|This is the story of a fighter, written by his parents – his champions:
Jack was diagnosed at 20 weeks gestation with a critical heart defect. We were told he may not survive the pregnancy and if he did the likelihood of survival after delivery was unlikely. We traveled to St Louis where a team of doctors were willing to help give Jack a fighting chance at living. Jack was born at St. Louis Children’s Hospital on January 16th, 2018. He came out crying and we knew then he would be a fighter. His heart defect had damaged his lungs and his only option of living outside of the hospital was a heart and double lung transplant. At 4 months of age Jack received his second chance of life and on May 24th, 2018 he received his transplant making him the first infant heart-double lung transplant in the country in over 10 years. On August 1st, 2018 Jack was finally discharged home. Our dreams of bringing him home had become reality.
Jack will be four soon and loves playing outside, jumping on furniture, playing with his siblings and watching football to name just a few of his favorite things. He suffers from a paralyzed vocal cord and diaphragm secondary to his transplant. This makes vocalizing sounds very difficult for him. We use basic sign language to communicate with him but we know he has more to say. We want Jack to be able to express himself and tell us exactly what he needs/wants without getting frustrated. A communication device will allow Jack to communicate so much better at school and home. As his parents, we know he has lots to say and we feel we owe it to him to help him in any way we can. We want him to feel heard and understood, not just by us, but by others around him too.
Now it is your chance to be another of Jack’s champions! Donate today and give Jack the voice he needs through assistive technology – www.varietykc.org/donate
Years ago, I saw Patrick Mahomes at an event and he was talking with a young child with special needs. He knelt down to the child’s level and was engaging with respect, kindness, and interest – he treated Variety Kids like any other. It was a glimpse of his character off the field, and it was equally as impressive as his on field feats. That type of empathy is a learned trait and it told me everything I needed to know about his mother, Randi.
As a mom myself, I know how proud I am when someone comments on my son or daughter’s character – so I reached out to Randi Mahomes and thanked her for raising a son who could see beyond differences. A man who saw beyond the walker and saw only the child. Then, on Friday night as I was sitting at home – I received a “Thank you” message back from Randi. A few months later a Facebook post appeared: Randi Mahomes was holding a birthday fundraiser for Variety KC Kids! What? There are times in work life that I get caught off guard by unexpected and overwhelming kindness. This was one of those times. It turns out that Randi had been following Variety KC’s work to include a population of children with special needs. A population that is often invisible and uninvited. Randi saw them (no wonder her son demonstrated the same ability.) That year, Randi raised enough for a custom sports wheelchair for Variety KC Kid, Jesus. He wanted to be a wheelchair basketball star but didn’t have the equipment. She presented it in person and Jesus just couldn’t believe what was happening.
Next birthday, Randi stepped in again and used her resources to promote her birthday fundraiser, bringing incredible awareness to the Variety KC mission. That year she supported inclusive playground equipment and important communication boards to help all kids to engage in play. In dedicating the gifts, Randi took time to meet with Variety KC Kids and families – she will never know the importance of her time and efforts. For a population used to being overlooked, her presence validated their worth. It is part of an important cultural shift of removing barriers and including all kids in the community. By lending her voice and being the mother she is – she naturally champions for Variety KC Kids with special needs.
It’s hard to imagine the constant spotlight and microscope that her entire family deals with daily. Grounded by faith and lessons of humility, gratitude, and kindness – Randi and her family display grace under pressure. She uses her natural gifts as a mother and combines it with an unnatural public spotlight to bring awareness to what’s important to her: Faith, children and an opportunity for all kids to participate! Her efforts toward inclusion were recognized with the Presidential Citation from International Variety last year – a rare and much deserved honor.
Fast-forward to last evening. I was once again sitting on my couch when a message popped up – Randi announced her birthday fundraising campaign for Variety KC again! And, demonstrating the competitive spirit so obviously passed on to her own kids – Randi announced her intent to raise more than ever before.
Let’s make that happen! Let’s make this her MVP year (Most Valuable Party!) If you want to share in Randi’s legacy – donate whatever you can to her fundraiser. Let’s celebrate her sweetness, her fierce determination to support all kids, and the generosity of spirit that continually drives her to hold her fundraiser (now as a new grandmother too!) during the busiest part of the year for the Mahomes’ family.
Deborah Wiebrecht, Executive Director of Variety KC
www.varietykc.org/donate (Be sure to check the dedication box and write in Randi Mahomes)
We love our Variety supporters and family, and so many have asked how to donate their birthday gifts to Variety KC like Randi Mahomes did.
It’s simple, it’s so very helpful, and it makes your birthday a life-changing gift for others. Thank you for your consideration! Happy Birthday everyone!
Days before the Super Bowl, Randi Mahomes, a friend of Variety KC and mother of Chief’s quarterback Patrick Mahomes, surprised us in a Facebook post requesting her upcoming birthday gifts be gifted to Variety KC. She set a goal of $250.
Reposting the donation request on the Variety KC page, we quickly saw donations grow to $1,500. Fox 4’s Kathy Quinn jumped in and interviewed Randi…donations hit $3,000, $5,000, $7,000…and more!
As the excitement for the Super Bowl grew, so did the donations.
The night before the Chief’s Celebration parade, Randi Mahomes flew in KC and met up with Deborah Wiebrecht from Variety KC and Kathy Quinn of Fox 4 news. During the biggest time of her son’s career, Randi wanted to meet the kids she was helping, spend time with them and give them their requested gifts.
The story was so touching, Fox 4 didn’t want it to get lost in all the Chiefs related hoopla – and held the story to first air the next Thursday night, 10 pm news, during sweeps week. A time when viewership would be at its absolute highest.
The feedback was tremendous, Randi said it was the best birthday of her life. Her donation, along with a generous donation from The 15 and The Mahomies Foundation, provided inclusive gifts of mobility and communication for so many area kids, including adaptive equipment for the Variety KC inclusive playground at Hospital Hill.
Many families are choosing to support charities in lieu of traditional holiday gifts. We’ve been receiving questions on how to support Variety KC as a holiday gift. There are several ways.
- You can visit www.varietykc.org and click on donate.
- Make a purchase on amazon.com and sign up through their smile program, you can choose for 5% of your regular purchases to be designated to Variety KC. (Go to Smile.Amazon.com and register today!)
- And – now, you can also go to Smile.Amazon.com and look for Variety KC’s wish list to purchase items we need.
Thank you for your support!