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Hello.

I am Leah and I have Bipolar Disorder. To make life even more interesting, my husband, Dan, has Stage IV Cancer. He was diagnosed at 37 and has  been in ongoing treatment for 4.5 years! We also have a healthy and rambunctious 7 year old. So follow along as we try to manage our life together and strive for love, gratitude, and joy.

Young Cancer Family Starts Gift Business - We Need Your Help!

Young Cancer Family Starts Gift Business - We Need Your Help!

{Medical Update: Dan's shoulder replacement surgery was successful! He is such a rock star; he was sent home the following morning. Like, 24 hours later--In a giant hospital t-shirt that said "get moving," super tight scrub pants, and no shoes. Clearly, I was not prepared with an overnight bag. He started physical therapy after two weeks of resting and is driving, cooking, and managing his pain well. We are keeping a close watch on his edema for signs of infection but so far so good!}

I developed this little hobby of making gift boxes full of wonderful goodies. I pretended it was a real business and gave it a name, complete branding with developed collections, a web site, and social media accounts (because, you know, I have to go big). I tested the market and the response was actually great! In a few weeks, I have shipped six orders and hand delivered ten. Every week I have had a new client. Not bad for making it all up as I go along.

The inspiration for my hobby was a talented designer with a similar aesthetic doing gift boxes in Portland. I watched her on Instagram for FIVE years, awe-inspired (and jealous) as she took her project from working in her garage to a studio in the city. My innate inspiration is a devotion to giving to others. I actually made my first gift box when I was five --crafted from an old bank check box-- and filled it with colorings, love notes, and wrapped it with tracing paper (probably covered in hearts). I made my best friend, Allyson, deliver it for me because I was too shy. It is a great joy for me to build beautiful designs today with the same creativity and affection as I did as a child!

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Because we have a peculiar situation with being a young family living with incurable cancer (yikes! ugh), there are benefits and challenges to starting a business.

The benefit (Yes! There actually is one!) is that Dan became eligible for disability income when he was diagnosed. He started to receive this income when we moved to Illinois and it enabled him to be a stay-at-home dad while receiving a modest income to provide for his family. Because he is a stay-at-home dad, I became a stay-at-home wife! I go to all of his doctor appointments and we hang out a lot. Because I will never look back and regret spending so much time with him. Right? You only live once. So then, the two of us can easily run our business from home, and renting and sharing a house with Grandpa Don (part of adjusting to our income) also gives us a huge garage for storage and equipment. And we get Grandpa Don, who crafts boxes for us and teaches me!!!

The challenge? To be honest, two years after his diagnosis, we filed bankruptcy. Without the excellent credit we previously had, we are unable to get a start-up loan. We have put what few pennies we could into developing our initial gift box designs and marketing them to get our initial clients. Now we are at an impasse. We need a significant sum to take us the next step forward--to making a profit that can be put back into the business so it can grow. As it grows, it will provide a steady income for our family. The current next step involves basic goals -- being able to register as a business, purchase significant inventory, set-up e-commerce on our web site, improve our woodworking equipment, and print business cards.

Our goals can be reached because of Kickstarter. Please help our family on Kickstarter!

Kickstarter enables creative entrepeneurs to garner funding to establish their product or business from a community of small and large donors. It is an online service similar to GoFundMe, that allows users to contribute money. However, in this scenario, we are set up for a 30 day campaign and are only accepting pledges because your credit card is not charged unless we reach our goal - $15,000 - by our deadline - April 1st.

And we reward every level pledged! When we reach our goal, you will have helped AND you will get a reward from us! Pledges start at $5 and reach $300. Every pledge receives a gift. Please join the amazing backers we have so far!

Please help our family on Kickstarter!

xoxo, leah

I Couldn't Let Go of Her Hands

I Couldn't Let Go of Her Hands

Medical Update - Shoulder Surgery & Radiation Results

Medical Update - Shoulder Surgery & Radiation Results