Sylvia Cobble McKelvey knows better than most the healing power of helping others. McKelvey was grief-stricken after the death of her husband and was having trouble moving forward.
She was approached by a young mother after church on Sunday about starting a Bible study. McKelvey set the idea aside until the next week, when the pastor presented her with three bags of supplies to start the Bible study.
McKelvey held her first Bible study in September 2012.
“After meeting with them for three months, I saw so many needs,” said McKelvey.
On January 3, 2013, with the help of her two daughters, Anna Tetreault and Shonda Jones, both Bartlett residents, she founded the non-profit organization 3 Wishes for Her. Since that time, 3 Wishes for Her has touched the lives of about 250 women.
The organization provides spiritual, emotional and physical support for women whose children are critically ill or who have life-altering illnesses, as well as those who are grieving the loss of a child.
On Saturday, Oct. 7, the group held a Gala & Community Awareness Day at Fellowship Baptist Church of Quito in Millington.
McKelvey was honored at the celebration, during which it was announced that she was retiring from her career as an IT professional to dedicate herself full-time to the mission of 3 Wishes for Her.
The church’s family life center was filled with women who have participated in 3 Wishes for Her, like Cori Ringwald, who has three sons, each affected with a serious, lifelong medical condition. She said 3 Wishes for Her has helped her in many ways.
“The love that comes from it and the support is nothing you can imagine,” Ringwald said.
Sharing their experiences and pain is something that bonds the women. “I have people I can talk to, people who don’t judge,” Ringwald said. “Whether you are dealing with 100 doctors’ appointments or the death of a child.”
Isabella Rodriguez got involved in the group after the death of her 3-year-old daughter, Sara. She said friends at her church recommended she attend a 3 Wishes for Her meeting.
“They really helped me look more toward having more faith and how to stay strong,” Rodriguez said. “I tried to see how they were doing and to learn from them, and they learned from me.”
The organization operates on word-of-mouth referrals mostly from participants, both past and present, though a couple of Memphis doctors also are sending mothers to the group.
Ringwald said she was invited to a meeting by Theresa Hargrove, a mother whose daughter, Zadie, developed a rare blood disease. Hargrove leads a group in Tipton County and also serves as resource coordinator for the organization.
Hargrove emceed Saturday’s event. She said her daughter’s health problems began in 2012 and that joining the group changed her life.
“Sometimes all you have to hold onto is hope,” Hargrove said during her comments.
“Angel Mommies,” mothers in the group whose children have died, wore special pins and were recognized during the event. “It’s a very brave thing to get up and talk about this,” Hargrove said.
At the podium, Hargrove talked about the struggles the Angel Mommies have faced. They are often told to move on, that they can have other children, or that they should throw themselves into charity work, she explained.
“What they want to hear is ‘I will walk with you,’” Hargrove said.
Rodriguez shared her daughter’s story with the audience.
Millington Mayor Terry Jones was on hand, and read a proclamation declaring Oct. 9, 2017 as 3 Wishes for Her Day.
McKelvey explained that Jones told her later the date on the proclamation was wrong, and should have been October 7.
“We all think it was meant to be,” she said. “October 9, 2017 is a Monday and Mondays are special to us. We have our Manic Monday Night meetings, so it’s a fitting date for us.”
The Monday night meetings came about because the first group of women decided they wanted to start the week off together.
Toward the end of Saturday’s program, Hargrove announced the beginning of the Holiday Gift Drive.
During the year, 3 Wishes for Her provides support to its members with gift cards for thing like gas and groceries, but with the holidays coming up, they are trying to gather personal items and gift cards for things women might enjoy.
McKelvey said it’s her hope that 3 Wishes for Her will continue to grow and have meetings in other locations. The group is working with women in Jamaica to start meetings there.
“The long-term for 3 Wishes for Her is to reach out to women all across the globe, that are walking the same journey,” McKelvey said.
For more information about 3 Wishes for Her, visit 3wishesforher.org.
SUZANNE THOMPSON COZZA is a freelance writer who writes occasionally for The Bartlett Express and other Journal West 10 Media LLC publications. Contact her at <a href=”email@example.com.