Random acts of kindness

Published 9:27 pm Thursday, July 18, 2013

People who have experienced miracles in their own lives often have a special understanding of the difference one person, one event or one small action can make in the world.

Amber Vann is one of those people. Even before her son, Caleb, was born in April 2012, doctors had told her that he had little chance of surviving after his birth. And if he did survive, they said, he would “have a lot wrong with him.” They urged her to terminate the pregnancy.

But Vann would not consider their suggestion, instead committing herself and her family to many years of support and comfort as Caleb undergoes a series of heart surgeries that started just eight days after his birth and will continue at least until he reaches adulthood.

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Caleb’s initial surgery was a complete success, and his mother says the boy has none of the other health problems doctors warned her about. His relative good health is a miracle, and it’s one she seeks to acknowledge as she shares her blessings with others by doing what she can to support other families in crisis situations.

Caleb’s ARK (which stands for A Random act of Kindness) has donated 15 boxes of items for the Ronald McDonald House, which helped support Vann and her family, and the fledgling nonprofit organization provided hundreds of coloring books and packs of crayons for patients at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters on Easter.

True to its name, Caleb’s ARK is not setting out to do the big things that make headlines for a few families, but rather to do small things that can make a little difference to a lot of families in a quiet way.

Vann is working to expand her idea into a full-fledged nonprofit organization, and she’s planning a fundraising car wash to help bring the idea to fruition on Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at O’Reilly Auto Parts. Customers at Rita’s Italian Ice on Aug. 3 can also direct a portion of their purchase price toward the charity’s work.

It would have been easy to understand if Amber Vann had decided she had enough to worry about with a son who faces many years of expensive medical intervention. Instead, she’s looking to bless other families. That’s a true picture of kindness and a great foundation for Caleb’s ARK.

For more information about the organization or to learn how to support its work, contact Vann at 803-7500 or calebsark@yahoo.com.