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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Making A Difference - One Mommy at a Time

Rachel Reynolds, RichmondMommies
Executive Director, CJ's Thumbs Up Foundation (http://www.cjstuf.org/)

First time mom and business owner Rachel Reynolds joined RichmondMommies in 2008. She found her homesite to be very helpful for networking and general parenting support, as well as an opportunity for finding new playmates for her daughter.

In 2009, tragedy struck her family, and she volunteered to share the story of how her chapter of The Mommies Network helped her:

"In January 2009, my then 3 ½ year old was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Our family’s world was turned upside down. We didn’t have a lot of close family in the Richmond area. Almost as soon as people started to find out about our daughter’s diagnosis, word spread around Richmond Mommies. Requests for prayers were posted in the Spiritual Support discussion group. Moms banded together to “stork” us and make meals. As the year went by, many of the Richmond Mommies followed our story (posted on our blog) and kept other RM’s up to date on fundraisers that were held for our cause. These same RM’s also came out in force to help whenever there was a need. A number of RM’s even put together their own fundraiser: a bake sale that netted almost $2000.

As the year progressed, so did our daughter’s cancer. Despite the best care imaginable, the tumor continued to grow and we ran out of medical options. Our daughter lost her life on January 7, 2010. She was 4 ½ years old. The RM community continued to support us in the wake of her death. We had two friends who helped to organize Charlotte’s memorial service and reception and there were many Richmond Mommies who donated their time, food, help, and money to make it an amazing community event. I received notes and messages from many Richmond Mommies during that year. Some of them had never met me “in real life” but they shared their sympathy and concern as a true friend. It was touching and comforting to feel that level of support from people who barely knew me.

In Charlotte’s passing, we founded a non-profit that now helps families in similar situations (CJ’s Thumbs Up Foundation or CJSTUF). Richmond Mommies members continue to support us by promoting our organization and our events on the message boards as well as providing moral support to me (and my husband) as we grieve.

The RichmondMommies embody everything that a nurturing community should be. Although I do not have a child in my life currently, I continue my friendships with many of the moms in the Richmond Mommies community and I log on to the board frequently for news, information, advice, and support."


RichmondMommies.com opened in July of 2005 and currently has 866 members. Any mom living in Richmond and the surrounding areas is welcome to apply and join the chapter - membership is free. Don't live in Richmond? Check out http://themommiesnetwork.org/ to find a chapter in your area!

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