Who is Warter Strong?
This past August 2018, our Brady-Bunch-like family went on our “family-moon” with our kids...
Let me back up.
Nine months ago, November 2017 Jeff and I were married.
Three months ago, May 2018 we lost our son Ryan unexpectedly.
Two months ago, August 2018 the Warter Strong Foundation (that we create in celebration of our wedding and in memory of my late husband, Oren) became official.
Our heads were spinning as we tried to make sense of the world in front of us and find our footing and new direction... this time without both Oren and Ryan in our world.
We sat with our kids at dinners that week, aware of the empty space at the table every night and began to brainstorm with our amazing “focus group” about Warter Strong and our vision.
We knew Warter Strong needed to have a defined focus... beyond just fundraising and we knew that focus needed must be tied into happiness or strength as we worked hard to achieve that everyday. And as we tossed around catch phrases...each one getting voted down faster than the next, our son Zach offered up “how about do happy”?
That was perfect.
Our campaign was set and the tie in to what we had already begun to do was seamless.
Our family has been dealing with challenges since 2014 when Oren Warter was diagnosed with Leukemia. Actually we had to learn how to live with life's challenges starting back in October 2000 when our son Ryan was born with multiple medical and developmental challenges.
We have been through so many tragedies and triumphs over the years. So many people would tell me that I am so strong. And it always bothered me. I never saw myself as strong, rather I felt that I was making a choice... I was choosing to find ways to still do happy things despite what came my way. And when Zach used the term “Do Happy”, his words resonated.
We understand that its not easy to be happy when you are watching a friend or loved one battle an illness.
It isn't easy feel happy when you see your child struggle
It isn't easy to choose happy when you dont have the financial means to provide for your family.
But everyday, you can wake up and decide to do something happy. Happy can live along side sad and fear and anger and loss. Happy is so much more than a feeling or a state of mind...
You can cuddle on the coach with your dogs.
You can go for a run. Or practice yoga. Or dance..
You can help a friend. Or neighbor. Or stranger...
HAPPY IS A VERB
It is a call to action.
It is a choice.
It is empowering.
What began as a bone marrow drive in honor of my late husband Oren in the fall of 2014 and what became fueled by the loss of our son Ryan in may 2018 has taken shape into something beautiful.
Warter Strong is a 501 (3) (c) organization. Our mission is to empower people to find their own “happy” and support like-minded charities committed to helping people “do happy” every day. We are so proud and excited about everything we have accomplished in such a short time and look forward to the journey of watching Warter Strong grow, develop and unfold as we are able to help more and more people. We are constantly looking for new opportunities...
With much gratitude,
Barbara and the Warter Sarrett Crew