It's not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.
-Mother Teresa

Because We Care

Though we ladies who started Mistletoe met at church, it didn’t take us meeting up on Sundays to know that we had a calling to give. We all feel it, don’t we? Sometimes it seems the world of problems are so overwhelming that our efforts can barely make a dent. But then, you meet someone like Hannah. Hannah is the first child through Dreams Come True of Louisiana who we saw receive our donation. It was then we realized that we don’t always have to pick our charity, they often pick us.

We are incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to give service here in our community of Baton Rouge. Our mission is to spread aide and joy in any way we can. Joy is free, aide often is not. Your contributions are most appreciated, and yes, every single effort makes a dent. For someone like Hannah, it can change a whole family of lives.

On New Years Day of 2011, Trey and Kim were told that their seven-year-old daughter Bella Bowman was diagnosed with an ependymoma brain tumor, an answer to many months of unexplained illness.

Overwhelmed with emotions, fear, and uncertainty about what the future would bring, many questions arose as to what steps to take to embark on this difficult journey. Thus, Bella’s Red Dot Story began.

‚ÄčUpon the discovery of the tumor and the decision that surgery was necessary, Trey and Kim explained to Bella that the cancer was like a “Red Dot” that had to be removed. Dr. Allen Joseph and Dr. Kelly Scrantz successfully removed the Red Dot. This was a very risky surgery that came with many possible complications including the inability to breathe, eat, swallow, or walk on her own when the surgery was complete. Her surgery was labeled as a gross total resection. Bella’s first words after surgery were, “Is the Red Dot gone?” Ten days later Bella recovered from surgery and was moved to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN then to Jacksonville, FL for proton radiation. Eight months after radiation treatments, Bella developed brain stem radiation necrosis, a rare side effect from radiation treatments. Bella underwent 60 hyperbaric oxygen treatments, chemotherapy treatments, sleep studies, and physical, speech, and occupational therapy from August-December 2011; traveling back and forth from Baton Rouge to Memphis.

Mid December 2011, Bella was returning home from St Jude when she began choking and having difficulty breathing. Kim, Bella’s mom, called Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital as they crossed the Louisiana state line. Bella was admitted to this hospital that evening and in less than 48 hours, her ability to swallow and breathe was hindered so much that she was put on a ventilator and admitted to PICU. An MRI showed that she had a stroke, and the team of physicians realized that the radiation necrosis in her brain stem was irreversible and nothing more could be done. Doctors did not know how much time she had left, but wanted to provide her and her family comfort care. Within five days of removing the ventilator, Bella passed away in her daddy’s arms and her mommy beside her.

Bella was a courageous and strong eight-year-old little girl who did not fear her battle with brain cancer. Her unique way of communicating to the world was indescribably amazing. She gave belief, hope, courage, strength, and faith to so many. Bella’s faith was challenged by a Red Dot; however, she would always say, “Go away Red Dot and don’t you ever come back.” Although Bella is in heaven, her kind, loving, strong, sweet spirit will continue to be shared with many through her family, friends, and the Bella Bowman Foundation. The unity that Bella created amongst so many will live with us forever.

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$100,000 and Counting

WOW! Look at what all of us have accomplished. Just when you thought you only had a fun day shopping, you learn the gift you bought keeps on giving. Thank you for your continued support to Mistletoe Markets. You have helped us donate over $100,000 to charities over the years. We look forward to continuing the effort.

If you have a charity that you would like to present to us for review, please contact:

Operation 20/20 is a Christian organization based out of Baton Rouge, LA committed to bringing sight to the Third World using adjustable eyeglasses. Allowing the wearer to adjust the glasses to their own unique prescription, we feel these products are capable of transforming the developing world.
Our mission is to be servants in the Third World, caring for their physical needs by providing free adjustable glasses, and bringing the Hope of Christ.