Care for Clare

On Children

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable. ~ Khalil Gibran

Clare, our firstborn,  graduated magna cum laude from Fairfield University in 2013.  She worked as a Legal Assistant in Tarrytown, NY after graduation.  She was selected to participate in the ELCA's Young Adults in Global Mission Program in 2015.
Two years ago, Clare returned from a service year, a year of accompaniment in Jerusalem/West Bank.  Full of energy and enthusiasm, she began to seek a job, without any luck.  Doing odd jobs and traveling to share the story of her year, she turned her sights on Graduate school and was accepted at Yale Divinity, Union Theological Seminary and Hunter School of Social Work.  She settled on NYC for a dual degree in Theology and Social Work, and to become an ordained Lutheran pastor, like her Papa.
 Our house was abuzz with excitement!  In April of 2016, she began to experience a variety of GI symptoms and went through a barrage of tests.  She was diagnosed with several things ( SIBO, reflux and gastroparesis)and given prescriptions to address symptoms but never felt better and proceeded to lose weight.  This was to be her last year on her parents insurance and we were determined to get at the root of what was going on.  The week before she moved to NYC, the doctor ordered a vascular ultrasound as a last ditch effort to rule out a rare genetic condition.  

The week she moved to NYC she got the results....positve for MALS (Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome).  She was told that she could take a variety of prescriptions to get through the semester and plan to have surgery (the only cure) over winter break.  The aforementioned diagnoses were believed to have been caused by the underlying MALS.  One week into classes, she had a severe allergic reaction to one of the medications and needed to take a medical leave.  We were blessed to learn that the premier surgeon for this operation was Dr. Hsu who has an office in our hometown!  Surgery was on October 20, 2016 at St. Vincent's in Bridgeport...she was on a floor where the nurses were shocked she was a native of the area as all other patients were coming from around the country for Dr. Hsu.   Recovery was brutal...8 days in-patient then 2 1/2 months at home...Clare took her recovery time to re-evaluate her future and made a decision to transfer to Pacific Lutheran Seminary in Berkeley, CA.  Unable to work due to her surgery, not to mention the poor job opportunities in CT, she started looking for a job in January and again, no luck.  So she continued to do odd jobs but no steady income.  She did receive a full tution scholarship but still needed that summer job to help with health insurance, room and board, books, computer and travel expenses. She had the promise of returning to her old summer position when she was hit with another health crisis.  She awoke in the middle of the night on July 3rd and was taken by ambulance to St. Vincent's again.  She required emergency gall bladder surgery that night.  Her recovery is taking longer than is typical due to the surgery she had in October.  

Clare is one of the most amazing young women we have ever met...if we do say so ourselves.  She has weathered many challenges in her life and is always up for the fight.  We encourage those that want to get to know her more to check out her blog at  

It is with a tentative and heavy heart that this request for support goes out. She leaves on August 24th and will start orientation and classes the following week! If we could do it ourselves, we would. We do believe that Clare is destined to continue to do great things with this life she has been given.  We welcome any questions  you may have.  We ask you to consider helping her to continue her journey.   We are deeply grateful for every gift, wish and prayer.


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Noelle McElaney 
Stratford, CT
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