Sunday, September 9, 2018

Milla's House fundraiser with Holland and Birch jewelry this month!

Exciting news!!!

Milla’s House fundraiser with Holland and Birch is back for the month of September! Check out the new cuff, necklace and beaded bracelet - they are beautiful! Grab some jewelry for yourself and/or for a gift and know that you are also giving the precious gift of compassion and hope to a grieving family through Milla’s House.

Finally! An Update!!

Frazer is awesome and wrote a loooong overdue update for us... :) See below...

Wow, Dana has not provided a long update since April and only a couple brief ones since then!  I hate to disappoint, but this is not one of the famed updates from Dana.  I wanted to provide a brief update on the family and I hope to follow up with a few additional and more general thoughts in a day or two.

Since Miles 4 Milla in May, we have cruised through the summer and are rolling in the new school year.  We love you all and will follow with more details in the future.

Just kidding.

Seriously, the summer was good and bad, like much of life is for all of us, right?  I tell people that it seems like the dust has been kicked up in the air and never settles. 
-          We went to the BDSRA conference in July in Nashville and it was great to be there and see many of our friends in the Batten community.  We were thankful that Dana’s parents were able to join us.
-          We tried a beach trip, but the first day, Elle got a fever of 103 and high heart rate and generally was not well.  We decide to bail and came home the next day, which was the right call.  Traveling is so hard on Elle Belle and this trip really drove that point home.
-          Ann Carlyle did a camp for a week, her first away from home, and LOVED it!
-          Dana, Ann Carlyle and I got to go to Camp Good Grief for an afternoon in June and serve snow cones to the campers and volunteers, that was a lot of fun!
-          My work has been good and no big news to report there, which is a great thing.
-          AC has started 4th grade at CMDS and is loving it so far…except for homework, which no one loves.
-          Dana is in a good place.  She would not tell you this and I am not saying things aren’t hard, but she really is coping and moving through our days, weeks and months with strength and peace.  There are a number of reasons, some known and some unknown, but at the end of the day, she is placing her foot down for the next step with boldness and the whole family benefits from this gift given to us!
-          We had a trip to Ohio to see Dr. Emily for a six month checkup.  No big news, great to have her team see Elle.
-          Elle Belle, well, that’s a hard one.  In some ways, she really is doing good and in other ways, we see the disease progressing.  The effect travel has on her or when she gets sick, reminds us how fragile she is.  Her seizures seem more frequent and lasting longer, so we are considering changing one of her meds later this fall (waiting on an FDA approval of a label).  The disease progresses, slowly, but not slow enough.  It’s amazing how much more she looks like Milla Willa every day, and sounds like her from time to time (see pics).  She is generally a happy kid as long as you are not bathing her or changing her clothes.  Night help has been better and more consistent and we are grateful for that.

We are cared for, provided for and loved well by so many and we thank you for that! 

Please consider joining us on September 30 for the Good Grief 5k at Memorial Park.  Here is the website:

Lastly, We have been blessed to have AC and Elle to receive horse therapy sessions from our wonderful friends at Southern Reigns through a scholarship they provided for us.  Elle and AC love the horses and the time, but we have recently come to the conclusion that Elle is just too weak in her core to continue doing this right now.  We are on break and maybe someday down the road, we can rejoin.  Southern Reigns is such a wonderful organization and horse therapy is such a blessing to those fortunate enough to have it.  May I ask that you consider supporting their “Hay for a Day” campaign?  Info is below and following that are a couple of Elle pics from our Ohio trip.


You can also send your donation to Southern Reins: 

Your gift is 100% tax deductible, EIN number 47-4647784

For more information, CLICK HERE to visit our Hay for a Day page.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

An Announcement from the Director of The Center for Good Grief, Angela Hamblen Kelly...

Today is a special day!

Thursday, July 26, 2018 marks the one year anniversary of the opening of Milla’s House and in one year, we have been busy. We have always known the need to provide grief counseling to our community was essential, and we have tried to keep up with the increasing demands from year to year. Expanding our reach to the midtown area has allowed us to serve more grieving individuals and families in our community.

Because of your support, Milla’s House has been able to provide over 2,000 individual grief sessions in this first year!

This is incredible work you helped us accomplish and we would not be able to do this work without you, our gracious friends and supporters. We sincerely thank you for supporting Milla’s House which serves countless individuals and families in our community.   

Ann Carlyle Gieselmann (pictured below: center, and her cousin Vance to the right)  attended Camp Good Grief last summer and had a wonderful time with new friends, learned a lot about feelings, emotions, and coping skills,  and worked really hard on her grief. This summer, she was thrilled to come back to Camp (alongside her parents, Dana and Frazer) to serve sno-cones to campers at our annual carnival afternoon. As a special surprise to Ann Carlyle, she was inducted as an honorary member to a special group of people called Team 1520. Not just anyone can be a member of this elite group – Team 1520 members are former Camp Good Grief Campers who come back to volunteer and serve at our camps. They are teenagers committed to working on their grief daily and when they are ready, have the unique ability to share their common experience with other children who have lost a special loved one. We are so proud of Ann Carlyle!


While Milla is no longer physically with us, her legacy impacts families in our community in big ways. In honor of the one year anniversary of Milla’s House, we encourage you to celebrate with a donut, share your favorite Milla story with someone, or share Milla’s House with someone in need. 

Most sincerely,
Angela Hamblen Kelly
Melissa Surles
Executive Director, Baptist Centers for Good Grief
Development Officer

Sunday, June 3, 2018


On behalf of Milla's House and the Baptist Centers for Good Grief, I wanted to thank all of this year's registrants, sponsors and donors for a fantastic event at Wiseacre on May 19!  With your help and many more we raised just over $104,000 for Milla's House!  We had 56 sponsors, 73 donors and 490 registrants for the rides and party!  We distributed 543 T-shirts, ate a bunch of tacos from El Mero and around 55 pizzas from Dominos!

It is such an honor and privilege for Dana and I to see Milla's legacy through Milla's House and it means a whole lot to us to have so many support the work being done and joining us in honoring Milla's legacy.  We are humbled by the continued support of our community!

Thank you for joining us and we look forward another fantastic event in 2019!

Frazer & Dana

Monday, May 14, 2018

5 Days Post Surgery Update

I just wanted to send a quick word out that Elle is doing well!  She seems a little weaker in her core and neck strength the last few days and she's been fussy and restless a little more than usual.  But overall she is doing great and her incisions are healing well.

The surgeon had to shave Elle's head - a lot - in order to have a clean surgical field where he took the old port out and also on the other side of her head where he put the new port in.  After much brainstorming on how to fix her hair, I trimmed about 6+ inches from her super long hair and we are doing a lot of 'Milla buns' and headbands to cover up the incisions/scars/shaved head.

(For those of you who may not understand what 'Milla buns' are :) it's what we call pig-tail buns on the top of the head because I put Milla's hair in those buns much of her last 3 years as her hair was so curly and wild and that kept it out of her face.)

We are so thankful we went ahead and changed the port out with a new one...the old one had a sizable hole in it. It definitely would not have been good to have another infusion with the old one.

We are still on schedule to have Elle's 45th infusion tomorrow morning.  We don't know if we will see a difference in Elle' condition with the new port but anything is possible.

Also, we have a new night nurse starting this week!!  For now, we will still have no help on Saturday nights but 6 days a week is sooo much better than 3 days a week!  

One more big reminder!  Miles 4 Milla's House is THIS SATURDAY, the 19th at Wiseacre!!  Feel free to ride bikes, walk, run or just come for the party!  The family ride (I'll be walking) starts at 10:15 and the party starts at 11.  Rain or shine, it will be a blast with good people, good music, good beer and good food.  Please help us support the Memphis community by supporting Milla's House Center for Good Grief!!
Go here to sign up or donate:

Much love and THANKFULNESS for all your prayers and encouragements!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Quick Post-op Update

Elle’s surgery went well! We are in a room and she's sleeping right now.  She is running a little bit of a fever and having a lot of seizures but all in all, she is doing fine.

We will stay the night at LeBonheur and should get to go home tomorrow barring any complications.

Thank you for continually lifting us up!

PS - for those of you that didn't know, Elle's surgery was cancelled yesterday and scheduled for today because the hospital had some emergency cases come in.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Surgery Bumped

Hey everyone - I just wanted to let everyone know that due to an emergency that came up, Elle's surgery was bumped to tomorrow at 2:30.  

Please continue to pray for her and that she will have patience and understanding as much as she possibly can tomorrow!  And of course for safety and her doctors and nurses, etc.

Thank you!!