Two years ago in February, our twin daughters Maggie and Abby were born.
As identical twins, they had developed a complication called twin-to-twin-transfusion syndrome. They needed to undergo in-utero surgery to try and save them.
The surgery was unsuccessful. The girls had to be born via c-section at only 24 weeks old.
Maggie lived one day. Abby lived two.
As we have dealt with our grief at our daughters’ deaths, we have decided to remember their lives each year by supporting an organization in their honor.
This year we’re inviting you to join us in supporting the Flint Water Fund of the United Way.
When news broke in 2014 of the contamination of Flint’s city water and its horrific impacts on the health of Flint residents, I was devastated – but unsurprised.
I grew up next to Flint. The Flint River winds through my parents’ backyard. Every morning of my childhood, I looked out my window at the river’s sparkling (but unclean) waters.
So the Flint Water Crisis hit home. Literally.
When the world finally paid attention to the problem, it was not shocking to those of us who have long loved Flint. I’d heard rumblings about unclean water for months from friends and family.
Flint is a community with plenty of problems – 40% of its residents live in poverty. Those of us who love the city are used to seeing it misunderstood and maligned in the media.
But the lasting impact of the damage done by this latest crisis is devastating.
When I think of Flint residents whose lives are forever altered because of lead contamination – including not only neurological delays in children but likely decreased fertility, increased miscarriages, and higher rates of infant death – my heart breaks.
Water is a basic need of life. If we don’t help bring clean water to those who thirst, what are we doing?
As a Christian, I’m forever haunted by Matthew 25. It’s the Scripture that shadows each step I take. Whenever I read Jesus’ words, I’m humbled to my knees by how far I still have to grow in my care and compassion for my sisters and brothers in poverty:
“…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)
This fundraiser lets us take a small step in giving drink to the thirsty – even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones.
But Maggie and Abby taught me that the smallest parts of life can make the biggest impact.
. . .
Two years later, we continue to be amazed by the ways in which our daughters’ story has touched people’s lives. So many of you prayed for our family, sent your love in outpourings of support, and gave generously in their honor.
We want to keep giving back, inspired by the love you have shown us.
If Abby and Maggie had lived, Flint would have been a big part of their lives, just as it is for our living children.
100% of the funds raised in this special effort from the United Way will go toward the purchase of water filters, bottled water, support services for those affected, and prevention efforts. This means clean water for kids and families in Flint.
The ones still affected by unsafe water every day while the world’s outrage has moved on.
We hope to raise $5,000 by the twins’ birthday on February 27th. Thank you for helping us to make this goal happen. Any gift you can give – whether $10 or $100 – will go directly to help those in need.
Thank you most of all for your generosity and support in memory of Maggie and Abby.