In this world only the select few can truly carry the burden of chronic illness and medical expenses on their own. Despite it’s hardships, sickness can bring together a community of strangers and turn them into family.
This is the story of Laree + Co. A boutique owned by Alivia, the Mama of a beautiful little girl with Trisomy 18. Here’s Alivia to tell us more:
When I started Laree + Co. I wanted it to be more than just a brand. My daughter is medically complex and we know how chaotic every day life can be with medical bills, appointments, etc.
Lillian was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 at 27 weeks gestation. We were basically told to just give up on her. To lay her to the side, if she lived until birth, and try again. They said she would be a burden and that we would regret investing our time and love into her.
We knew that she was irreplaceable and that anything was possible for her, like so many other amazing children out there. At that point, I had been falling in love with her more and more each day for 27 weeks- plus the 10 months of trying to get pregnant with her.
She was and is worth absolutely every ounce of love, intervention, worry, giggles, and kisses we pour into her. We are deeply connected with the hospital that gave my daughter a second chance at life. They look at her like the most perfect princess she is instead of “an extra chromosome” or “waste of medical resources” and for that we are truly grateful.
10% of our sales gets donated to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital for the Complex Medical Care Program- the program that has saved Lillian’s life numerous times.
Our fundraising program was born from our “Trisomy Tribe”- a group of Trisomy 18 and 13 moms that rejoice, and cry, and worry, and cheer each other and each of our kids on.
Their babies are my babies, and mine theirs. We call all of our kiddos with Trisomy 18 brothers and sisters because they are so similar and have such a deep and special connection with one another.
In November we lost one of Lillian’s incredible T18 sissy’s, just a few months younger than Lillian and we were all pulling money together to help cover funeral costs. The average cost to bury one of our kids is around $25,000 by the time everything is covered.
No mama should have to settle for a less than gorgeous casket or headstone for her baby. I figured I didn’t have thousands upon thousands of dollars, but I had high end tee shirt printing technology, and a website.
We did our very first fundraiser and the rest is history. Last month we did fundraisers to help several families cover medical bills for their complex children. We raised money for a start up bereavement doula company starting to help mothers through loosing a child—specially focused on stillbirth, neonatal deaths, and more.
I love sewing beautiful baby and kids clothing, making bows, designing fabrics and more, but my favorite part of Laree + Co. really is giving back in as many ways as possible.