It all started in May 2017 when Kirby sparked a 103 temp at daycare. We rushed her to the ER and left with a diagnosis of a bilateral ear infection. Two days later we were back in the ER. Except this time we didn't get to go home. Kirby was medivac to the nearby PICU. The crazy thing is Kirby never had an abnormal well-baby checkup and never showed signs of being this sick. After 17-days in the hospital, our spunky, little 2-year-old was diagnosed with Renal Tubular Acidosis and Diabetes Insipidus. It turns out her condition is genetic (mom likely carries the gene) and signs typically don't reveal itself until between the age of 2-3.
Kirby has profound hearing loss in both ears and her speech regressed. Our new normal involved routine weekly doctor visits 160 miles away, speech therapy, multiple feedings a day and tons of meds via her g-tube.
Thus, The Kirby Project was born.
Our mission is three-fold:
1) Aim to bring comfort, compassion and a smile to kids battling life-threatening illnesses.
Prior to getting sick, Kirby and I played dress up every morning. Hair accessories are her favorite. Watching her lay helpless in the hospital bed was heartbreaking. But our morning routine didn't change. We continued to dress up and play with hair accessories every morning simply because it made her smile.
For every hair accessory sold, one is donated to children's hospitals all across America. Our goal for The Kirby Project is to donate to every single children's hospital in the U.S within the next three years. We're united in our belief that all kids battling illnesses always appreciate smiles no matter where they are. As they battle for their lives, they want like any other child, a sense of normalcy and to laugh and live as freely as they can despite the circumstances.
2) Inspire a lifelong love of learning, language and good food. The one thing Kirby loves more than dress up is cooking. "Cooking with Kirby" is a hands-on edible education You Tube series designed to build family bonds and encourage children’s learning, language, thinking, problem-solving, and creativity while inspiring healthy eating habits. Each episode features a different recipe that children can learn to make themselves and a language building lesson plan. Our first episode will air in July 2019.
3) Raise money to help support children and families with hearing loss. Learning that your child has hearing loss is often unexpected. The cost of hearing loss is expensive, even with health insurance. The cost of ear molds, routine testing, traveling to and from doctor visits, the batteries and accessories, etc. The expenses add up quick. Some insurances don't cover hearing devices at all. We never knew any of this. And we're just starting to see states improve legislation for health coverage. This is why we expanded our scope to offer more ways to help those in need.
Want to get involved? Send us a message and tell how you want to contribute. You can also contribute to one of our fundraisers or donate a percentage of your purchase total to support.