When her son was born, doctors told Cheryl Runstedler that her pre-mature son would die. Jordan was born at 24 weeks and endured a 5 month battle in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Jordan was a miracle child for his mom and dad, Cheryl and Joe. He was the light of their lives and they made the most of their 5 years together.
HSH's Neil Sacks, Meghan Hull Jacquin and Pamela Foster first met Jordan and his parents at the 2014 THREE TO BE Gala Dinner where HSH proudly presented him with a Champions Award. We caught up with Cheryl who provides a message to parents caring for a child with special needs.
In her own words, Cheryl notes:
Take one day at a time and have fun everyday.
This is advice that my very wise mother would often remind me when I was growing up. I never thought twice about it because life would get very hectic and stressful. Then my son Jordan was born and the advice of my wise mother made all of the difference in my life with him.
Jordan was born very prematurely and due to the prematurity and possibly genetics, he endoured a host of medical complications. He was severe in all cases of his disabilities, and required care for everything. He taught me the greatest lesson in life: to step back and 'enjoy the roses'.
My husband Joe and I would take Jordan to the park to play in the sand, grocery store to squeeze the fruit, and a whole host of other everyday activities that others take often for granted. We focused Jordan's life on fun, mainly because he hated therapy, but also because we felt like that is what life should be about.
Life is to enjoy and not get too worked up about the small things because 'fun' is the memories that will last a lifetime.
Jordan peacefully passed away in September 2015. We now hold dear the memories that we made having fun with him. Those memories are the ones that matter.
In 2015, after Jordan's passing HSH created the Jordan Runstedler Memorial Fund. Each year, awards are presented to families in the THREE TO BE community, to be used for a truly family experience.
As we have learned from Cheryl and her family, in the end that was all that really mattered – bringing as much joy and opportunity to Jordan’s life and doing what brings happiness as a family. Those are the memories that we hope to play a small role in creating for other families going forward.
Through the Jordan Runstedler Memorial Fund, Three to Be will award families a weekend at Great Wolf Lodge! Each package will be valued at $750 and can be used for anything onsite at the resort to build memories and have fun.
Click to learn more about the Jordan Runstedler Memorial Fund.
Click to learn more about THREE TO BE.