth, I've come to realize how truly blessed I am. And if I feel this blessed, I know Anna and Larry and Nathan must feel super blessed. We are part of SUCH an amazing community. The outpouring support has been overwhelming, and I am really just so thankful for everyone and everything. It's times like these that make me realize how lucky we all are.

#BenefitNate #WeBelieve #LetsDoThis


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