Rural Missouri - December 2020 - 49
Ask Isaiah how having a pacemaker changed his life
and he says, " Well, I can't play football. " Then he smiles
and says, " But if we're doing jumping jacks in gym class, I
only have to use one arm. If they do pushups, I do situps. "
Most of the time Isaiah says he doesn't think about it
and doesn't usually notice when his pacemaker is " pacing "
- what it does to keep his heart working as it should.
Because of continued growth, Isaiah will likely have
a surgery in the next year to change his pacemaker
battery and put in a new, longer lead line. For health and
COVID-19 issues, Isaiah and his 7-year-old sister, Keeley,
attend school virtually. When Isaiah can, he plays baseball
and other sports by wearing a paceguard, a hard plastic
disc, to protect his pacemaker.
When he's not being a fifth grader or hanging out with
his sister, Isaiah is gearing up for the Christmas deliveries
he and his family have been making for years to medical
centers and hospitals in the area.
" Being in the hospital can be a dark time, " Isaiah shares
from experience. " Especially now, when you can't always
have family with you and nobody is looking toward the
future very much. "
After his hospital stay, Isaiah told his parents it bothered him that not every kid could go home from the hospital during the Christmas season. He said he wanted to give
something back like the nurse gave him.
" I wanted to bring cheer to other kids who were in the
hospital and scared like I was, " Isaiah says. " So we spread
smiles one coloring book at a time. "
With the help of a local graphic designer, the Isaiah's
Colorful Heart logo was created. Isaiah made flyers and
shared them everywhere he went. Collection boxes were set
out. A Facebook page was created by his parents to help
Isaiah's efforts. Soon, donations began pouring in from
churches, schools, neighbors and businesses. When cash
donations are made, Isaiah and his family make the money
stretch as far as possible, buying items on sale.
" The goal his first year was to collect 100 coloring books, "
says his mother. " I think he collected 700 that year. "
The next year they collected 1,000, with the number
growing each year. To date, Isaiah's Colorful Heart has collected more than 11,000 coloring books, crayons and markers to share with kids in the hospital at Christmastime.
Isaiah says he's stopped setting collection goals because, " I don't want anyone to be disappointed if we don't
reach a number. I look at whatever we collect as that many
more smiles we can share. "
One year when his family went to Disney World, the
theme park found out about Isaiah's project and invited
him for photos with Mickey Mouse, who even autographed
coloring books for Isaiah to share with other heart patients.
Interviews with area television and radio stations have
helped Isaiah get comfortable with promoting the project.
Last year, as they delivered items to St. Louis Children's
Hospital, Isaiah got a chance to meet St. Louis Blues hockey players Alex Pietrangelo, Jordan Binnington and Ryan
O'Reilly, as they headed out the door. " I about passed out
then, but in a good way, " says Isaiah, smiling.
Every December, arrangements are made to drop donations at the door of St. Louis Children's Hospital and other
medical centers in the area. Preparing is a family affair,
with each coloring book stamped with the mission's logo.
" Even if we only collect a few hundred, that's a few hundred more smiles we can give kids, " says Isaiah.
There's no Grinch-like heart in this kid. His heart is
gold and as big as the moon, just like his smile he shares
with everyone he meets.
You can reach Isaiah and his family at P.O. Box 150,
Fredericktown, MO 63645 or by sending an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Isaiah's Colorful
Heart on Facebook for updates.
photos courtesy the Mills family
Previous page: Isaiah Mills, 11, knows what it's like to be a scared child in a hospital. At age 5, Isaiah had a pacemaker implanted at St. Louis
Children's Hospital. A nurse gave him coloring books and crayons to help calm him. That was the beginning of Isaiah's Colorful Heart. Left: Over
the past 5 years, Isaiah and his family have collected more than 11,000 coloring books to share with young heart patients. Right: The Mills family:
parents Jason and Jamie with their children, Keeley and Isaiah, during their trip to Disney World.
DECEMBER 2020 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP
Rural Missouri - December 2020
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - December 2020
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Rural Missouri - December 2020 - Contents
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