The Goodman family as warriors for hope. When Craig and Julianna's first child Isabeau was born, it was discovered she had only half a heart. With the help of doctors at Children's Medical Hospital in LA, Isabeau not only survived three open heart surgeries, but became the poster girl for the American Heart Association. Her parents displayed their gratitude and love for others by helping to raise literally hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Heart Association and the Children's Hospital. Julianna was an artist designer for Disney at the time, and her company also did a blood drive that raised $960,000 to donate to the CHLA. Julianna described the event and the 220 babies that received treatment from the funds, saying happily that "they saved lots of babies." Craig worked as a principal artist for Insomniac Games, who also decided to become involved, and became a donor for the Starlight Foundation.
I am one of many therapeutic support people on Isabeau's team, and have had the privilege of knowing this family for over five years. During this time I have seen Craig and Julianna's devotion to not only making a beautiful life for both Isabeau and her younger brother Isaac, but also their constant belief in finding the beauty and goodness in life, and in giving back to others. They have lived through so much, but rather than make them angry or fearful they embody the belief in cherishing what you have and being grateful for life. It has been an incredibly humbling experience for myself personally to witness such unwavering love and determination in these two.
I would like to say that things ended happily ever after for this family, but their story was not done. Isabeau also has Kabuki Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that, in addition to developmental delays, can also increase her chances of infection. Craig's health was also challenged. He was diagnosed with brain cancer. He went through his own surgery, treatment and recovery.
A few years ago Isabeau contracted the Epstein Barre Virus. The virus moved deep into her cells, causing her platelet count to drop dramatically. She went through an extended period of weekly blood transfusions last year, yet never said a thing about it. She always came to see me happy and wanting to play. Things stabilized, and she became healthier. Then Craig's tumor returned. Despite intensive treatments and a positive spirit, Craig's health has had a significant downturn. He has become increasingly disoriented, and has lost much of his ability to speak.
Earlier this week Craig required hospitalization. The very next day, Julianna took Isabeau to the hospital, concerned that her virus may be back. They discovered it had, and that Isabeau's platelet count had dropped to 7. She was admitted and will need to be monitored because if she gets even the littlest of cuts she could bleed to death.
Julianna and her son Isaac (who is 7) have been doing their best to be with Craig and Isabeau the last two days. Isabeau is being seen at UNC while Craig is at Duke. Julianna is working to coordinate care for her family which may now include a trip to DC for a bone marrow operation for Isabeau, while still working and parenting her son. They are also, coincidentally, in the midst of moving homes and were supposed to be moved in this week.
I was talking to Julianna yesterday and asked how she was doing. She replied that things are crazy but she has to keep fighting. Our connection went quiet for a moment, and when she returned she apologized and laughed, saying she was in the middle of buying a lottery ticket.
The moment embodied what this family is about. In the midst of the worst time, Julianna is focused on hope. And I thought, why can't we be her lottery ticket?
Julianna said today, "I can lose everything but not a Miracle". This family has been through so much, so many times. Their positive energy is strong, but they really need a boost. I'm hoping they will receive it from the powerfully strong, caring people in this community. I'd like to ask you to help create some hope for this family by contributing to minimize the medical costs of caring for her husband and daughter, as well as the travel expenses to get the care Isabeau needs.
Thank you for being a part of this family's journey and recovery.
A local TV spot was done on the family many years ago, when Isabeau was representing the American Heart Association. Here is that story :
Craig was a guest speaker for a Starlight foundation function and is talking about their journey with Isabeau here:
INSOMNIAC Games and Starlight Foundation Partnership:
- Helena Venakides
- Corey Peagler
- Darlene Starr
- Darren Quach
Fundraising team (3)
Raised $2,106 from 4 donations
Raised $6,255 from 38 donations