Local family in need: The Benins

Okay…I’m going to tug at your heart strings again this week.  I received the email below and I realized right away that any problems I have are MINISCULE in comparison.

The bottom line:  This family just moved from Mississippi to Atlanta about a year ago and their family support lives far away.   This summer they were in an auto accident while vacationing in France.   The PREGNANT mom experienced the worst injuries including brain damage.  She is still pregnant and the unborn child is believed to be fine!  The email from the Dad below goes into more detail but explains that the dad has a new job and there are also two small children to care for and the mother isn’t able to care for them by herself yet.   They are members at the St. Jude Catholic Church parish and I think I read that their small children attend preschool there.

They need help with meals and transportation to physical therapy for the mom.   All the details of their needs are on the care calendar.   They live near the Peachtree Golf course in N. Brookhaven/Chamblee…which is fairly close to Murphey Candler Park.   Their address details can also be found on the care calendar.


Calendar ID: 49010

Security Code: 6449

I do not know this family but if you want to find other ways you can help other than what is on the care calendar I’d suggest that you contact the St. Teresa’s Circle organization:  http://www.stjudeatlanta.net/index.cfm?load=page&page=227)

Let’s show the Benin family what Dunwoody can do for them!

Audra Signature

As many of you already know, the Benin family was in a terrible car accident this summer and Rachel suffered a traumatic brain injury.  She has 2 small children and is pregnant with her third.  The Benin’s are relatively new to the Atlanta area & to St. Jude.  They do not have a big support group as both of their families are far away.  They will need help with meals, transportation to the doctor and childcare.  All of their needs will be posted on the Care Calendar.  Rachel is not able to be left alone or care for her children by herself.  She is still undergoing a lot of therapy. Please take some time, to sign up and help.


Calendar ID: 49010

Security Code: 6449

Dear Family and Friends,

On Sunday “Nanny” and “Pa Paw” with Rebecca and Joey Ray in toe met us in Oxford, Alabama for a joyous reunification of our family. We spent the afternoon enjoying each other’s company in and around the hotel pool before departing for “home” in Atlanta. Rebecca and Joey were so excited to see their old room and toys!

We are grateful to each and every one of you for what you have done, but we are especially grateful to Rachel’s Mom and Dad for caring for our two children this past month (and oh so many folks in and around McComb, MS, for their outpouring of support as well!).

Monday Rachel began the long-term rehabilitation program at Shepherd Pathways, an outstanding comprehensive outpatient center. She will be going three times a week for three to five hours at a time. She primarily works with a speech therapist for cognition, a physical therapist for strength and balance, and an occupational therapist for activities of daily living (and ultimately relearning how to drive). It is exhausting on her as they push her to her physical and cognitive limits in an effort to increase them. Fortunately she has also been assigned to the relaxation group which she looks forward to attending weekly – I think we all could benefit from that one! From the outside she almost appears 100% (she still can’t raise her right arm or bear much weight with it), but internally she remains injured. Please pray for her full recovery – of both body and mind!

Today we met with the OB and he believes things continue to go as well as knowable for the baby. We’ll be seeing him twice in the next six weeks to keep tabs on the baby’s physiology.

Our local support here in Atlanta is being coordinated primarily from our parish, St. Jude. The St. Theresa’s Circle (http://www.stjudeatlanta.net/index.cfm?load=page&page=227) has set up a “Care Calendar” for us and we will be posting our needs there. Rachel wishes she could have been more involved with them previously and hopes to be more active with them sooner rather than later but we are so grateful for their efforts and desire to organize our meal, transportation, and child care aid. The sign on information is below. If you are local, please check there for ideas to assist us (for example, Rachel needs transportation to/from Shepherd Pathways next Tuesday) – and feel free to pass on to other charitable folks in the area as our “circle of Atlanta friends” has a fairly small radius having been here just a year and we could really use some assistance! Please also check back from time to time – ultimately we hope to shift to posting updates there, too, to keep your inboxes more tidy!

If there is one thing I’ve experienced this week is that there is no way I can handle all this alone (I knew this all along and only *experienced* it more recently). On a personal note, this is why I am ever thankful for such great family and friends in this world (you!). On a practical note, I am very thankful for the initiative taken by the Godfreys in arranging for their baby sitter (it is the first time she has left WI and is still adjusting) to spend the next month living with us to keep us from descending into utter chaos (as the medical professionals at Shepherd have reaffirmed that Rachel shouldn’t be alone with the kids, things are quickly (and sometimes unexpectedly) too “loud” and “busy seeming” for her brain, and she has to take “brain breaks” throughout the day – she can perform most of her own care now when she feels well but sometimes needs assistance). I also hope to return to my studies during normal waking hours and hopefully finally get through the last of my old mail. Sorry I haven’t written too much to anybody as I’ve just been too busy or exhausted. I’ve been blessed with an amazing boss, group of co-workers (even if they are 1,001 miles away right now), and advisor (~ 4,531 miles away – now – but right there when it mattered). I have been hesitant to call out people for praise since I have experienced nothing but the greatest of love and concern from every one (and this e-mail would be much, much longer if I listed each person); one is always apt to exclude someone significant (especially since I am also recuperating); and I do not want to interfere with the greater reward offered (cf Matt 6:3-4). When all is said and done I hope to be able to contact each person who has contacted us and thank you personally… in the meantime please accept my “collective” thanks!

Finally… please pray for us as a family that we can find the patience and understanding to persevere through this trial and walk away from this stronger and more permanently bonded than ever before – and that our children forgo any further duress (It was a little disturbing when my daughter grabbed my leg and wouldn’t let go for 90 seconds and had to be coddled for a couple of minutes when a siren went off in our apartment – very ugly flashbacks for both of us). Healing of all (mind, body, and soul) for all – that’s the goal!

Love and Gratitude,

Joe, Rachel, Rebecca, Joey, and Baby