Monday, April 27, 2015

A Business with Heart, Littlest Warrior

I "met" Michelle of Littlest Warrior the way that I have met so many lovely people that I admire... through stalking the nets! Some people, I am fortunate enough to meet in person, due to convenient geographical distance but others, I have to depend on words and photos to paint a picture of their personalities. I found Michelle and her family through their Instagram account via Nothing Down About It, a blog about one Mom's new journey having a child with Down Syndrome. Oakley's little Welles was wearing a Littlest Warrior tee in an recent Instagram post. The tee said "Be Kind" with the words spelled out in graphic letters but also sign language. Spreading joy, awareness and inclusion, one rad tee at a time... now that sounded like something I could get my arms around for a big hug. Fast forward to about an hour (and a few touched tears) later, clicking through Instagram photos, bouncing back and forth between Michelle's account and all her dear, sweet, empowered supporters. I was like "Man, the Internet can be amazing."

I bought one of the "Laughter is my Favorite Medicine" tees even though I was on a self imposed spending ban. From what I could tell, all the designs sell out fast and I didn't want to miss the opportunity to support her brand new business and show people that I wanted my family to be one that represents kindness, inclusion and joy... but wait, I couldn't stop there. I needed to help get Littlest Warrior out to a few more people, because I know that with one person telling another, good things have a tendency to spread. I emailed Michelle (because meeting up in Orange County was out of the question) and discovered she is pretty much my new favorite person. Here are a few reasons why:

Her one year old son is her biggest hero: 

Eli is my biggest hero after all that he's been through and is the inspiration for Littlest Warrior. We found out when I was 20 weeks pregnant that Eli had a heart defect and his intestines were blocked. Both those things pointed to Down Syndrome as well, so we had a blood test to confirm. He was born full term via c section weighing 4 pounds 3 ounces. When I heard him cry, relief washed over me. A nurse brought him over and I got to kiss him before they rushed him to the nicu. He had his first surgery at 2 days old to unblock his intestines, then it was an agonizing long 2 days before I could hold him again. He was able to come home after only 12 days in the nicu. Then the next 6 months was a waiting game for his open heart surgery to repair his av canal defect. After countless visits to the cardiologist for echocardiograms it was time. Handing them over to the surgeons that day knowing that I may never see my baby boy again, was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. But the surgery was successful and he amazed us again by coming home after only 6 days in the hospital. Eli is exactly who God wanted him to be and exactly what He knew our family needed. After his heart surgery I was looking forward to connecting with other moms who have kids with special needs and the thought of a shirt business to spread awareness and inclusion really sounded great to me!

She's a proud Mama no matter what:

Eli is only one, so the last year has mainly been dr appointments and hospital stays, but now that he's had his surgeries to save his life, we can move on and have fun with him! I try really really hard not to compare him with typical kids his age. Right now he is physically like a 5 month old, just learning to sit up and he just got his first tooth :) We celebrate every milestone just like a typical kiddo, he just has to work extra hard to get there, which makes me so proud! 

What she wants you to know about Down Syndrome:

I want people to know that Down Syndrome is not a tragedy, the last thing I want is for people to feel sorry for my husband and I or Eli or my daughters. Eli has changed us all for the better, he is like a gift that keeps on giving. My oldest daughter is 15 and now is planning on being a special needs teacher. Eli has opened us up to a world of new friends and experiences we would have never had otherwise. 

Littlest Warrior designs are thought-full:

My very first design was the Holland Tour guide tee because I read The Holland Story* by Emily Perl Kingsley when I was pregnant with Eli and it brought me so much comfort. I love that when we wear Littlest Warrior t-shirts, they end up being conversation starters and that's a great way to spread awareness. *Note: I read and was very glad I did.

She gives a percentage of proceeds from her Littlest Warrior sales to really fantastic organizations:

It has been so fun researching and finding foundations to give to. I'm in awe of how many kids are fighting battles I've never even heard of before. So far the foundation that has been closest to my heart is the adoption grant fund at The International Down Syndrome Coalition. I love knowing that we helped a family be able to adopt a child with down syndrome. 

Don't you think that Littlest Warrior is a total inspiration? I will forever be a fan and want them to succeed! To help do that, for every social share of this post (Facebook share, Instagram, ReTweet etc), I will make a donation to The International Down Syndrome Coalition in Eli's name! So please help share this amazing new brand with all your friends. I know that we can spread the good! Psst. I'll be using the hashtag #LittlestWarrior or let me know you've shared!

Oh wait, there's more! Michelle and Littlest Warrior are giving us a discount! *fist pump* Use code: PrimandPropah on all Littlest Warrior tees through May 31st for 10% off your order! I most definitely have my eyes on a set of Be Kind tees for my family!



Visit Littlest Warrior on Instagram, Facebook and check out their designs in the LW shop

10 comments:

  1. This is so heartwarming and how adorable is he!? I love the helmet hair tee so cute!

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  2. I know, right? He is such a little stud. Such a great business !

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  3. Downs Syndrome kids are such precious blessings. More people need to be touched by them, it can change your life. Thanks so much for sharing this story. I love the helmet hair tee, too!

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  4. That's one cool helmet quote! Good luck to the little warrior!

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  5. Abigail Fernandez SongcoApril 29, 2015 at 5:22 AM

    i have patients just like Eli and they're God's made wonder.. they're fragile but they always wear bright smiles, and hope to get thru everyday.. even us in the medical field love and care for them unconditionally..

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  6. I love that you care unconditionally. More people need to be like that! XO

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  7. Aww thanks for stopping by and reading their story. I think that awareness needs to be spread so people will see the awesomeness that we see :-)

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  8. What a great story, I love inspiring stories like this! :)

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