The Sussy Project

November 12, 2012

I was recently introduced to The Sussy Project.  The what?!  🙂

It happens to be an awesome organization here in Indy that drops a random act of kindness on someone who needs it.  Such a GREAT idea!  I was nominated last week by my sweet sister-in-law Amber.

They blogged about us this past week:

Sometimes beauty and tragedy are oddly intertwined. And the latter tends to strike when you least expect it. Picture this if you will: You give birth to a beautiful baby girl. She is perfect in every possible way. You have just returned back to work after your 3-month maternity leave. And suddenly, you receive a phone call. Next thing you know, you and your husband are rushing to Riley Hospital where your daughter has been hospitalized in the intensive care unit. Drowning in unanswered questions. Fearful and horrified at the events taking place before your eyes. And praying furiously for your little girl to make it through alive.Unfortunately, this nightmare was reality for Emmalee and her husband, Chad. On 11/3/11, their lives were forever changed after an accident left their 3-month old daughter Elena Catherine clinging to life. Elena spent the next 3 weeks in the hospital while the Hintons dealt with things new parents should never have to deal with – ventilators, brain drains and feeding tubes. She was diagnosed with cortical laminar necrosis and as a result would likely have some underlying neurological deficits requiring intensive therapy. Like the warrior she is, little Elena pulled through and was released home with her parents. Since release she has been doing well, making lots of progress despite her diagnosis. That is not to say, however, that Emmalee and Chad don’t deal with plenty of day-to-day struggles. They now have a new reality focused on recovery, involving multiple medical personnel (therapists, specialists, etc.) who are dedicated to helping Elena live as normal of a life as possible.Last week, The Sussy Project learned about Elena and Emmalee after receiving an email nomination from Emmalee’s sister-in-law, Amber. It read as follows:
My name is Amber Frey and I would like to nominate my sister-in-law Emmalee Hinton for the Sussy Project! About 1 year ago to the day we almost lost our first baby of the family. Elena Catherine was just 4 months old when she was taken by ambulance to Riley Hospital one afternoon. She was in the care of her nanny that had been watching her for about a month. Emmalee had just returned to her job that she loved at KWK Management Group.  Long story short, Elena had an accident that day and we still don’t know the whole story.  We spent that day and every day after that at Riley Hospital for the next 6 weeks. Elena had many major surgery’s and was in ICU for 2-3 weeks. Elena is a such strong girl and survived. There have been many challenges along the way and Emmalee has given 100% of herself every day to Elena’s recovery. Emmalee and her husband Chad are an inspiration to me everyday. You can read more about their story here: and here: you!

I spent the next hour absolutely engrossed in the above-mentioned blogs. As a nurse practitioner, I was genuinely interested in Elena’s medical progress. And as a woman, my heart ached for her struggles. I could never imagine the horror she lived through. But my overall emotion was that of amazement. When your world is rocked like hers, you often want nothing more than to curl up in a ball, shut your eyes, and pray for the nightmare to end. But through prayer and positive thinking, along with the unending support of others, Emmalee had the strength to make it through each day, with her miracle daughter right along side of her.

Amber and I decided to sussy Emmalee today as this weekend was the anniversary of Elena’s accident. We came up with the idea of having a dozen cupcakes delivered to her home, just to shake up the monotony of her Monday morning. And hopefully induce a much needed smile! Typically we reach out to the nominees prior to sussy delivery to let them know something is on the way. But for one reason or another, she missed our initial email. So to say that she was genuinely surprised with a care package from Holy Cow Cupcakes this morning is an understatement. We received this email from her in response:

This morning I received a knock at my door and received a kind (and totally surprise!) delivery of cupcakes.  I immediately burst into tears at the thought of someone nominating me to receive this gift.  I had missed the email on Friday announcing my upcoming delivery and that my amazing sister-in-law had shared our story.  My Husband and I struggled through this past weekend, as it was the year anniversary of my 16 month old daughter suffering a life-changing brain injury.  Throughout this past year, we have been overwhelmed by people’s kindness and love for our family.  The Sussy Project serves as yet another example of the goodness in people’s hearts and their desire to bring a smile to someone’s face.  Even though we are in the midst of a very difficult journey, it’s little things like this that are a great reminder of what is important.  We will certainly enjoy our treats this week and look forward to sharing them with Elena’s therapists who also work tirelessly for her recovery.  Thank you Sussy Project for bringing warmth into our home today…you can guarantee we will be paying it forward!

Gosh, talk about making a heart smile. What an absolute honor to be able to recognize such a deserving woman with so much strength. It’s no wonder her daughter has made so much progress in such a short amount of time. God bless this little girl and her amazing family. She has so much more life to live. Clearly there is someone out there listening to Mama’s prayers.

You can tell by my response how touched I was to be the recipient of something so thoughtful.  It made me stop and think that the Sussy Project sets the example of how we should treat people in our every day life.  We should all be so compassionate and kind to realize that every one is fighting a battle in their lives.  When you offer a hug, a smile, a cupcake, the smallest gesture, it may mean the world to that person.  Let us all be so thoughtful this week.

“Be kind; Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Ian MacClaren

If you’d like to donate or nominate someone for the Sussy Project (which you should DEFINITELY do!), go to their website, HERE.

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This is Elena. Our Light. You can see all the goodness and joy that shines from those deep blue eyes. She loves sneezes, yawns, industrial toilet flushes, automatic paper towel dispensers and The Star Spangled Banner. Music is her everything, specifically Moana, Frozen (really all Disney), Queen & Taylor Swift. Nothing makes her squeal quite like swimming, fast boat rides and her two brothers in trouble. In addition to her megawatt smile, Elena reminds us to cherish the smallest of victories, to live in the present, and to daily dwell in a posture of gratitude for every breath and every blessing.  

More About Our Story

I’m Emmalee, an ordinary gal born and raised in the Heartland. Wife to Chad, and Mom to Elena, Calvin & Turner, I spend most my days ridin’ dirty (literally so much trash) in my minivan carting kids to and fro. When I’m not being a Momager, I excel at self-care, cooking gourmet meals my kids won’t eat and deep-diving all the feelings. Most days, my attitude is gratitude, just taking life one step at a time.

Emmalee & Elena

Meet The Gals