In 2004, Kellie Haddock was in a horrible, tragic car accident that killed her husband, and severely injured her 14-week-old baby, Eli. A trauma team from the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children was able to save Eli’s life, but could not promise that he would have a “normal” life – to walk, talk, or express much emotion.
But Eli did recover, Kellie found love again and remarried, and one day ten years later, while she and her husband were playing with Eli, they watched him giggle and run and chatter away like any “normal” child. Kellie overflowed with gratefulness and knew then and there that she wanted to find and thank each and every member of Eli’s trauma team and tell them “the rest of the story.”
In collaboration with a hospital production team, Kellie documented hours and hours of thank you conversations with twenty-five health care workers who saved her son, and after six months, her story was told:
Over 60 million people have heard Kellie’s story, and today, she works as an ambassador for grateful living through her music and speaking career, and simply in the way she lives. As a singer-songwriter, she sings about hope, love, and living wholeheartedly with darkness right there next to the beauty of life.
Kellie has witnessed how thanking people not only brings full expression to her own gratitude, but can be transformational for those on the receiving end. Finding and thanking her caretakers was a year-long project, but Kellie sees countless opportunities throughout her life to express her appreciation to all sorts of people she encounters. Like the airport worker who had to deal with tired, irate travelers in a long line who took their frustrations out on her. A kind work from Kellie, made her day – probably her year! As Kelly says, people are “longing for goodness,” a kind word, and faith that happiness can return, even out of the darkest times..
~ As told by Margaret Wakeley, Gratefulness staff
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