PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla.--A mother and father who lost their daughter to a rare and terminal disease are finding a way to give back to the people whom they say helped them the most during a tough time--nurses.
With the current nursing shortage the parents say a scholarship foundation is a way to 'pay it forward.'
Trish and Michael Armand say nurses were their backbone during a difficult time. Now they are helping to send more to school and further their education.
The Armands make every second count with their son Mikey. Mikey is about the size of a 1-year-old and has the mentality of a 2-year-old but he is four.
His small frame and deformities a result of a terminal illness called mucus lipidosis type 2. Children with ML-2 have a short life span. Their daughter Olivia died at age four in December and now they preparing for another loss.
"To have your child die in your arms is devastating what's worse is my son has the same disease and one day I'm going to have to do this again with him," says Trish Armand.
But they have decided to take the short lives of their children and make a lifetime impact on that of nurses, the professionals whom they say made a rough time a bit smoother and helped extend their children's lives.
"We lived in chaos," says Mike Armand, "nurses were our saviors." "If it wasn't for them," adds Trish, "we would have lost our sanity; they were the ones to comfort us. I give a lot of credit to doctors but the nurses are the unsung heroes."
So now, just two weeks after their daughter's death, they set up the Olivia Grace Armand Foundation that will provide pediatric nursing scholarships.
"For us the ultimate thing we could do is make more nurses," said Michael.
So far the foundation has raised $10,000 and with another fundraiser this weekend they hope more will fill Olivia's cookie jar of chance.
"I miss my daughter but I know that someone is going to also benefit from my daughter," Trish said.
The fundraiser for the foundation will be held April 25,2010 from 2pm-4pm at Greenacres Bowl on Lake Worth Road.
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