We all know how a note or a card can brighten a day. When we are going through tough times, we feel isolated and alone, but knowing someone is thinking of us can be such a blessing. Having a child in the hospital is one of life’s times when you feel helpless, alone, and uncertain. No matter the reason or diagnosis, having a sick child of any age throws life into a tailspin. You would do anything to bring a smile to your child’s face and to know that you, as a parent, aren’t alone in your worries. As a means to brighten the days of the children in hospitals, Ashton Vest and her four children began giving out cards through a group they formed called “Kage’s Kards,” named after Ashton’s four-year-old son, Kage, who has spent a lot of his life in the hospital.
A Little Boy Born to Make a Difference
From the moment Kage was born, he had health issues. Life began with severe jaundice and digestive issues. As time went on, Kage wasn’t able to hold himself up and was delayed in his crawling. Before he had his first birthday, he was hospitalized multiple times for RSV and pneumonia. Physicians assured Kage’s mom, Ashton, that Kage was fine, just delayed in his development. It wasn’t until Kage’s two-year check-up that his current pediatrician realized it was very apparent that things weren’t fine with Kage.
“We received a referral to a wonderful Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician, Dr. Nutt, and he has been essential in our fight for answers and a diagnosis. After many tests, therapy, visits to various specialists, including genetic testing, Kage was diagnosed with Noonan Syndrome, explaining a lot of his behaviors and issues along with Chiari Malformation of the skull. After decompression surgery on the brain in August 2019, Kage’s speech greatly improved, his headaches subsided, and there were feeding and movement improvements,” recalled Ashton. With ongoing two steps forward, followed by one step back, Kage has become an inspiration not only to his family, but to others he’s met along the way, beginning with a family in the ICU waiting room.
“As a mom to a child with special needs, I am very familiar with waiting rooms and how they are the last places you want to be, and what a simple act of kindness can do in these dreaded places. Once when Kage was dropping off Valentines at the hospital, he gave a family a card, and they invited him to share some brownies they had. It was in that moment that we realized the big difference a card could make, so Kage’s Kards began. We now have a ton of local support with the YMCA of Yadkinville, Yadkinville Elementary, Yadkinville UMC, Hillsdale Baptist Preschool, Hillsdale Church, Sunrise UMC, and Smart Start of Davie and Yadkin Counties receiving handmade cards to give out to children in hospitals. We’re doing monthly donations, having given cards to Brenner and Chapel Hill; our April cards will be given to Duke Children’s Hospital and May’s cards will be delivered to the Ronald McDonald House for moms on Mother’s Day and parents. On the delivery days, I load up the kids, and we make our visits. Kage has become somewhat of a superhero with his Kage’s Kards crew,” Ashton said.
In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to close yourself off and focus on what you and your family need, but by looking outside your immediate circle, you can touch others with the smallest of things, like a smile, a hug, or a card. For Kage Vest and his family, connecting with others began in the simplest of ways.
For more information on Kage’s Kards, or to order e-cards, visit https://kageskards.pixpa.com/home.