What started as a bond over the internet has grown into a lifelong friendship.
For Nikki Lang and Brittany Beimourtrusting, their friendship began with the common experience of their little girls -- born only a day apart -- suffering HIE. They met on the Hope for HIE parent forum on Facebook and leaned on each other for support as they adjusted to parenthood.
They finally got to meet in person on their way to the 2016 Hope for HIE retreat in Texas. And from there, the planning began to see each other in person again.
Earlier this year, their families met up in Florida, spending two days sharing meals, laughs and seeing their kids interact.
“Yes, HIE is what brought our families together, but it turns out we just click really well as friends. It’s nice to have a feeling of normalcy and just to laugh at all the hard stuff we as special needs parents go through in a day,” Nikki said.
Being with another family who gets their daily life with a child with HIE helped Brittany relax and just enjoy their time together, she said.
“My time with Nikki and her family leaves me feeling a confidence that everything will be alright, and a calm that although we don't know the future, we are not alone on the ride,” Brittany said.
They also noticed their daughters, Makayla and Dreaven, have formed their own bond.
“I think the girls have a special bond, just like Nikki and me. I'm so thankful for getting them together,” Brittany said.
Finding that support has been huge for Brittany and Nikki, they said.
“We have come a long way, Makayla and Dreaven, and me and Brittany. We have grown from our experiences and our daughters have changed our lives in so many ways,” Nikki said.
“To get our families together meant that we have overcome HIE with love and friendship, it hasn’t stopped us from living our lives, it has added a new layer to this crazy world we have come to know.”
And both are grateful for the support they have found through Hope for HIE, including being able to connect with each other.
“For me, Hope for HIE means that there is light in what may have seemed like darkness. It means that our children may have suffered an injury, but their injury does not define them. They are a part of a community that strengthens who they are and who we are as their parents,” Brittany said.