Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Time flies when you're getting stronger!

Today marks eight weeks since Cady's cord blood was re-infused into her. It's so hard to believe it's already been that long. That means SIXTEEN weeks ago found out she was going to Duke and we embarked on this journey. Wow...time really does fly, huh?

Everywhere we go, people are always asking us how she is doing so I thought now might be a good time to update her followers. But here's the thing: I'm not sure what to say. You see, Cady IS different. She's stronger. She's been trying harder to hold her head up when she is on her belly. She's been "talking" more (still just babble, but a lot more of it with different sounds) and even laughing - a real little 2-year-old giggle, that is. Not the sound she usually makes that's her version of a laugh. Her flexibility has improved, if only slightly.

And she seems to "get it" a lot more than she used to. She seems to understand more than she had and she tries to do the things you ask of her, even if she's not successful. Two months ago if I asked her for a kiss, she'd stare at me blankly or look the other way. Today, she smiles, looks me right in the eye and either reaches for my face or tends to lean my way.

Her actions are more purposeful and directed. When I tell her to give me her hands (something she has understood and attempted to do for months now), instead of passively reaching in my direction as she used to, she actually looks at my hands and shows she is purposefully trying to follow through.

And she seems happier! She's smiling more, less crabby. She enjoys playing with her therapists and when the nurses come to see her, she smiles at them instead of looking away as if to say, "Oh no, not you again."

BUT. (And yes, there is a but.) I can't help but wonder is it the blood? Or is it just her getting stronger? She HAD been making some strides just before the infusion. She was rolling around with greater ease. She had been holding her head up more.

And the answer is.... Who knows?? My gut? My gut says I can't wait to see what the next eight weeks bring!

Here's a recent picture of Cady and her big sister (who is now a kindergartener!!):

Friday, July 24, 2009

A MUCH needed update!

Wow. What an exhausting two months! I'd like to think it's over, but I know it's not. Now comes the thank yous, getting the house back in order and reestablishing routines for the children (all this work in preparing for the trip left things pretty crazy around here).

Before I begin, I want to apologize to all of Cady's followers that this blog has not been updated in weeks. I hope you can all understand why. It seems every time there looked like there was time, something else came up - a few times it was sleep. Much needed sleep.

Before I tell you all about the re-infusion, I want to thank everyone who came to Cady's Car Show July 11. It was a great success, thanks in large part to Officers Lee Sohn and John Rocchio and the Cranston Police Department, Rhode Island Rentals, the Blue Knights, Pete Choquette of Psycho Kustoms, United Water, Scott and Jessie Strumar and Texas Roadhouse Cranston, Melissa Loiselle and Sonia Chopra and the scores of ladies who baked, Danika Morgera, Magician Steven Craig, my wonderful family and friends who are too many to name and, last but not least, DJ Tommy Tunes. I hope I didn't leave anyone out!! Our silent auction wasn't quite as successful, however, and though we did sell a few items, many did not receive even one bid. We will most likely host an online auction to sell the items or save them for future fundraisers. It's my thought we just didn't have the right crowd for an auction.

Here are a few pictures:

I also want to take a moment to thank my sister and brother-in-law, Kerri and Chris and their neighbor Cara for hosting a yard sale July 12. Chris wound up selling the neighbor's Corvette to one of the first people to pass by. The man told the neighbor he'd pay him $5,000 cash, so long as they promised to give $100 of it to Cady. It was an offer they couldn't refuse and when the man then proceeded to place another $100 in Cady's hand, just like that they had raised $200. :)

Our trip to Duke was a lot of fun. We arrived at our hotel Sunday morning a little after noon and had some lunch while Cady napped. (She did great on the planes!) Then visited a local mall where we bought Cady's birthday present: a portable DVD player! Let me just tell you, that thing sure does come in handy! We try not to let the kids watch too much TV, but for Cady, when it's one of the only things she can do that she enjoys, having that DVD player makes life much easier, especially when we are out and she's not in the comfort of our home and around the things she's used to.

Monday morning, Cady's birthday, we headed to Duke for her physical and blood work. Poor girl had to get pricked twice to fill up eight tubes of blood! One vein wasn't enough and pooped out on the LAST tube! I felt so bad for her. She did NOT like having her legs restrained.

But, the rest of the day was a breeze. We went back to the hotel so Cady could eat and nap and at about 3:30 our friends Melanie and son Dylan came to take some birthday portraits. Unfortunately, it was raining so we weren't able to get as many outdoor shots as we would have liked, but Melanie was still able to get some really nice pictures.

After our photo shoot, we headed into downtown Durham where we met with our other friends Amber and her daughters Keaton and Emery at a place called the Mellow Mushroom. They had some fantastic pizza and even as I type this, I am remembering the delicious crust. YUM! We walked around outside by a gigantic water fountain for a bit before we left and Cady liked this. She enjoyed watching the water fall over the edge.

Tuesday was the big day and we woke up nervous, anxious, ready to go... Corey was a nervous wreck because he learned about the possibility of an allergic reaction to the preservative in the blood. (I had already been made aware of this possibility - and I'm pretty sure I told him, though he doesn't recall.) Anyway, only once did this reaction, which can cause respiratory failure, cause Dr. Kurtzberg to stop the infusion, so I wasn't really concerned. Corey on the other hand wouldn't relax until all the blood was in.

We were dressed and ready to go by 9 a.m., except we didn't have to be there until 11:15. What were we to do with ourselves?? We decided to head over to the Duke Gardens and found that a wonderful relaxing way to spend our time. It was beautiful and Cady really seemed to enjoy it.

The process back at the hospital was very easy and before we knew it we were in the room waiting for Dr. Kurtzberg. We were told we'd be spending much of the day waiting, so we were prepared to do a lot of sitting around. I brought a book, C read some magazines and Cady was happy to watch Diego on the wall TV.

A little after 2, Dr. Kurtzberg was ready to do Cady's infusion. The blood was thawed and had arrived and it was only a matter of minutes before Dr. Kurtzberg was inserting the needle into Cady's right arm. She cried for a few moments, but after that was content to just watch the DVD player. As the blood went in, I could feel the Corey's tension slowly start to ease up until he finally realized the blood was in and we had achieved our objective! Cadence's miracle blood was now flowing in her veins!!

The rest of the day was spent waiting some more. After the blood went in, Cady was given an IV for two hours to help push the blood along through her system. We did meet the other families having infusion that day - one traveled all the way from Italy and the other was actually NOT a CP patient, but a victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome who now had Traumatic Brain Injury. I'll tell you more about them in a future post.

We left the hospital at about 6:30 and headed for steaks at Outback before going to the hotel for one more night. Wednesday would bring us back to Duke for a follow-up with the neurologist and to the airport for a 5:40 flight home. However, that didn't really go quite as we had hoped. It turned out that the doctor was TWO HOURS behind schedule and when at 3:20 we still had not been seen, we had to leave in order not to miss our flight home. I felt really bad about this, like I had somehow not held up to my end of the bargain. As this is a experimental procedure, Dr. Kurtzberg would like all patients to be seen by the neurologist after the infusion and again in a year. By missing this appointment, I felt like we were taking away a part of her study.

We did make it to the airport with a few minutes to spare. Much to our delight, the lines at security moved pretty quickly and we were on our way to the gate. Just as we settled into our seats, Cady threw up all over her knitted blanket. It was a good thing I had that resting on her lap! As soon as I cleaned it up, she threw up again! That was NOT fun, however the second flight home was much smoother and finally at about 9:40, we landed in WARWICK (not Providence as it is called).

We've been home for almost a week and everyday at least one person will ask if we've seen any changes yet. We know this is silly since we were told it'd be months before we saw any results, but this morning Corey happily reported to me that he told her, "Cady, say daddy," to which she replied, "Daaa..." Coincidence? Probably, as she had been getting stronger the last few weeks before we left, but it's fun to think she's already making strides.

My wrists are about to fall off, so I'm going to wrap this up for now, but you can be sure I will update as often as I can and definitely will when we have good news to report.
I want to thank you all - again - for caring so much about Cady and following her story. It means more to my family than you can possible imagine.

Hugs to you all,

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Breakfast a huge success!

If you are looking for a list of auction items, click here.

(If this is your first time visiting Cady's Cause, click here to read about why this blog was created.)

We would like to thank everyone who came to the breakfast on Sunday. We had a great turnout and everyone said they the food was excellent and they had a nice time. There were about 160 people who attended (and several more bought tickets but did not come). Combine that with the CLCF baseball players that were there and we couldn't believe Cadence actually fell asleep for the second half of the event! In all, we raised roughly $3,000 (not including the extra donations people made when purchasing their tickets). We can confidently say the breakfast was a huge success and we once again thank all who came and/or donated raffle items. Cady is very lucky to have such wonderful and generous people in her life.

Here are some pictures:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Get your Car Show and Silent Auction details here!

(If this is your first time visiting Cady's Cause, click here to read about why this blog was created.)

Well, we have been mighty busy these last few weeks planning our event for July 11. From creating flyers, spreading the word to classic car owners and gathering items for the silent auction, it seems like we haven't stopped! However, we are excited to finally be able to tell everyone all about the great day we have planned.

But before we tell you all the details, we must first ask your help spreading the word about this event. See the flyer right here? If you click on it, it will bring you to a larger version of the image. Save a copy to your computer, print as many as you can (or let us know if you can't and we can give you some) and give it to as many people as you can. Hang it at your supermarket, ask the manager at your hair salon, stop in the local bakery on the way home and see if they will take a few - ask whomever you can think of to post it at their business. You can also attach it into an e-mail and pass it along that way. Our objective is two-fold: to get as many people as we can to come by, but also to spread the word to classic car owners (as well as show cars and motorcycles). There is no pre-registration (cars and bikes can just cruise in), but there is a $10 entry fee. At the end of the day, one entrant will be chosen to win a FREE Backyard BBQ hosted by Texas Roadhouse! So be sure to spread the word to anyone you know with classic or show cars or bikes.

Speaking of Texas Roadhouse, Scott and Jessie Strumar have agreed to host fundraising nights at their Cranston location July 10, 11 and 12. All you have to do is print the voucher and present it when you buy food on any of these days. And, if you would be so kind as to pass that along to everyone you know as well, we'd be very thankful.

Now, on to the good stuff. Here's what we've got planned so far:

Magician Steven Craig has not only donated a certificate for one of his Sillytime Magic Shows to our Silent Auction, but he will be appearing at the event beginning at 11 a.m. for about an hour. Steven and his wife Darcy heard about Cady through their child's daycare and knew right away they wanted to help. We are very grateful to Steven and Darcy for their generous donations.
Not only that, the kids can have a blast on the Moon Bounce (be sure to wear socks!), get their faces painted and explore police vehicles at the Touch-a-Truck station. There will be a Cranston Police cruiser, the dive truck, SWAT team and the K-9 Unit present. What could be the best part of all has yet to be determined as we are currently trying to get a dive tank and a Cranston Police officer to sit in it. How much money do you think we could raise if people had three chances to Dunk A Cop for $5?? We will be sure to let you know as soon as we know if that will take place.

As we mentioned earlier this week, DJ Tommy Tunes has agreed to come out and play some music for us. Tom, who also does weddings, private parties, backyard functions and other special events, hosts karaoke nights at Fitzpatrick's on Park Avenue in Cranston on Wednesday and Sunday nights, Rosie's on Airport Road in Warwick (formerly Sha-na-na's) on Thursday nights and Meatball Mike's on Friday nights (also in Cranston). If you are out and about on any of these nights, please stop in and say hi. We know he'd love that!

Next up: BAKE SALE! We will be selling all kinds of baked goods including brownies and cakes, chocolate chip cookies. If you'd like to bake something and donate it to the sale, please let us know; we will gladly accept any yummy treats you think others would enjoy.

We will be giving away some great raffle prizes including a grand prize of a NINTENDO WII!!! We are very excited about this fantastic giveaway and can't wait to see who the lucky winner might be. We'll also have lots of other cool stuff including restaurant gift certificates, liquor and gift baskets, certificates for free lobsters and a $50 gas card, just to name a few.

And don't forget about Silent Auction. Bidding will begin right at 10 and will end at 3 p.m. We're still compiling the list and descriptions of items, but once we do, they will be listed

That's all we've got for now, but keep checking back for more news and info.

With Peace and Love,
Friends of Cady

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Silent Auction Items

The following is a list of items for the Silent Auction July 11 at Texas Roadhouse in Cranston:

(Please note: this list will be updated soon with some pictures, greater descriptions of items and possible retail values. We are still compiling this information, but for now, we wanted to get a list of items out to Cady's supporters.)

Hand-crafted Wooden Rocking Horse by Tom Seal of
Bearded Seal Woodcrafts

Painting by Vanessa Guimelli (retail value: $250).

This 15 1/2" X 19 1/2 ", acrylic on canvas, framed and titled "October Trail," was inspired when the artist drove through Scituate, RI on a beautiful autumn day!

Happy Hour Necklace by Lia Sophia made of cut crystals (retail value: $130).

Handmade Bracelet, Earrings and Ring by Melissa Tinnesand of After Sunset Designs. Includes earrings made from Swarovski crytals and sterling silver; stretch ring also made from Swarovski crystals and a green Chinese Crystal stretch bracelet.

Handmade Jewelery by Danielle Colin-Wiertz

Various Bracelets and Necklaces donated by Tanya Weintraub

Autographed Baseball Signed by Red Sox Relief Pitcher Takashi Saito

WWE Wrestling Memorablia
Includes 20th Anniversary Wrestle Mania Framed Commemorative Pin Set; five signed DVDs, a signed copy of the book The Rise and Fall of ECW and autographed photos of wrestler Spike Dudley.

Providence Bruins Gift Pack
Includes 2008-2009 Providence Bruins Yearbook, signed posters, an autographed t-shirt and 4 flex passes for the 2009-2010 P-Bruins season.

Hand-made Baby Clothing and Quilt.
Includes five handmade baby outfits including two pillowcase dresses, pants and a tank top and two dresses with bloomers and a bonnet.

New Mom's Gift Basket (Approx. retail value: $300)
Includes haircut and style, manicure and pedicure, eyebrow threading, mom's
apron, sling, baby girl hair clips, half-hour massage, $50 giftcard to Walter's on the Hill and Bath and Bodyworks lotions.

Sillytime Magic Show with Magician Steven Craig (Retail value: $225)

One Week of Football Camp with Elite Football School (Retail value: $195)

This posting is still in the works and some items are subject to change. Please check back soon.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yard/Bake Sales raises $532 and gets us a DJ for the Car Show/Silent Auction

(If this is your first time visiting Cady's Cause, click here to read about why this blog was created.)

This past Saturday, Bob and Karen Burns (Kelly's aunt and uncle), hosted a yard/bake sale outside their home. From clothes to housewares, chocolate chip cookies to brownies, Cady's family and friends were very generous when donating items to the event. Cousin Josh Beland rose early Saturday morning, loaded a trailer hitched to his Jeep, drove from Seekonk to Cranston and helped the Burnses set up shop on their front lawn.

Speaking of the front lawn, don't you just love the sign Uncle Bob made (above) that was displayed for all to see? Aunt Karen felt it was inappropriate to use the word "suck" with children around. Uncle Bob's response? "What? We teach our children at Fenway to shout, 'Yankees suck!' don't we?" (Sorry Yankees fans.)

~*~*~*~BREAKING NEWS~*~*~*~

We interrupt this post to make the following announcement: Friends of Cady has just learned that Corey, Cady's father, received word this morning that he passed the 4th and final section of the CPA exam. This means Mr. Smartpants, er...we mean Mr. Smith, passed ALL FOUR SECTIONS ON THE FIRST TRY! Congratulations, CMJS!

~*~*~*~ END~*~*~*~

Many friends and family showed up throughout the day and although there were a lot of, shall we say frugal people who refused to pay more than $1 for a $200 barely-used Abercrombie denim jacket (seen here over Cady's right shoulder - Aunt Karen stood her ground and eventually got the $5 asking price), there were many generous people stopping by as well. Some passersby were buying whole cakes and plates of cookies outright and others were giving more than twice the asking price for some items, just to donate to Cady's Cause. In the end, the event raised $532 for Cady and that doesn't include donations placed inside an upside-down water jug. Kathy, Aunt Karen's sister, was the resident haggler and donation pusher of the event. "Don't see anything you like, you can still make a donation right here," became her catchphrase of the day, along with "It's all for charity!"

We also made a new friend! One man stopped by and bought a baseball glove and a few cookies. As Kelly and her mom Donna got to talking to the man, it turned out nearly everyone there knew him somehow. His name is Tommy Falcone, or, as some know him, DJ Tommy Tunes. He went to school with Kelly's parents, aunts and uncles, Kelly's other aunt went to school with his oldest daughter, Kelly went to school with his other daughter, and one of our Friends, Julie Stein, knew him from Fitzpatrick's in Cranston where he hosts karaoke nights! What a small world!

Anyway, we are very pleased to announce that Tom, who also does weddings, private parties, backyard functions and other special events, has agreed to volunteer his time to DJ the Car Show and Silent Auction event July 11 at Texas Roadhouse in Cranston. We are stoked as we hear he is a great DJ and will no doubt do a fabulous job at the event! In the meantime, you can check Tom out at Fitzpatrick's on Park Avenue in Cranston on Wednesday and Sunday nights, Rosie's on Airport Road in Warwick (formerly Sha-na-na's) on Thursday nights and Meatball Mike's on Friday nights (also in Cranston).

Make sure all of your calendars are marked!!

With Peace and Love,
Friends of Cady

Friday, June 19, 2009

The latest news: Cady's vacation, Channel 10's visit and an update on fundraising efforts

(If this is your first time visiting Cady's Cause, click here to read about why this blog was created.)

It's been a while since we've posted anything, so we figured it was about time to update Cady's followers on our fundraising efforts. Many people have been asking how much money we've raised so far, and we are proud to say we passed the $5,000 mark! We are so amazed to see the support from people all around the state, across the country and from as far away as Hawaii (literally - an owner of a Papa John's in the area caught wind of the story and has come forward to offer his help). We know we've said this before, but we truly are humbled by all of the love and support you have all shown Cady.

Earlier this week, Cady took her first vacation when the family packed up the car Sunday morning and headed to Pennsylvania to meet some friends. Cady seemed to enjoy herself as they visited a science center in Harrisburg, spent Monday at Hershey Park and explored the cave at Indian Echo Caverns. She even got to ride a carousel and play in the kiddie pool at Hersehy Park's Boardwalk exhibit.

Then on Tuesday night, the family stopped in New York where they spent the night at their cousins' home in Pearl River. It was nice to visit the Donnellys and when Corey picked up 7-month-old Brooke, he was shocked at how easy she was to hold. He was so used to holding a floppy Cadence, he was literally taken aback by how sturdy and upright the infant was.

After cousin Jeanne treated the family to New York style bagels for breakfast, they headed to NYC for what turned out to be a disastrous trip to the Museum of Natural History. Among other things that made the trip regrettable, Cady threw up all over the museum floor and Corey attempted to clean the mess with a single napkin. Realizing the museum was a bad idea, the Smiths headed home at the worst possible time - rush hour - and only after hitting construction traffic on Connecticut, did they finally make it back to their West Warwick home at 9 p.m.
Throughout the entire getaway, though she was difficult at times, Cady was a real trooper and was easily entertained by the portable DVD player (see picture) when nothing else could do the job. However, at one point during the trip, Kelly commented to Corey how much harder the mini-vacation would have been had they not had the hope of what this procedure could do for Cady to look forward to. The idea of lifelong vacations where Cady wouldn't get to enjoy herself the way the other children had is something they are hoping won't come to fruition.

It's our hope that next year, Cady will be right alongside her brother and sister as they run and play during a summer getaway.

In other news,
Channel 10's Barbara Morse Silva came to the house this morning to see Cady and her family. The station's resident Health Check Reporter, we know Barbara will do a wonderful job getting the word out there about Cady's Cause. Wasting no time, Barbara said the report should air tonight at 5:30, so make sure to tune in. You can watch it online here.

Next, we want to let everyone know about our next fundraising event: a Classic Car Show and Silent Auction at the Texas Roadhouse in Cranston by Rte. 10 on July 11. If you have a classic car or bike, cruise on in anytime between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (Entry fees per vehicle is $10.) We will also be hosting a Silent Auction with some great stuff including a handcrafted wooden rocking horse by Tome Seal of Bearded Seal Woodcrafts, a Backyard BBQ from Texas Roadhouse, a painting by local artist Vanessa Guimelli, autographed Red Sox memorabilia and much more! We are hoping to have things set up for the kids and it's looking like we will have a Cranston firetruck on display, a bounce house set up and free face painting. Les, a barber from GQ Barber Shop, will be cutting hair with all proceeds going to Cady and we will be selling raffle tickets for some great prizes including a Wii as a possible grand prize (we just need to secure this before we can be certain). Check back in the next week or so for more details as we firm up our plans.

Finally, don't forget about the breakfast next Sunday, June 28 at Dave's Bar & Grille from 8 to 10:30 a.m. We still have plenty of tickets for sale, so if you live in the area, get in touch with us for a few. There will be a couple of door prizes given away and raffle tickets will be sold for some great prizes. It's going to be a great time so plan to drag your butts out of bed for a great cause and come meet Cady in person!

Thanks as always for stopping by, and please remember to tell all your family and friends about us!

With Peace and Love,

Friends of Cady

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Know this child will be able...

(If this is your first time visiting Cady's Cause, click here to read about why this blog was created.)

This is Kelly, Cady's mom, writing. I wanted to write to our followers personally because I have a lot of touching things I want to share. These last two weeks have been so amazing for all of us. When we first found out we had to pay for this procedure, I got a pit in my stomach. I never thought for a second we weren't going to do it, but I had no idea what we were embarking on. I feel so blessed to know all of you and I can only hope one day Cady will know each of you to thank you personally. She is a very lucky little girl and the love everyone has given her has, as a parent, been almost too much to bear emotionally. Everyone is pulling for my CadyBug and my husband and I are so grateful for this.

Several people seem to have come out of nowhere to help Cady. I am hesitant to name them because I don't want to single them out and have others feel slighted (because I am just as thankful for all of you), but you all know who you are and I want you to know how appreciative I am for all of your efforts!

Moving on, there's something else I want to share. When Cady was first born, I remember hearing the song Wonder by Natalie Merchant and feeling like it was her song. My cousin Colleen contacted me recently to tell me her son Christian could make a video of Cady that I could then share on YouTube. I envisioned what it might look like and right away I could hear that song playing. I looked up the lyrics and began crying (again - been doing a lot of that these days). The last stanza in particular gets me. You can also watch Natalie sing the song on YouTube.

I have no doubt this procedure is going to help Cady. To what extent, I can't say (obviously), but as I envision her future, I see her surrounded by love and strength, and that to me is what will get her through life.

Hugs to you all!

With love,

Cady's 15 minutes of fame?

(If this is your first time visiting Cady's Cause, click here to read about why this blog was created.)

Cady was featured in the local newspapers this week! A wonderful reporter named Meg Fraser spoke to the family last Friday and did a very nice job telling Cady's story.

However, we aren't sure her 15 minutes are up just yet. Lots of exciting things are happening. First off, Channel 6 reporter Julie Ruditzky called the Smith house yesterday expressing interest in doing a story and last week Kelly contacted health-check reporter Barbara Morse-Silva from NBC-10; she wrote back saying she'd like to get something together this month.

There's more, but we aren't ready to share just yet, so let's just say RI legislators are getting involved! Cady could become a part of state history!

Here's the story below, but you can also click here to see it online.

Study offers hope to 2-year-old Cady
by Meg Fraser

When Kelly Smith started chronicling her experiences as the mother of a child with cerebral palsy, she had no idea the connections she was making could potentially change her life.

On parenting message boards and social networking sites like Facebook, Smith – a former Herald reporter and Cranston native – updated her friends about Cadence, who was born with CP due to a knot in the umbilical cord that she tugged on, depriving her of oxygen. Though she is nearly 2 years old now, Cadence cannot walk, talk or sit up on her own and requires constant care, including being fed through a feeding tube.

“Obviously we want more for her,” Smith said.

Several months ago, it seemed Smith’s prayers had been answered when she heard about an experimental study at Duke University that has shown promising results during trials. The procedure involves infusing children with their own cord blood in hopes of regenerating cells and reversing brain damage.

“Brain damage is irreversible is what we’ve always been told,” she said, explaining that what she read dealt her the shock of her life. “I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but what I found amazed me.”

In one trial case, a 3-year-old boy with cerebral palsy saw significant improvements within eight months of the infusion. Smith acted quickly to apply and immediately let her Internet community know about the study.

Within hours she was inundated with questions from around the country, many from people she has never met or has not seen in years. One blast from the past was a former Cranston High School West classmate who, as it turned out, had spent her post-graduate career at Duke. She contacted a professor there who put Smith’s name in the right hands.

What came next was the opportunity the Smith family has waited for – the e-mail accepting Cady as a candidate.

“I was crying. I couldn’t believe it,” Smith said.

She wasn’t celebrating for long. As she learned more of what the procedure entailed, Smith was dealt another blow when a Duke nurse informed her Cady’s participation would cost the family anywhere from $10,000 to $14,000.

“You could have knocked me over with a feather,” she said, explaining that insurance will not pay for any of the costs associated with the trial. “They don’t cover any experimental or investigative drugs or treatments, so that’s out.”

Looking at her daughter last week, though, Smith said she’ll do whatever it takes.

“I believe in my heart that it will help her,” she said.

To help fund the procedure, the Smith family has already set up an account for the cause and is in the beginning stages of organizing several fundraisers. The details have not yet been ironed out, but they are looking at a breakfast and raffle as potential options. Kelly started a blog to keep her supporters in the loop and turned to a source that hasn’t let her down yet – the Internet.

“People I haven’t seen in 16 years have been e-mailing me. All my friends from around the country want to help and it’s unbelievable,” she said.

Help is coming from New York to Nevada and everywhere in between. A message board connection from Nebraska was talking about the story when the woman’s 11-year-old daughter, Emily, chimed in that she was going to run a lemonade stand.

“Especially in this economy, to see how people are coming together to help my daughter is so humbling,” Smith said.

A mother of two other youngsters, 5-year-old Callia and 3-year-old Kiefer, Smith works nights to help support her family and stays home during the day while her husband Corey is at work. She said she is incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support and also for having the chance to help her “Cady bug” today. Banking cord blood costs about $2,000 and was too expensive when the Smiths started having children. When the time came to have Cady, Kelly thought twice.

“Something just told me you need to do this,” she said. “After this is all said and done I fully intend to create a foundation that will grant women who are pregnant with the money to bank their baby’s cord blood.”

Kathy Rubinstein, RN, applauded that decision Friday as she cared for Cadence in the Smith home.

“You only get that chance at birth. For some reason Rhode Island doesn’t promote it so much, but we need to,” she said.

Rubinstein also praised the family for their dedication to caring for Cady.

“These parents deserve gold medals. It’s incredible the sacrifices they make,” she said. “Something like this would be a miracle.”

Cadence needs to be at Duke for observations and tests by July 19, with the procedure taking place on July 21 –the day after her second birthday. Holding her sister’s hand as she reads a book aloud, Callia sounds much older than 5 as she talks about cord blood and why she wants to see Cadence get better.

“It’s going to help her walk and run and talk and play. I can show her things and she could walk by herself,” she said, pausing before adding, “Cadence is a good little sister.”

To read more about the Smith family’s journey, visit Cady's blog at www.cadyscause.blogspot.com. Donations can be made to Friends of Cadence Smith, c/o Greenwood Credit Union, 2669 Post Road, Warwick, R.I. 02886.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Breakfast flyer is done!

(If this is your first time visiting Cady's Cause, click here to read about why this blog was created.)

Thank you to Kelly Brandon-Epps for helping Cady's mom with the flyer. Kelly (Cady's mom) was having a hard time getting her creative juices flowing, so she enlisted in the help of the other Kelly to finish the job. We think her finished product is GREAT! Here it is to the left. Click on the flyer to see it bigger and/or copy and save it to pass along to your family and friends.

Also, we are starting to think we could surpass the 200 ticket limit we've been given by Dave's, so if you come across anyone who would like to buy a ticket even though they can't come to the breakfast, please ask them to make this clear so we can sell as many as we can without bringing in more than 200 people into the building.

Thank you again for all of your support! It has been invaluable and we know we'd never have been able to do it without all of you!

With Peace and Love,
Friends of Cady

P.S. We've got more events in the works, so be sure to check back soon to learn more! Hint: If you live in the area, don't make plans for July 11 just yet.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Save the date! Breakfast set for June 28!

(If this is your first time visiting Cady's Cause, click here to read about why this blog was created.)

Finally! We've been working for almost two weeks to set a date and place for Cady's fundraising events and we are happy to say we finally set our first one. On Sunday, June 28, from 8 to 10:30 a.m., we will be hosting a Fundraising Breakfast with a Raffle at Dave's Bar & Grille on Post Road in Warwick, RI. So tell all your family and friends and all your family and friends' family and friends. And then tell them to do the same. We only have 24 days to sell the 200 tickets, so let's spread the word! Tickets will be $15 per person and must be purchased in advance so we can be sure to have enough food. Kelly will be working on a flyer tomorrow with all the details and will get it out to as many of you as she can to pass on to your family and friends.

Thanks for your support!

With peace and love,
Friends of Cady

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Getting the word out

(If this is your first time visiting Cady's Cause, click here to read about why this blog was created.)

Today Kelly forwarded a link to this blog to about 450 people. From family and friends who know all about Cady's Cause, to people she e-mailed once or twice for a business reason, the word got out to a wide variety of people. If you are one of those people stopping by because you received the e-mail or have seen links on facebook, to you we say thank you for coming to see what we are all about. We feel it is important to reach as many people as possible and even though we haven't solidified a date for Cady's fundraiser (we are *this* close), the more people who know about it and follow these blog posts, the better off we'll be when the time comes. Therefore, we ask all of you to keep spreading the word and ask those you tell to do the same. Donate your facebook status, tweet about it on Twitter, write a letter to your rich Uncle Lester - whatever it takes! This little girl's life is about to change and when it does, we can all sit back and know we did something to make that happen!
And don't forget, if you prefer to send checks instead of donating online you can do so by sending your check to (also made payable to): Friends of Cadence Smith, c/o Greenwood Credit Union, 2669 Post Rd., Warwick, RI, 02886. (EIN is 27-0262742.)

Here's Cady this past Sunday with her friend Peter.

Buy some great photographs AND help Cady at the same time.

(If this is your first time visiting Cady's Cause, click here to read about why this blog was created.)

Cady has a great friend in Melanie Smith (no relation). A photographer in North Carolina, Melanie came up with a great way to contribute to Cady's Cause. Over the weekend, Mel went around town and snapped a bunch of photos of the landscaping and whatever else caught her eye. She is in the process of uploading them all on to her Web site and will sell prints to anyone who wants them. Then, all proceeds wil go into Cady's account. We want to thank Mel for doing this for Cady and if you happen to live in the area, she will also donate the proceeds from any photo shoot requested in Cady's name. You can check her out at www.rethinkreal.com.

Also, in case you haven't noticed, we have added a donate online button. Help us spread the word by telling everyone you know about this site and Cady's Cause!

Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy!

(If this is your first time visiting Cady's Cause, click here to read about why this blog was created.)

Since Cady can't walk, or even really sit up, she needs to get exercise somehow. So for her it's all about the jumping. She's gets in this thing and mom shouts, "Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy," and Cady goes hog wild. Check it out:

Chloe's Story

(If this is your first time visiting Cady's Cause, click here to read about why this blog was created.)

Some people have been asking what exactly this treatment is all about and what it can do for Cady. That's when we tell them about Chloe. Go ahead and watch; we'll be here when you get back.

Amazing, isn't it? And that's just one example. There's also the story of Dallas and Ryan and...well, we could go on, but you get the point. (Anyone ineterested in reading further can do a Google search for Dr. Kurtzberg and find more info.) After reading about the recovery these children made, Kelly and Corey knew there was no way they couldn't do this for Cady Bug.

We think you'll agree.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Think outside the box

(If this is your first time visiting Cady's Cause, click here to read about why this blog was created.)

As we continue to plan for Cady's trip to Duke, two events seem to be shaping up. We are looking at the possibility of hosting a Silent Auction Breakfast and a Classic Car Show (two different dates and places). We will conduct a raffle at each of these events and, in addition, we are also going to put together a calendar raffle which will be sold at these events and during our travels.

With all of this in mind, it goes without saying that we need lots of goods, services and gift certificates to use for each of these raffles and the auction. We have some supporters asking their family and friends with businesses for donations, but others have asked us what they can do. How can they can help? That's where we suggest everyone start thinking outside of the box. Maybe you are obsessive about cleaning and could donate 2 hours of free house cleaning or would your teenage daughter who loves kids be willing to donate a night of babysitting? Are you a direct sales consultant for a place like Wildtree Herbs, Mary Kay or Home & Garden? If so, you might be able to set up a booth at our car show (know anyone with a classic car?) for a Cash and Carry event, donating your commission to Cady's Cause. (This would also be a great way to promote your business.) Perhaps you or someone you know does nails and can offer $10 manicures. Give it some thought and see what you can come up with!

Also, once the raffles are ready to go and the events have been planned, we are going to need volunteers to help sell the raffle tickets and tickets to the breakfast, find businesses willing to post flyers, and, of course, spread the word about these events. All this planning won't do us much good if no one shows up!

Cash donations are of course welcomed and appreciated.
They can be made by sending your check to (also made payable to): Friends of Cadence Smith, c/o Greenwood Credit Union, 2669 Post Rd., Warwick, RI, 02886. (EIN is 27-0262742.) You can also donate online by clicking the "Donate" button at the top of this page.

Thanks for your support!

With peace and love,
Friends of Cady

Friday, May 29, 2009

The beginning of a new beginning?

(If you already know Cady's story, or have a short attention span, skip to the end of this post for info on how you can help Cady.)

Born to parents Kelly and Corey Smith, Cadence was born on July 20, 2007 with Meconium Aspiration Syndrome and spent her first 12 days of life on oxygen. While recovering from this, the nurses began to notice things were not right with her. She lacked certain reflexes, was unresponsive in some areas and had very poor muscle tone. The doctors knew a knot had been discovered in her umbilical cord at birth and they began to suspect the knot had been tugged before birth, cutting off the oxygen to her brain.

An MRI confirmed their suspicions, as it showed there was damage to a part of her brain called the thalamus. Kelly and Corey were told there was no prognosis and they would have to wait and see how she developed. Soon after this diagnosis, they received more bad news. They were having a hard time getting her to drink her bottles so a swallow study was performed. It revealed that Cadence was silently aspirating her formula and she was no longer allowed to be bottle fed. A feeding tube was placed in her belly and once she recovered from this surgery she was allowed to go home. She was there for just about six weeks.

Skipping ahead to today, Cady, who turns 2 in July, cannot walk or talk, hardly ever laughs, has difficulty using her hands and can't even sit up or hold her head up regularly. It is believed that cognitively she's all there, as she smiles a lot, recognizes people and places, has her favorite television shows and enjoys listening to music. However, as we are sure anyone would agree, this is not enough.

We want Cady to flourish, be all she can be. We want her to talk to us, tell us her wants and needs. We want to see her run (or at least walk) alongside her siblings. We want to hear her laugh. Her family wants to have her join them for dinner each night and enjoy the same foods they do. Kelly and Corey want to hear her say, “I love you, mommy and daddy.”

By the time Cady hit the 18-month mark, it seemed like she wasn't going to get much better. A bath chair and then a wheelchair soon arrived, as did a special chair for her to use around the house. Though she had been given the okay to eat some soft foods at four months old, a swallow study in March revealed she was once again aspirating her food. She was put back to a strict g-tube diet and we felt like she had regressed. Kelly and Corey started to accept that her disability is profound and she is going to require lifelong care.

But there's good news! Shortly before Cadence was born, her parents made the decision to bank her umbilical cord blood. They had no idea about the knot, but something told them they had to do this. Kelly and Corey believed Cadence (their third and unexpected child) was their last chance to bank some cord blood that might one day save her life or that of one of her siblings. It turns out that it might instead give her a life.

Earlier this year, Kelly received a letter from the company they used to bank Cady's blood. It said that the bank was teaming up with Duke University in North Carolina to conduct clinical trials on children with Cerebral Palsy (Cadence's official diagnosis is Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy). The doctor doing the research is infusing children with CP with their own umbilical cord blood in the hopes that the stem cells in the blood will regenerate brain cells and essentially reverse the brain damage.

At first Kelly and Corey didn't think a whole lot about the study. They thought it was a good idea to take part in it, but they weren't expecting anything to come of it. From what we all knew, brain damage is irreversible, but if some researcher at Duke was attempting to prove otherwise, they thought they'd like to help her. However, what they soon found out was that this procedure has been done more than 100 times already and in many cases, it has worked to some degree! Children across the country are talking, walking, heck even running because of this treatment! One little boy was proclaimed free of his CP eight months after the infusion!

Kelly and Corey were astonished and excited, anxious and guardedly optimistic when they learned this. Kelly became aggressive about getting Cady in the trial and finally, after three months of e-mails and a ton of waiting, they got the news May 20 that Cady will have the infusion! They go to North Carolina in July and will be in a clinic at Duke on her second birthday. Probably not much of a birthday for her, but as far as we are all concerned, there is no better gift.

However, Kelly and Corey also learned that the procedure costs between $10,000 and $14,000. We were all shocked to hear this news because we were under the impression that because it is a clinical trial, they will be covering the costs. Had we had known, we would have begun planning for this much sooner. Because the procedure is considered experimental, insurance companies are not paying for it.

So what do we do? Raise the funds, of course! We are in the process of planning several community events, possibly to include a Breakfast for Kids, a Classic Car Show and a Silent Auction Dinner. We've been working non-stop to plan these events and any help is appreciated.

If you'd like to help, there are several ways you can:

1) Make a cash donation by sending your check to (also made payable to): Friends of Cadence Smith, c/o Greenwood Credit Union, 2669 Post Rd., Warwick, RI, 02886. (EIN is 27-0262742.) You can also donate online by clicking the "Donate" button at the top of this page.

2) As we are conducting several raffles, as well as a silent auction, many donations are needed, whether they be gift certificates, gift baskets or other products. These can be sent to Kelly Smith, 4 Prospect St., West Warwick, RI 02893 or if you live locally, arrangement can be made to pick them up. If you live out of state, you may send goods or gift certificates that can be redeemable online.

3) You can help us gather donations, whether they be cash or raffle/silent auctions items. Maybe you own a business or you know someone who does. Or perhaps you are just good at getting people to give you free stuff. If you think you can help, e-mail us at ksmith1027 @ gmail .com. (This address have been broken to prevent spammers from finding it.)

Thanks for reading this and any help you can give. Check back for up-to-date information about this community effort. Together we can give Cadence a wonderful opportunity for health and happiness. :)

With peace and love,
Friends of Cady