"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" - Jeremiah 29:11

MY STORY

One of the most common questions I get on this journey for Heaven’s Hope is, “Where did this idea come from?” Upon being pioneers of an endeavor like this in our state, I understand this is a new concept for most people. If I were to trace it back to when the seed was first planted, it would be around 1996 when I was a candy-striper at McLeod Regional Medical Center. During the summer, I put on that striped jumper and volunteered in the PICU where my mother worked. It was then that I was able to spend a lot of time playing with a little boy named JJ who lived in the unit. He came into the unit around 9 months old, very ill. Due to the effects of the illness, his mother was unable to take him home. Because of this, he simply lived in PICU. The nurses who cared for JJ treated him like their own. Under the personal care of these nurses, he was given toys and clothes, taught how to walk, and was potty trained.

When JJ turned 3 years old, it was decided that he needed to go to a home that was able to care for his needs, a place where he could grow and thrive. The problem was this type of home didn't exist in South Carolina, and doesn't to this day. It was decided he would go to a Children's Home in North Carolina. As a young teen, I was so upset to see him leave the hospital where he was so loved and cared for to go to a home in another state. My mother and I, along with several of the nurses, traveled to visit him and to make sure he was settled in and happy. I was so impressed with the children's home. Medically fragile children were able to play and have fun despite their physical limitations.

This is my heart for our children's home! JJ was able to eventually live with his mother, go to public school, and attend prom. He was also able to have one of his paintings displayed in the Smithsonian. JJ’s life is a testament to what a loving, skilled caregiver and a warm home environment can do for a child.

I have known for the greater part of 20 years that one day I would be the director of a children's home. It is a dream and a passion that I feel in my bones. Every month I would donate and support local children's homes, knowing that seeds were being planted and that one day it would be my turn. I have worked in a children's home and became a PICU nurse; I have been in training for this day!

During my time in PICU, God brought to me a core group of five like-minded professionals who I affectionately call, “The Originators.” The five of us have a heart and a passion to see a change in the services and care provided to our medically fragile children and their families in our community. The journey in making this dream a reality does have its mountains to climb. There are many things that go into making something of this magnitude work successfully. With God leading the way through this entire process, I have full confidence that He will continue to lead us to the right people and make every single detail fall into place.



"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future - Jeremiah 29:11"


- Rachel Lee