Just over two weeks ago, Bryan's Uncle Mike was killed in a car accident. Our Aunt Acacia is still in the hospital recovering and is doing better everyday. Bryan's mom, was able to go down to Texas to be with our 5 cousins for two weeks. Her and Aunt Lori worked so hard watching after the kids and taking care of many details.
Kelli and I were able to set up a Carringbridge site for the family and a gofundme site to raise money. It felt good to be able to help since the family is in Texas, so far away. Bryan and I wanted to do more. The idea didn't come till Jade Stellmon created a Facebook event for our friend Ryan Ricks. Ryan was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer at age 30. He is now at the end of that battle and was needing help paying for his hospice care. That's when we decided to do a Lemonade Stand in honor of Bryan's Uncle Mike, and give all the funds to Ryan Ricks.
We began posting a few things on Facebook to let others know. Then it grew and grew. From a lemonade stand it went to a Lemonade Stand/Bake Sale, then to a Lemonade Stand/Bake Sale/Silent Auction.
I give all credit to our Heavenly Father. As we prayerfully went about organizing this event, we were led by the Holy Ghost, not knowing before hand the things which we should do. We knew that Heavenly Father was helping us in this righteous endeavor. He loves the Ricks family so much, and wanted them to feel financially secure.
It was a Tuesday that we decided to do this, and the event was that Saturday. With in three days we had volunteers, dozens of bake sale donations, silent auction donations, and a free radio spot!
When Saturday came it was cold and raining. Bryan asked me if I was worried I said, "No, my faith is stronger than my fear." (Put Your Trust in the Lord- Elder Ballard) We continued to set up as planned. The day went so well! We were overwhelmed by the amount of love and support that came our for Ryan and LeAnna.
-Marianne Kunzler and Family
-Cierra Owens and Family
-Nigel and Jenna
-Kelli Foutch and family
-Rent A Center
-Village Center Cinemas
-North West Beauty
-Strategy and Games
-Smokey Mountain Pizza
-Bull Country Radio
My girls loved being apart of this. They helped me all week by gathering items, shopping, putting up fliers, making signs, setting up, and helping at the fundraiser. They made him cards and wrote his name, Ryan Rex. (Ryan got a good kick out of that!) Even after the fundraiser the girls would find money around the house and say, "Mom! I want to give this to Ryan Rex!"
After the fundraiser was over, at about 8:30pm the Sister Missionaries showed up to help me clean my house. They did the dishes, swept, and mopped my floors. It was a huge tender mercy from Heavenly Father. I needed their help dearly!
Bryan stayed up till 3am that next morning working on a video for Ryan, LeAnna, their family, friends, and for all the volunteers who helped.
When we started this all with the idea of doing a Lemonade Stand with our girls, we were hoping to at least get $100. Heavenly Father had a far better number in mind, so as we went forward with things, he led the way and helped us raise more than enough.
In LeAnna's own words:
"On a slightly brighter, more secular note, we've gratefully received the many donations from all of you. And thanks to these, I've just recently been able to pay off every one of Ryan's outstanding medical bills with much to spare. We haven't been able to feel this financially liberated in 5 years. Our only expense now is his ongoing end-of-life care which is (thankfully) well-covered by our insurances. Thank you all for everything you've done for us. We are forever indebted to your generosity."