The Willow Tree Foundation exists to provide parents of medically fragile children with respite opportunities through activities that allow parents to take “time-out” from the unrelenting demands associated with their child’s care so that they can maintain their stamina and sense of perspective and continue to meet the intense medical needs of their child.
The foundations founder, Ann Schrooten, recently lost her son Jack to disease complications. We send our deepest sympathies to her. The Willow Tree foundation got it's name by a beautiful reason of the connection between parents of medically fragile children and the Willow Tree itself. As explained on the foundations website, "the willow tree is a relatively small tree without much of a trunk. Its branches are long and bending and give the appearance of being weak and fragile. Yet, when the storm rages it is the willow tree that stands strong. Under the earth the roots of the willow tree run long and wide; these roots hold the willow tree in place during the attacks from the violent winds. The deceptive branches are also a strength for the willow tree. Without a large trunk the willow tree branches are long and pliable. During the raging storm, the branches move and stretch with the wind. Ever bending, never breaking.
Much like the willow tree, parents of medically fragile children weather the storm and persist despite the significant emotional, physical and financial challenges they face in caring for their children. Over time, these unrelenting burdens can drain a parent’s strength and stamina. The Willow Tree Foundation was established to provide moments of calm in the storm by providing respite opportunities for parents so they can continue to bend, not break, and stay strong like the willow tree."
You can contribute to the foundation by purchasing a tshirt or a piece of jewelry. Their tshirt is pink and says "ever bending, never breaking". And it is so soft it could be mistaken for pure fresh cotton. Wearing the shirt with that message, and explaining it to people will bring a smile to your face because you will know you are spreading the word of Ann's foundation and hopefully making a difference in someone's life.