LOVE YOUR STORY (Podcast)

A few months ago I was interviewed by Lori Lee of the Love Your Stories Podcast. Her platform is all about the human story and reminds her listeners that everyone has a story to tell. A philosophy long dear to my heart. She says that in the telling of our stories we not only find meaning and purpose, but we also help others do the same. This was a short 30-minute interview on how I learned to cope as a husband and father.

Click here to listen to other audio interviews with Mitchell’s Journey.

 
 

DR BUTTERFIELD

Today I visited the University of Utah Clinical Neurosciences Center.
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Meet Dr. Butterfield MD, PhD. He is focused on helping children like Mitch, who have DMD and other neuromuscular diseases. I was immediately impressed with his depth, intelligence, and empathy. We covered a lot of ground. We discussed the complexities of science, emerging medicine, clinical operations, and the deeply human dynamics that affect patients and their caregivers. (and all along I thought being an entrepreneur was complex...)
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While I’m interested in the science that will save children, I’m equally interested developing tools that can equip families and individuals to better cope with the inevitable holocaust of life’s hardships, whether from DMD or other life traumas. I not only want to prolong and improve the quality of life, I want to help people make the most of the life they have.
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I’m excited to get to know this doctor and his clinic better over the coming months and years. I’m also excited to serve on the board of #PPMD and help where I can. I have deep admiration for Pat Furlong and her staff.
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As I sort out my place in the universe, and what life looks like in a world without my son, I’m discovering ways #mitchellsjourney might contribute to the larger narratives of science, humanity and family relationships that are unique and deeply human.

ALL THAT REALLY MATTERS

I was asked by a mother from Colorado if she could make a t-shirt with Mitchell’s saying, “Be nice to each other and be glad you’re alive.  Nothing else matters.”  Their local school district dedicated today to promote kindness, respect, and peace – and this sweet family wanted to offer Mitchell’s message to the conversation. Their focus today is to have a day without hate.  A beautiful, hopeful, and timely message Mitchell’s Journey can get behind.

This sweet girl, Isabella, has known of little Mitchell’s story for more than half her life now and she’s grown attached to his messages of love, courage, and kindness.  I remember her mother sending me a video shortly after Mitchell passed away.   A much younger Isabella pointed to a beautiful array of colors in a dimly lit sky and said in the tenderest of voices, “It’s Mitchell.”  She knew Mitch loved sunrises and sunsets and wondered if he was there, somewhere in the beautiful horizon.

So, when Isabella’s mother sent me these photos last night, my eyes welled with tears of gratitude.  She even used purple and gold, Mitchell’s two favorite colors.  I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for good people like the Lozano family – who we’ve come to know and love. I also felt grateful for the many people on this earth who share goodness and love – for in the end, as little Mitch taught me, that’s all that really matters. 

Perhaps all of us, wherever we live, can do something today that promotes kindness, respect and peace – in memory of little Mitch and in hope for a better world.

#D3DayWithoutHate

 

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A much younger Isabella who grew up learning Mitchell's message of hope and love.

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Another Image of Isabella - promoting awareness of DMD, the disease that took our son's life.

Another Image of Isabella - promoting awareness of DMD, the disease that took our son's life.

 
 

LIGHTS FEST

Tonight we attended the Lights Fest along with supporters and Mitchell's Journey volunteers. It was a beautiful event filled with feelings of peace and acceptance.

I had an opportunity to stand before a crowd of a few thousand people to briefly share what our foundation is about and invite them to learn more about little Mitch and the stories we share.

The moment I got home, I made this video of tonight's events which includes video from my aerial camera. Though I have always wanted to participate in an event like this, I wanted more to see Natalie send something heavenward with a note to little Mitch. You'll see that in this video. I deliberately didn't add any narrative because I want its viewers to contemplate their own journey and what message of hope, faith, and love they might put on their own lantern.

We are grateful to the Lights Fest for including our foundation as one of their sponsored charities and for giving us an opportunity to raise awareness and challenge others to get involved.

Below are a few photos from tonight, starting with Natalie's lantern with a note to Mitch.



Shots of the Festival


Austin Bennett and His Family

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A PARADOX WITH A PROMISE


One of the central themes of Mitchell's Journey is that by lifting others, we too are lifted. Here's the paradox: when struggle we tend to focus on our struggle. Yet, when we lose ourselves in the service of others, we often find ourselves ... even a better version of ourselves. I can speak from personal experience that when I am suffering and choose to serve others despite my sorrows, my own burdens seem light.

So, I want to introduce you to Karalee Bennett, a single mother of two, one of which as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, the same condition Mitchell had.

In this short video, she shares a personal discovery on how she's learned to take care of herself while caring for others. I was so inspired by her decision to serve, we made a video so we could share her story.

Mitchell's Journey isn't just the story of a little boy who died, it's the ongoing message of hope, faith and learning to live while we still have time.

Wherever you are and no matter your circumstance, I hope you take a moment to find and serve someone around you. I promise you won't regret it. It's a paradox with a promise.

PRESIDENT’S VOLUNTEER AWARD

A little over a month ago Natalie and I were invited to Zermatt (Utah) to be given the President’s Volunteer Award, which was awarded to us in 2016, under the Obama Administration.

... when we lose ourselves in the service of others, grief shrinks and we somehow find ourselves … a slightly better version than the one before.
— Christopher M. Jones | Mitchell's Journey

The award is meant to recognize people who make meaningful contributions to the betterment of society through various forms of service.

Lindsay Hadley (the woman on the right of this photo) and Philip Webb (the man on the left) are both more deserving of such an award. They do so much to help others, with no thought of what they’d get in return. They are the epitome of goodness and abundance. In fact, they have both played a special role in helping Mitchell’s Journey grow and develop.

They are both involved in an organization called Thankful™, which is a non-profit focused on helping make the world a happier place by recognizing and celebrating everyday Thankful moments. I love everything about that organization’s philosophy and efforts. I am grateful (Thankful) they took note of what we’re trying to do at Mitchell’s Journey.

So, we were humbled to be recognized for a brief moment that day – but we knew there was still work to do and people to help. This now hangs on our wall with glad hearts – and we’ve since rolled up our sleeves and got back to work.

I miss my son a great deal. I know Natalie does, too. Though we cannot surgically remove grief, like a tumor to the soul, I have learned we can treat it with gratitude and serve to others. It is my observation that when we lose ourselves in the service of others, grief shrinks and we somehow find ourselves … a slightly better version than the one before.

 
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