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Marcie Gibson & the Quadruplets: “Marcie’s ‘Guardian Angels’ – An inspiration”

 

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    by

    Linda Gibson

    Arlington, Texas
    August 2007

    It all started in January of 1998 when I was told about the Share The Care™ book- I had a friend just diagnosed with PICK’S disease – kind of like Alzheimer’s Disease.

    I read the book hoping to set up a team for her but she needed more professional care and was moved to an assisted living facility – Her name was Margaret.

    Before illness struck, Marcie was a gymnast as well as a high school and college cheerleader.

    Marcie1990cheerleThis photo was taken circa 1990 at Abilene Christian University where she cheered for 2 years before going on to the University of Texas in Arlington where she cheered for 3 more years.

    Marcie was diagnosed with ALS in 1994 at age 23.
    In 1994 my daughter Marcie, just 23 years old, had been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). In August 1998, two weeks before school was to start and I was to go back to teaching preschool – Marcie fell in the doorway of her room. I was in the kitchen – I heard her fall – I found her with both legs behind her and both arms behind her – she could not move.

    She had very limited use of her arms and at the time of the fall and her legs were getting weak. I had to call 911 so they could help me get her up. To be sure she had not broken anything we went to the hospital for X- Rays.

    After we learned Marcie was okay, her brother met us at the hospital and she rode home with him. On our trip home, her dad and I talked about what to do now that my job at the school was about to start again and Marcie could not be left alone anymore.

    The next day Harold – her Dad – called an elder from our church. So many people had wanted to help over the years but we really didn’t know how they could help us until now. Share The Care™ was in the back of my mind and so became our plan to care for Marcie. We had two meetings at church – we ended up with about 45 people. Five Captains and 40 volunteers. I only needed someone to stay with her Monday – Friday for four hours each day 8:30 till 12:30.

    Our little team was active for five years. Some people moved away yet new volunteers were always there to take their place – we may have had 60 people all together coming and going over the five years. So many people told me what a pleasure it was for them to help me – that they were blessed more then I was. I never really understood that until about a month ago.

    Last spring a young family placed membership at our church and we learned that they were expecting Quads in the fall. Many of our church family told them they would be there to help – I wanted to help as well but was home with Marcie on a daily basis.

    marcie2006About six weeks ago I woke up with an idea. I called my church to see if anyone had volunteered to organize caring for the babies but no one had. So I told the church secretary my plan about how we could Share The Care™ for these newborns as my church family had helped me. I could organzize everything at home on my computer while I was caring for Marcie.

    I went to the hospital to meet the mom of the soon to be Quads and her mom who lives two hours away. I wrote the plan down – how we had run “Marcie’s Guardian Angels”.

    Two weeks later I went back to the hospital to see what they thought. The expectant mother had been there for about a month on bed rest waiting for the birth of her Quads. I had already informed several people at church of my plan and we had decided to work in specialized teams. As I left her hospital room that day I felt so good – I left smiling and so happy because we had been given the opportunity to help this young family. Dealing with what I deal with on a daily basis I rarely have a reason to smile.

    My daughter, now unable to move or talk, uses a computer that can read the retina of her eyes to communicate with us. She has a PEG tube for feeding, a trach tube and a ventilator for breathing yet her mind is as “sharp as a tack”. Marcie is now 36 years old and has been living with ALS for 13 1/2 years. I care for her every day and night. “Angels” do come to visit but I am afraid to leave her. When her Dad is home I do get a chance to run to the store or other errands but one of us is with her 24/7.

    As I left the hospital room I finally realized what “Marcie’s Guardian Angels” had been telling me all those years. I was so blessed to have the knowledge the Share The Care™ book had given me so that I could help this family expecting four new babies all at one time. I knew I could do it – I knew it would work – it had for my family.

    So the plan is in place – I made one sign up sheet listing the five different specialized teams: Lawn care. House keeping, Meals, Donations, and Childcare. All five teams lead by five leaders will be guided by the Share The Care™ system.

    Last Sunday we had a “signing day” after church – about 80 people had their pictures taken. We did this since both the young couple and I needed to put a name to a face before anyone came to their home. We have a very large church – everyone does not know everyone else. We also had people fill out background checks. Our church housed “guests” from the Hurricane Katrina disaster two years ago so this was “old hat” for our members now.

    We plan on two more “Signing Days” and on the night that I have my group meeting for the volunteers who will be caring for the babies, more people will have an opportunity to sign up if they have not had a chance to do so.

    In the meantime – the Quads were born on August 1, 2007 – two months early: three boys and one girl, all very healthy and still in a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) in Ft. Worth, Texas. Once three of the four babies go home our team will “invade” their home 24/7 for as long as they need us. The Quad’s grandmother is also there to help. We’ll be going by the name… “The Diaper Darlings.”

    We’ll keep you posted.

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