27562 Rayna Court, Harrison Township, MI 48045, US

Christmas Giving 2009


*Please note that ages are at time of adoption.



Dennis (Dad), and Melissa (Mom) are fighting hard to get their youngest son, Nathan, healthy.  They also have a daughter, Destiny (age 6) and a son, Tyler (age 6).

Nathan was born in November 2008.  At less than one day old, the doctor diagnosed Nathan with an interventrical hemorrhage in both ventricles (bleeding on the brain) and he had his first brain surgery that day.  As a side effect of the surgery Nathan also has hydrocephalus (water on the brain).  He was hospitalized while this resolved and had to have a shunt put into his brain to drain the fluid.  In December 2008 he was also diagnosed with Infantile Spasms (IS).  This is the disease that took Jameson’s life in 2006.

In his first year of life Nathan has had eight brain surgeries, a shunt removed and installed multiple times and an additional eye surgery.


Jill (Mom) and her husband, Joe, have a son named Joseph and two beautiful girls named Johonna and Jazmin.  Joe also has shared custody of his sweet 13 year old daughter from a previous marriage.  The day before Christmas 2008, Johonna and Jazmin were diagnosed with Pompe disease.  Pompe is one of the rarest genetic diseases in the world.  The disorder is estimated to occur in about 1 in 40,000-300,000 births and effects all the muscles in the body.  Johonna and Jazmin have power picks, feeding tubes and receive an IV infusion treatment for Pompe every other week at Children’s Hospital.  Johanna has been on a ventilator twice, once in January 2009 for two weeks, and the other in April of that year for seven weeks and was already sent home once on hospice.  Jill says, “They told us she was going to die.  But she did not.  We actually got some much needed good news October 2nd [2009], their hearts are getting better the treatment is working. They can not tell is what will happen due to the fact that the treatment is only two or three years old, but we are hopeful….My husband and I take care of their every need.  I could not do this without him.  In this time of need we greatly appreciate your kindness and help.  Thank you!”

Excerpts From Wikipedia Regarding Pompe Disease:

Glycogen storage disease type II (also called Pompe disease or acid maltase deficiency)  Infantile, or early onset, is noticed shortly after birth. Symptoms include severe lack of muscle tone, weakness, and enlarged liver (hepatomegaly) and heart. Mental function is not affected. Development appears normal for the first weeks or months but slowly declines as the disease progresses. Swallowing may become difficult and the tongue may protrude and become enlarged. Most children die from respiratory or cardiac complications before 2 years of age. The prognosis for individuals with Pompe disease varies according to the onset and severity of symptoms. Without treatment the disease is particularly lethal in infants and young children.


Donesa (Mom) and Anthony (Dad) have a little girl, Basha (age 8).  In February 2009, they had quadruplets - two boys: Antonio and Sebastanio; and two girls: Grace and Michela.  Sadly, baby Grace passed away the day after her birth.  The babies were born extremely premature.  They all have special health issues and anticipated developmental delays.  Michela is on an apnea monitor due to breathing issues and is constantly monitored for Hydrocephalus (water on the brain).  Antonio has a shunt, eyesight issues and developmental delays.  Sebastiano is under watch for a seizure disorder and rickets (according to Wikipedia: “Rickets is a softening of bones in children potentially leading to fractures and deformity.”).  Mom has been unable to work since 2008 due to the difficulty of trying to carry four babies to term and now caring for her children full-time.  The family motto is “One day at a time”. 

Single Mom, Toshia, has been caring for her three children, Talia (age 13), Nigeria (age 9) and Nasire (age 2).  Nasire has language, cognitive and social delays.  Toshia lost her Mother and Father when she was very young.  She was then raised by her Aunt who died two years ago after struggling with cancer.  Toshia cared for her Aunt while she was ill.  Toshia is currently unemployed and receives virtually no child support.  Toshia was in the Work First program offered through the State of Michigan to obtain job training.  However, she had to quit the program when the daycare provided by the State made it clear that they were ill equipped to handle a child with Nasire’s delays.  The family does not have a car.  Food and clothing are in limited supply for both Mom and children. The family may be homeless soon and due to the extreme care needed by her child, she has no current hope for employment.


Mom and Dad divorced several years ago.  Dad, Dennis, passed away unexpectedly in June 2018.

Mom and Dad, Ann and Dennis, are raising two boys, Dylan (age 5) and Ryan (1 ½ years).  Ryan was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms at six months of age and since then has been diagnosed with hypotonic cerebral palsy, but he is sitting up, crawling and standing with support.  Ryan’s seizures have stopped and now they are trying to get him caught up.  He is still on the Ketogenic diet and Ryan is starting to say his first word, “Mama”.  His Mom says, “We will never give up on him, he will meet all his milestones. That’s what I believe.”  With love like that he will!

Dad got laid off shortly after Ryan’s diagnosis and has been unable to find steady work.  This family is currently leasing a home but will be forced to move shortly as the home is being sold.  Ann intends to start college in the fall if they can manage the cost in addition to their change in housing.

Brenden is a 9 month old who lives with his Mom, Sabrina, and Dad, Brian.  Brendon was diagnosed with Fetal Depakote Syndrome and demonstrates delays in all areas of development.  Dad was severely injured in October 2009.  He is permanently paralyzed and is also blind from complications.  Mom has a seizure disorder and has been staying home to take care of Brenden. 


This year we MORE THAN FILLED THE TRUCK!  The Macomb Infant Preschool Program (MIPP) sent a commercial sized truck as well as a van to pick up all of the items for the six families we adopted.  We spent a total of over 70 people hours wrapping 386 gifts for our six families.  The total estimated retail value of the gifts was over $20,400.  We raised and spent over $7,500.  The food and coats were not in these photos as they had already been delivered in October.

Kohl’s “A Team” which is a part of their “Kohl’s Cares for Kids” program came and wrapped presents for Jamie’s Smiles.  They spent many hours helping us wrap gifts, not to mention all the time that they helped us in making our purchases, the discount that they gave us on everything and contribution that they have requested from their corporate giving program!  MANY THANKS Kohl’s on 26 Mile in Shelby Township!!!  As always, your support and generosity are GREATLY APPRECIATED!

Your generosity made it possible for us to supply the following items to our families:


·  Coats and a pair of snow pants for each child

·  2 sets of hats, mittens/gloves for each child

·  Two pair of pajamas for each child

·  At least four winter clothing outfits for each child

·  Several sets of socks

·  A pair of shoes & a pair of winter boots each

·  An arched play mat

·  A swing

·  An exersaucer

·  2 push behind/ride on toys

·  2 sets of crib sheets per baby

·  One set of bed sheets for all older children/adults

·  At least three learning toys per child

·  At least 3 books for every child

·  A devotion book for each child

·  Several small stocking stuffer items for each child

·  Cases of diapers & wipes where needed


·  A winter coat each where needed

·  Hats, scarves and gloves for each parent

·  A pair of pajamas for each parent

·  Three winter clothing outfits each

·  A pair of shoes each

·  A pair of boots each

·  Socks

·  Sheets for all families

·  Comforters for two families

·  Blankets for all people in families

·  2 toothbrushes and floss for everyone in families

·  Personal care products such shampoo and soap

·  Several small stocking stuffer items each

·  Approximately $300 in food gift cards

* Please note that this list is NOT comprehensive

We also had a number of donated items that were miscellaneous sizes or were duplicates for our families.  We gave these items to MIPP to distribute to other needy families in the program.  MIPP had to use a commercial size truck and an additional van to pick up our donations and take them back to their facility to distribute to the families.


To every individual and organization involved this year…From Jamie’s Smiles and 28 people in our Adopted Families!