A Lent Promise: Changing The Way People See Liver Disease

Every story has a beginning and this one begins with a child’s lent promise to change the way people see liver disease.

Our family is no stranger to Liver Disease, particular with Wilson Disease and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). Due to our direct connection to these diseases, we strive to help bring awareness to liver disease.  We have been involved and participated in various fundraising campaigns to raise much needed funds to support programs and research through the Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF).

Our daughter Nikki who is currently eight years old has seen all we have done and gone through. But yet, when she told me about her noble promise it still felt surreal. We were moved to tears!

The Lent Promise

Lent season starts on Ash Wednesday and that is the start of promises we make. Some choose to give something up with the popular choice of chocolate. Then, there could  be others who choose to make a promise such as being kinder to others.

Our third grader, decided to tell her teacher that she is going to raise money to help people living with liver disease. She further explained how she would do this and the inspiration behind the reason.

Full Interview With The Canadian Liver Foundation.

Nikki’s Designs: Creating With A Cause

As parents, our role is to support and encourage our children to live out their dreams. That is when Nikki’s Designs was created and launched to kick off the lent promise.

Nikki decided that if she made loom bracelets (colorful rubber bands), she could sell them for $5 each and all proceeds can go to the CLF. A foundation that Nikki was familiar with that can help people with liver disease.

The passion and drive that Nikki reflected was infectious and I was incredibly proud to support her every step of the way.

We purchased all the supplies needed, we created a logo, product photos and we even did a YouTube video to announce what Nikki was doing.

Unsure of what the response and support would be like, we knew that the most important lesson would be the feeling of giving back. There was no prize or award to be won. No competition to see who was the best or the one with the most contacts to give. This was just a child wanting to do good in the world. That is the most rewarding outcome a parent can wish for.

Fundraising Campaign

When orders started to trickle in, we noticed that some people only wanted to donate without a bracelet. That is when the fundraising page was set up through the CLF which made it easier for people to donate directly to Nikki’s fundraising efforts.

We promoted it mainly on social media and approached a few people directly that we were comfortable in asking. Everyone was touched by Nikki’s promise and our hope is that it inspires other children to make a difference too.

The support has been very heartfelt and we have even been invited to a Community Market to sell Nikki Designs’ bracelets on March 25 (see flyer below for details). A special thank you to the host Maker Market Collective for making Nikki’s dream of being a vendor come true!

Why The Canadian Liver Foundation and Liver

Our family connection to liver disease and our many years of supporting the work at the Canadian Liver Foundation was the driver behind this fundraiser.

It is important for us to show the world that liver disease can happen to anyone and at any age. Our liver has over 500 functions and there are over 100 types of liver diseases but yet no one talks about it. The biggest misconception of liver disease is that it happens if you consume a substantial amount of alcohol. This is far from the truth.

Statistics show that liver disease is on the rise. 1 in 4 Canadians may be affected by liver disease, including everyone from newborns to older adults.

My husband and I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t even like champagne but yet I got a liver disease. Not all liver diseases are driven from alcohol and there is actually only one disease that is connected to alcohol. This misconception hurts and brings a lot of stigma to people diagnosed with liver disease. We need to break that and be better aware.

This Lent Promise has given us the motivation to really drive the message that liver disease can happen to anyone and at any age. We are trying to change the way people see liver disease as it is not all the same.

Nikki’s Goal

Being eight, Nikki set a goal for herself of $30 which was reached fairly quickly (thank you to the amazing people who supported her so quickly). Therefore, we had to adjust our goal to be a challenge and yet manageable to achieve. We set the bar to $500 and to date we have raised $480 between online donations and bracelet sales.

We are incredibly thankful and grateful to raise a great amount so far. Nikki gets very excited and asks me every single day how much she has raised and if there are any more bracelet sales. It is so sweet to see how much she wants to succeed and it isn’t success for herself she is striving for – it’s to help as many with liver disease.

Nikki’s campaign will be running until Easter and if you would like to order a bracelet, send an email to editor@mommabraga.com with the subject line, Nikki Designs Bracelet. Or if you would like to make a donation, click here. Please note that donations $20+ qualify for a tax receipt through the donation page.

Heartfelt Thank You

On behalf of Nikki and my family, thank you for supporting Nikki’s dreams and lent promise. It truly means the world to her and to us.

Teaching the love to give is not an easy lesson and one of the hardest especially for a child. But it is one of the most beautiful lessons in the world.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

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