Most of you know about our Little Lion Man.  For those of you who don’t, I’d like you to virtually introduce you.

He’s a curious five-month-old baby who loves music, banging on drums, stories, splashing in the bathtub, giggling, and his equally-precocious older sister (the Bug).  He is fiercely attached to his lovey. Has mad flirting skills for his age.

Little Lion Challenge - (cool) progeny

Our little guy did not have an easy start in the world. He was hospitalized for three and a half months and underwent a series of surgeries/procedures to help him breath.  Coming home was a challenge (and continues to have it’s ups and downs), but it’s also been the absolute best thing for our family. Two months in, we’ve sort of settled in to a new normal. We’ve definitely learned to be flexible.

Little Lion Challenge - (cool) progeny

You may have noticed from the photos that the Little Lion Man has a trach. He has upper airway issues that prevent him from breathing normally. He also has a gTube by which he gets his milk every day. The extra hardware are just temporary fixtures for our little guy, but they are our reality now. Because of the trach, he doesn’t make much noise. He an infectious gravelly laugh. Sounds like a little roar.

Frankly speaking, we could not have survived the last five months without a huge support network, including our family, friends, doctors, nurses, other special needs parents we’ve met, neighbors, our older child’s preschool teachers and friends’ parents, friends of family members… so many people we’re connected to in this unique fabric called life have done so many things for our family. Whether it was joining me for lunch at the hospital, taking the Bug for a play date, dropping a latte by the house, sending a note of encouragement, leaving a voicemail they knew I probably couldn’t return, staying past their shift to make sure our son received the care he needed … I can’t even begin to recount every kindness. I’m not talking about big grandiose gestures. It was and continues to be the little things and small ways that people go above and beyond the call of duty that mean so much.

We are forever and beyond grateful.

Pat and I have been talking about the ways in which we could pay all of these wonderful people back. Truthfully, there aren’t enough thank you notes or dollars in the world.

But there is one thing we can do: Pay it forward. And we’re asking you to join us.

Take the Little Lion Challenge - (cool) progeny

Take the Little Lion Challenge.

What is the Little Lion Challenge? An opportunity to do something kind for someone else. At the risk of sounding cliche, an opportunity to make the world a little sweeter place. Ever noticed how your day goes a little better when you do something nice for someone else? That’s the reward.

How do you participate? It’s simple. Do something kind. We’re not talking about a million dollar research donation (but hey – if you can swing it, great!). We’re talking about making a little roar. Something small. A note. A call to an old friend. Drop dinner by someone’s house. Volunteer. Donate. Hand some spare change out. Bake something. Make a card. The possibilities are endless. Your gesture may seem insignificant to you… It just may mean the world to the person you do it for. Then tweet, facebook or instagram your kind deed using the hashtag #littlelionchallenge. You could also leave a comment on this post.

What are we hoping for? 1000 good deeds. Someone once told me you get out of the world what you put into it. Let’s put that philosophy to the test. If we hit 1,000 we just may go for 5,000. And beyond.

Who can participate? EVERYONE! Get the kids involved. Get your neighbors involved. Tell you mom, your sister and your brother, your best friend, your best friend’s cousin’s mom. Let’s get everyone in on the kindness!

People have often asked us how we cope. The truth is you would do the exact same thing if you were in our shoes and had a child with complex medical issues. Many of you may already be in a similar situation. But kids are amazingly resilient. They give unconditionally. Somewhere in the crazy journey to adulthood we get caught up in other things and give less freely. Let’s reclaim it.  Do something for someone else just because.

Make a little roar.

Thank you for helping us pay it forward. Your kindness really means the world to us. And will mean so much to the recipient, too.