As soon as Blake was a couple months old, I knew she was special. Shortly before she was diagnosed with SMA, I knew that her life would mean more than I ever could have imagined. After the reality of her diagnosis, I also knew I would never stop trying to show people all that I have learned (and am still learning) from my precious little girl. I didn’t know how I would do that, but I talked to Blake about it all the time. Believe it or not, Jeff and I talked about it with Blake the morning we lost her.
While Blake was still here we started a fundraiser for a walk we did with CureSMA. We were shocked at the amount of shirts we sold. In fact, the night before we lost Blake, we got the final numbers. I looked at her with tears in my eyes and told her that all of that was because of her. She gave me a little smirk I will never forget.
We didn’t actually receive our ‘Team Blake’ shirts until after she died. But, once we started wearing them around, random people would ask, “Who’s Blake?” Lots of people, all over the place. When we started getting texts and messages from people who bought our shirts, telling us they were also being asked over and over, that’s when we knew we should do something.
That’s where The Sunshine Company really began. We wanted a way to share with other people, even just a little bit, of what Blake taught us. Here are a few of The Sunshine Company’s ideas, courtesy of Blakey.
Smiles and Laughs: Blake showed us laughter is the best medicine, that you have nothing in life if you aren’t smiling and laughing.
Choosing how you want to live: Choose Joy. There is always something to be thankful for. Mama Life is the best life. – These are just a few of the designs you’ll see on some of our shirts. We’ve realized that, because of Blake, you have choices in this life, even during the most painful of circumstances. You can be grateful and give all the love you have, no matter what. We figured, what better way to show this than to wear it, all day long?
Matching: I love to match with my girls. I try to say Kenley LOVES it, but if I’m honest I think I might love it more. Some of my favorite pictures of Blakey are when we’re matching. I think it’s cute and fun, so you’ll see matching shirts all over the place in our shop.
SMA Awareness: We had never heard of SMA before Blake was diagnosed. We now know just how common this awful disease is. Other people should know and this is a way to reach them. It is also a way for us to raise funds to give back to organizations that help families like us, as well as donate to research for a cure. We plan on donating 5% of our proceeds to an organization the helps families and funds cure research. We’re leaning towards one! More on that in the near future. (Fyi – Funds are being collected even before we decide on an organization)
This is something we can do to honor what Blake has shown us. We want to spread some of the sunshine Blake has given. We hope people will ask what The Sunshine Company is.
We also hope that people will say it’s about the life of a brilliant little girl; a little girl who had SMA but it didn’t have her.
We’re excited about The Sunshine Company and, of course, we hope it does well. This is just the very beginning and there is much more to come.
For those of you who have known what we’ve been working on for quite a while, thank you for your support.