For An Incredibly Strong Mother

I gave the Silver "Strength" key to my older sister Amber. On October 12, 2002 I became an aunt for the first time to Callie Nicole Slader. Callie was an exceptionally beautiful child. We were ecstatic, but Amber began to notice something wasn't quite right. After a few tests, Callie was diagnosed with a very rare metabolic disorder called Methylmalonia Acidemia and was immediately life-flighted to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, OK. Callie was in the hospital for over 6 weeks after she was born. Methylmalonic acidemia is a disorder, passed down through families, in which the body cannot break down certain proteins and fats. Because it's extremely rare and potentially fatal, Callie required special formulas, feeding methods, daily medication, and weekly hospital trips. The stressful days began to affect Amber and Callie's dad, Dennis, relationship. Amber and Dennis decided to divorce in 2005. Being a single mom was hard on Amber, but she fought the fight with Callie everyday up until she met Nick. Nick took both Amber and Callie in with open, loving arms and they wed in May 2007. For their honeymoon, they took Callie to the National Institute of Health in Washington DC to learn more about how to keep Callie healthy, who tremendously thrived and was finally able to attend Hilldale Elementary Special Needs Program in Muskogee, OK. In March 2009, Amber gave birth to Hudson who was born with a severe hearing loss. Overcome by confusion and frustration, they took Hudson to doctors who recommended Hudson be outfitted with cochlear implants. Having two children with special needs was rough on Amber and Nick, but having faith in God and a loving family kept their spirits alive. Unfortunately, on May 14, 2011 Callie's health took a turn for the worse. She was admitted to Saint Francis Children's Hospital and was non-responsive. After spending the afternoon holding Callie, Amber and Nick (along with Callie's father Dennis) made the decision to remove Callie from life support. It's been almost 2 years since we lost Callie and I have never looked up to someone for strength like I have with Amber. She has been through so much tragedy and devastation over the past 10 years. I cannot even fathom what she's been through. Yet, she still manages to get up everyday with a smile on her face and faith in her heart. She is the most caring, loving, and patient person I know and I am so lucky to have her as my big sister.