Personal Stories

From Theresa Hensley – Mother of 2 children who received gifts

Letter From A Parent

From One of Our Parents

“I saw the story about Birthdays Remembered and being a mom of a special needs child with epilepsy I understand the importance of remembering a birthday. We are a military family and finally own a home in Glendale, AZ. Most days we don’t have a dime to spare, but I wanted to send you some money to make a child’s special day a good one!”

Thanks, Jennifer Shafer

From One of Our Partners

While it’s our policy to have the gifts we provide come from the parent or guardian, sometimes they tell their children about how Birthdays Remembered helped them celebrate their birthdays. We were exceptionally pleased to receive  lovely thank you card  from a young lady  who wanted to thank us for the birthday present.

“I just wanted to express APPRECIATION for your Birthdays Remembered program. Every family I have approached has been so excited to participate and have expressed how much stress it takes off their shoulders. When the families come to pick up the gifts they are overjoyed that they are able to give their child a birthday gift this year.

Our families are struggling to make ends meet, and in their situations many times gifts of any kind are not a realistic possibility. That is why our district is so glad we were able to partner with your organization. You help keep birthdays special and joyous for families whose everyday lives are filled with stress and worry.

Thank you for all you and your organization do to keep birthdays happy.”

Sylvia Zapata, ELL Specialist/Homeless Liaison
Higley Unified School District



Our First Gift Delivery!

“We had a truly great experience with Birthdays Remembered. They provided one of our clients with a great gift. The little boy was turning four on November 28th, and he and his family were residing in our safe home. His mom wanted to do something for him but had no money. She requested that he get something that was Cars related, and thanks to Birthdays Remembered she was able to give him something on his birthday. He was very thrilled as he opened it and discovered that it was a Disney Cars race track set. He immediately began asking his mom to open it so that he could play with it. Birthdays Remembered made this little boy so happy, and provided him with an incredible toy.”

Kim Bolin
Victim Advocate
Community Alliance Against Family Abuse (CAAFAA)

My Birthday in the Hospital

“I am now 27 years old and I have Spina Bifida. I have spent two birthdays in the hospital. The first, Mom said, was when I was seven years old. I don’t remember that one. I do remember turning fifteen and I was supposed to undergo shunt/brain surgery that day. We were able to talk the neurosurgeons into delaying it by one day. No one wants to have surgery on their birthday!

Fortunately, I had a very good friend from school who came to the hospital and decorated my room a few days before my birthday. Another friend brought in a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake. We invited all of the nurses to come and celebrate with us. I still didn’t like being in the hospital, but the party made it a little more bearable.

I understand there is a new program starting called Birthdays Remembered. This would be a very good thing. Many children can’t go home on their birthdays and it turns into a very depressing day for them. If they had just one present or one friend who decorated their room it would make the day so much better.”

Being a Mom

“Hospitalizations are hard on children as well as their parents. It’s only magnified if your child has to be hospitalized during a time when she should be enjoying herself and her birthday.

I am a single parent of a daughter with Spina Bifida, Chiari Brain Malformation, and seizure disorder. She has had over seventy surgeries but was fortunate enough to only be in the hospital on her seventh and fifteenth birthdays. On her seventh birthday she was inconsolable and made me promise that she would never have to be in the hospital on another birthday. Fortunately, we went another eight years before that happened again.

The stress of being a single parent of a special-needs child is immense. It’s emotional, financial, psychological, and even physical. I worked full time, as we received little support from the other parent, and we needed the insurance. So each morning at 5:30 am I would leave her bedside, drive 40 miles to my job, work a full day, and hope to arrive back at the hospital by 7 pm.

On a limited budget, trying to pay medical bills, buying prescriptions, paying for parking fees, etc. made birthday presents almost impossible. I was lucky when I could spend $5 or $10 on some item at the drugstore that would make her smile. All the while I knew she deserved better. So did I.”

To protect the dignity and privacy of the families we serve, it is a Birthdays Remembered policy to not identify children or families with pictures or names.