People often ask me:
How did the Hope Rises movement start?
What spawned it?
I cannot believe that my journey with Hope Rises began one year ago! It has always been a goal of mine to start a blog. Let’s face it – I love writing and I love people. So, being able to tell the stories of real life people, doing really nice things for others, has been a dream come true.
Throughout this year, I have devoted myself fully to the Hope Rises blog and it’s come with sacrifices. I do NOT run Hope Rises for a living. I do not benefit financially from Hope Rises. I work as a full-time marketing / media professional for a lifesaving, nonprofit mission. I also volunteer with many organizations, I am the lucky wife of an incredible man AND I am a blessed twin mommy.
But, I benefit spiritually from Hope Rises. And, I think others do, too.
In this past year, I have been able to cover many incredible stories and, with that, I have been able to meet awe-inspiring heroes. Heroes who are very young, and heroes who are very old, and of course heroes with ages all in between!
Is there truly anything better than positive news?
My pick of the TOP 11 HOPE RISES STORIES from 2017 – 2018:
11. Young son walks mother down the aisle to his new stepdad
It was such a heartfelt photo to see this young boy walk the woman he loves most down the aisle to join together with his new stepdad. This story came to us from Mike Kozlowski of Akron, NY. Mike called out in a letter to his new son, and wife, that he is so honored to not just be marrying his bride, but also uniting together as one family unit. There is nothing that makes us smile more than children being recognized and honored.
Families come in many shapes and sizes, and this was a beautiful article highlighting just that.
This story was posted on December 21, 2017. You can find it here.
10. Woman tells her #MeToo story for first time on Hope Rises
The courageous actions of Jessica Kirsch will forever be remembered by our team. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, she agreed to tell her secret – one she had kept hidden for many years. It’s a dark, tragic story that continued to impact her.
But, after sharing her submission to Hope Rises, we felt a sense of her relief - of her pain lifting - as she stood out to became a role model for other women living with their own dark secrets. We thank Jessica for trusting Hope Rises to share her message with the world.
This story was posted to Hope Rises on October 16, 2017. You can find it here.
9. Baby escapes Ukrainian orphanage to become loved daughter
Reading this story, it’s hard not to become overwhelmed with emotion and grief. It hit us so hard that since posting this story, we have become advocates for adoption of special needs children in Eastern Europe through the efforts of Reece’s Rainbow.
Baby Lyla was just months old when her mother saw her sweet face posted online. She was dying in an orphanage in Ukraine and needed lifesaving assistance. There, Lyla had no hope until her parents did everything in their power to save her. In the process of saving her, they saved two other children, like her, in dire need.
Lyla, YOU ARE OUR HERO! If you wish to learn more about other children in need, head to this link here.
This story was posted on October 29, 2017. You can find it here.
8. “Bills Streaker” responds to the world about unexpected fame & his HOPE for his hometown
Tristan Lambright may have streaked his way into the hearts of many – Buffalo Bills fans and others – but what he did with his fame is something that we so admire. Tristan has become a friend of the Hope Rises team and for the first time he spoke out to Hope Rises about his plan for his hometown of Buffalo, NY:
“I do think that people shouldn't get famous for doing something stupid. I had to consider a better option for all of this attention and media coverage that I was receiving. People were reaching out to me and asking to help with my legal fees. I wanted to take all the help I could get because I knew I needed it, but I also was aware that there are many more important causes that deserve greater attention and support than I do.”
Tristan used his stardom as a platform for the causes he is passionate about: homelessness, animal rights and rescue, just to name a few. We are so proud to know Tristan and we love that he LOVES everything the Hope Rises mission stands for.
This story was posted on November 27, 2017. You can find it here.
7. Tragic loss of young teen spawns international movement to buckle up
Kailee Mills’ smile is captivating – her beauty and joy radiates. Tragically, her young life was stolen after a rollover accident in a friend’s car. Kailee was in the backseat and not buckled up. Her father, from Texas, called Hope Rises just days after Kailee passed, and even though we work out of Buffalo, NY, we felt as though we were instant neighbors. His voice filled us up with love, sadness and HOPE.
Hope Rises committed that very minute to helping to spread the word about the critical need for seat belt use. Kailee, we hope you are shining your light down to all of us here on earth. We only wish we would have met your beautiful soul sooner.
This story was posted on November 8, 2017. You can find it here.
6. How the Hope Rises team gifted a stolen bike to a young girl faced with critical illness
A friend of the Hope Rises team reached out after a young girl’s bike was stolen from her backyard. What makes the story so tragic is that the young girl is battling a life-threatening medical condition and her parent was also fighting for their life. We knew we had to help, and we sprang into action!
Within minutes of posting our story, we raised the necessary funding for a new bike PLUS enough to gift the girl with a generous gift card and bike necessities. THIS BEAUTIFUL GENEROSITY is why we are so proud to run Hope Rises. The photos we received from our friend once he gifted her with her new bike made our hearts swell with joy.
This story was posted on August 18, 2018. You can find it here.
5. Story about two strangers finding love on an airplane goes VIRAL
So, we admit, we never expected our Hope Rises page to go viral when we posted a sweet, silly love story about two strangers finding love thousands of feet above ground, but it did and boy are we happy it did! This put Hope Rises into the international spotlight with a 6-million audience reach, with thousands contacting us across the world. Many wrote kind messages of encouragement and appreciation for the Hope Rises mission after checking out our many other stories of love and HOPE.
Thank you to everyone who loves Hope Rises – we do not take it for granted one day, and we appreciate those who believe in us.
This story was posted on July 3, 2018. You can find it here.
4. Mother writes about losing her young daughter to cancer just 5-days after diagnosis
How do you associate HOPE with a post like this? How can you even think to go on? As a mother of two young kids, I at first read this title with balls of hate and confusion – how can the world be so good to some and so negative to others?
BUT, this mother of young Madeline, who died from DIPG, an inoperable brain tumor puts things into such beautiful perspective. “Her five days were the start of the miracle God was creating with her."
THIS…everything about THIS. Erin Musto is a courageous momma and I am so glad Hope Rises brought us together. In all the negative that childhood cancer brings, she found love, and kindness and most importantly, HOPE.
This story was posted on August 8, 2018. You can find it here.
3. Hero puppy protects owner from venomous snake
Isn’t Todd the cutest, little thing? Well he is not just cute, he is a HERO PUPPY. While out on a walk with his owner, Paula, Todd stepped in harms way of a rattlesnake. His fast actions saved his owner’s life, who would have been bitten. The bite was painful and Todd was very sick, but he made a full recovery – he had people praying for him across the world!
All hail Todd, the HERO PUP. You deserve lots of belly rubs and treats for life, Todd!
This story was posted on July 1, 2018. You can find it here.
2. Hope Rises sends two girls to prom with glamorous prom makeover
It was our mission to provide joy whenever we can, so we decided to bring an unforgettable moment to two teen girls ready to attend their prom. Hope Rises teamed up with Savannah Lennon, an expert hair and makeup artist out of Orchard Park, NY to offer two FREE prom makeovers to winners of our "Prom Makeover" contest.
You can find the stunning results below - Nina on the left and Phoebe on the right.
Nina was the star of the NBC newscast ahead of her prom (thank you WGRZ's Heather Ly!) and Phoebe...drum roll...won PROM QUEEN! Both amazing results from this kindness effort.
The contest asked girls to submit why they were deserving of a prom makeover, and Hope Rises worked with Savannah to pick the two lucky girls. We were so impressed by all of the applicants, but especially Nina and Phoebe's fierce strength and courage, prevailing through the obstacles they faced.
You both are radiant, Phoebe and Nina!
This story was posted on June 1, 2018 and June 16, 2018. You can find it both here and here.
1. “Morgan’s Song” is combating bullying across the country, and it all started with our Hope Rises kindness campaign
This story is so very special to us for two reasons – we helped a young girl, who was relentlessly bullied AND we brought two families together who now share an unbreakable bond. Morgan is the pre-teen, who thought about ending her life due to bullying. When her mother asked for kindness for her young daughter, we took that as an outlet to campaign around Morgan and anti-bullying efforts. We asked our followers for cards of love and kindness.
That’s where Mindy Davey comes into the story – she is a singer, songwriter from Buffalo, NY, who wanted to get involved to show Morgan that she cared. Though they were strangers, “Morgan’s Song” brought them together. The song, written and performed by Mindy, is so powerful that it was turned into a music video, and a nationwide campaign. We are so happy to report that Morgan is doing well, and the Hope Rises team will always call Morgan and Mindy our best of friends! NO H8.
This story was initially posted on March 20, 2018. It can be found here.
Thank you to everyone who has supported and continues to support Hope Rises.
You can find more stories of LOVE and HOPE by clicking here.