Currently we are in the planning stages of adapting a bathroom for a family in Grand Rapids. Their 14 year-old daughter, Aliviah suffered a massive brain hemorrhage in April of 2022.
Looking back, I was barely more than a child myself. Imagine, 24 years old and the doctor comes into the hospital room to announce "Life as you know it is over."
Our newborn son, Louie had suffered a massive brain hemorrhage at age 1month-old. Louie survived but with a tremendous amount of damage to his brain that left him severely multiply impaired. Which, in laymen's terms meant ... Louie never walked, talked, he had seizures, a feeding tube, several surgeries throughout his short life, lots of pneumonia's and a V-P shunt in his head.
But throughout it all, Louie had the most wonderful smile and inner joy that was positively infectious to anyone who encountered him.
Louie's life was a short one, only 16 years and it was tremendously difficult to say good-bye to someone who had brought so much joy into our lives. We miss that essence of pure love so incredibly much, it is positively unbearable.
Recovering from our loss has lead us to establish a foundation in honor of our son, Louie R. Merlo and has ended up being the most therapeutic intervention along our grief journey - a very unexpected and joyful surprise!
We look for families caring for a severely physically-impaired child without a specific diagnosis covered by larger organizations. The mission is to improve the quality of life for the entire family by gifting experiences, services or items not covered by medical insurance.
There are no words to explain how grateful we are that so many of our family, friends and even strangers have supported this endeavor that has helped to heal our broken hearts. The joy we see on the faces of the families after receiving a gift from the Louie R. Merlo Foundation is the very essence of who Louie was - this is our way of keeping the spirit of Louie living on!
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