Meet Elisha Reimer (above right). A vibrant teenager from Bend, OR who is the eldest of 5 kids, loves sports and the great outdoors, and has Down Syndrome. In March, I (Gary) will have the honor of joining Eli, his father Justin, and a team of supporters in Nepal as we climb to the Base Camp of Mt Everest to raise funds and awareness for ‘The Elisha Foundation’ (TEF). My purpose on the team will be to document the journey and tell Eli’s story as he ascends to the foot of the worlds highest mountain. As far as we know, he’s only the second person with that disability to attempt such a feet. He’s so excited for the challenge and has been training in anticipation of the trek.
The struggle our team will face on this mountain poetically mirrors the struggle of a family caring for a person with a disability… except that their journey is not just for a few weeks, but for a lifetime. It’s a relentless struggle that often makes the whole family feel isolated and hopeless. This is where The Elisha Foundation (TEF) comes in. Through its Respite, Retreat & Reach programs, TEF provides encouragement, community and rest to those burdened with the care of a disabled person. They also help educate and equip people around the world (both families and volunteers) to provide proper care and help to break down barriers that are faced by those with disabilities and their families. We strongly believe in this cause, have actively supported the efforts of TEF for the last 4 years and have been thrilled with the results of their work. To view more information about this trek, please visit www.Trek4TEF.com
TEF has recently begun a ministry in Ukraine where the need is massive. Our help is needed to continue this work! (The images below are from our good friend Benjamin Edwards who joined TEF in Ukraine and documented their work there this last summer.)
There is a huge social stigma in Ukraine against people with disabilities and generally speaking, they are not seen as real people. Parents are strongly encouraged to put their special needs children into an orphanage which has led to over-crowding and poor conditions. Parents who decide to keep their disabled children at home are faced with unbelievable challenges and live in isolation. The new work in Ukraine is a grassroots ministry near the city of Chernigiv that was launched this past summer when Justin (Eli’s father) took the whole family (including all 5 kids) to live in Ukraine for 3 months while they got the programs started. They are empowering locals to educate their community and providing resources for families that are caring for someone with a disability. They have also created a team of people who are committed to visiting a couple of the local orphanages to spend time with and encourage the residents there.
So here’s the deal: We’ve committed to raising $10,000 (yikes) specifically for TEF’s work in Ukraine. We’re totally intimidated by that amount, but we know how far those funds can go and believe that with your help we can make a huge impact! We need you to give as much as you can to extend The Elisha Foundations global reach, specifically to the orphans with disabilities in Ukraine. As you consider giving, we want you to know that we are covering all personal costs for this trip (including your PayPal transaction fees!) so 100% of what you donate goes straight to the work in Ukraine. Alright, LET’S DO THIS!!! Here’s a few incentives for you as you give:
We will get your address from the donation form and send you the postcard when we get back.
VIEW LIMITED EDITION OPTIONS – After donating please following the instructions underneath the ‘Donate Now’ button and leave a comment to let us know your choice (A or B). We will get your address from the donation form and send you the option that you chose.
VISIT THE GALLERY of images that AMAZING photographers from around the world have generiously donated for this cause – After making your donation (below), please leave a comment on this blog post and note the number associated with the print you would like to receive.
*UPDATE: All matching funds have been used. Even though we can no longer match funds, any small amount will help and go a long way, so please consider helping!
Adam & Shawna (0 of 1 left, San Diego, CA) | Ana & Jerome (1 of 1 left, Cabo San Lucas) | Aim & Arrow Photographers (1 of 1 left, Santa Cruz, CA) | Benjamin Edwards (0 of 1 left, Bend, OR) | Carly Loves Amos (0 of 1 left, Bismarck, ND) | Cypher Photography (1 of 1 left, Holton, KS) | Gary & Courtney (0 of 2 left, Oceanside, CA) | He& She Photography (1 of 1 left, Paso Robels, CA) | Jim & Ravyn Photography (1 of 1 left, Portland, OR) | Love Made Visible (1 of 1 left, Cape Town, S. Africa) | Mark Brooke Photographers (1 of 1 left, Ladera Ranch, CA) | Mathieu Photography (0 of 1 left, Ladera Ranch, CA) | Nate & Jenna Photography (0 of 1 left, Maui, HI) | Photographs By Anjuli (0 of 1 left, Escondido, CA) | Reaux Photo (1 of 1 left, Lafayette, LA) | Sara & Rocky (0 of 1 left, Dallas, TX) | Stone Crandall Photography (0 of 1 left, Encinitas, CA) | Thrive Photography (2 of 2 left, Nashville, TN) | Wild Eyed Photography (1 of 1 left, Toronto, Canada)
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!! We are overwhelmed with gratitude and humbled by your support and response. We cannot adequately express how blessed we feel to have a community that believes so strongly in helping those in need and putting to good use the abundance we have all been given. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
(If missed your opportunity and would still like to donate, by all means, please do so below! We’d love your support and every penny of from your donation will still go straight the cause! Thank you so much!)
AFTER DONATING, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW – using your name (or as anonymous) and the amount you have donated – so that we can thank you, record the donations in one place, match applicable funds, and note which ‘Giving Rewards’ have taken place.