Scott and Rachel Harned have poured much of their time and passions into The Salon Professional Academy(TSPA), Holland’s operations since they opened the school. It is a commitment and work that they enjoy and embrace everyday, but even beyond the school and the salon that they proudly own and operate their time is devoted to family. It is a busy life, and during this time of year it becomes even busier as they begin work on a charity that is close to their hearts.
About ten years ago Rachel and Scott’s lives were turned upside down when the joyful arrival of their beautiful baby boy was overshadowed by a heart defect. It was a trying time, and at three months they joined hands, hearts, and faith as he underwent an open heart procedure to rectify the defect.
Their tiny son came through the surgery with flying colors and was able to leave the hospital just a few shorts week later, on December 23rd, days before Christmas.
It was a bittersweet discharge, for while they were able to spend their son’s first Christmas at home with him, many of the families they had bonded with were still admitted, left to celebrate in the hospital.
The experience affected them in more ways than their son’s now happily beating heart, and about six years ago the Harned’s decided to give back. Share Your Heart for the Holidays was named after the Harned’s experiences. It was created to help families with children in the heart ward of the University of Michigan hospital who will be admitted during Christmas. They are dedicated to giving those families the best holiday they can.
A Season of Giving in a Time of Trial
As the Harned’s know, having a child in the heart ward at UofM can be difficult. Not only is it a strain on the emotional strength of all involved, but it can take its toll in other aspects of life.
Due to the high cost, many families find themselves struggling financially, and many others find themselves facing lost jobs and strained relationships due to the amount of time they spend at the hospital. While the time spent is vital for the child preparing for such a grueling surgery, it can affect even deeper if the family has other children – something that can cast this season in even more strife.
When the Harned’s were in the heart ward at UofM it was something that they witnessed first hand, and something that they too experienced, that is why when they started Share Your Heart for the Holidays. They chose to work with the families admitted in the same ward that their son was.
It’s a Gift of Comfort and Support
There is great comfort in knowing that someone else understands not only what you are going through but has chosen to support you in that fight.
Through Share Your Heart for the Holidays the students at The Salon Professional Academy, Holland, as well as the staff at Bombshell Blow Dry Bar, and many others choose to sponsor one of the families in the heart ward, purchasing gifts for them to help make their holidays bright.
In addition to the students and staff that the Harned’s work with, many of the families who had been gift recipients in the past come forward to support a family that is currently in the ward, giving them not only the gifts that they may be unable to provide, but a listening ear and kind shoulder of someone who has been in the exact position before.
Different from many similar charities, Share Your Heart for the Holidays connects families with one another if it is requested by the assigned family. This gives them an added connection and friendship that could last long past discharge.
Each year on December 15th, the anniversary of their son’s surgery, the Harned’s and supporting families take the gifts to the heart ward at UofM, honoring them and giving them hope for what awaits them on the other side of this trial.
“We felt so blessed by God to have a healthy child and spend the holidays with him that we just wanted to make sure others were able to experience the same joy, even if just for a short time.” The Harned’s said.
Since its first year Share Your Heart for the Holidays has helped over forty families make a trying time full of holiday spirit.
If you would like to sponsor a family, or learn more about how you can help support families who may find themselves confined to a hospital this Christmas, give Share Your Heart for the Holidays a call. You can find them on Facebook, or email Rachel.
The Salon Professional Academy, Holland as well as Rachel and Scott Harned hope everyone has a holiday full of joy, family, and memories to last a lifetime. No matter where you find yourself, may you feel the holiday spirit in your home, and in your heart.