There was an article in the Arizona Republic a few months ago about Blissful Living Studio, a new craft store/hang-out in downtown Mesa. In the article one of the instructors, Stephanie Nielson, was listed as "the beloved Mesa blogger, NieNie." I didn't know of many other bloggers in Mesa (except for small family blogs) and looked up Stephanie's blog, The NieNie Dialogues. I was reading it fairly regularly for a while, and then couldn't believe the news about Stephanie's accident last month.
She was in a plane crash with her husband & his flight instructor. Doug Kinneard, the instructor, passed away and Stephanie & Christian Nielson are in the Maricopa Burn Unit receiving treatment. Their injuries are very serious.
Not only is Stephanie from my city, she & I belong to the same church and I bet we have some friends or acquaintances in common. My heart aches for her family and for the four, young Nielson children. I've been through a couple family tragedies myself and know how communities can come together to help.
But this is the first time I've ever seen the blogging world come together for a single purpose - to support Stephanie the best they can - spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially. I have been telling all my family and friends about the blogging reactions to the Nielsons accident. Especially the fundraising efforts. Design Mom declared NieNie Day a couple weeks ago and about 350 blogs and websites auctioned off items to go for the Nielsons recovery fund. I heard they raised over $100K. I was so impressed by the generosity of not only the sponsors, but all the people who bid on items and donated money. When I come across a blog who participated in the auction, or just wrote about Stephanie’s family, I get a little emotional thinking about the Nielson family and all the people around the world who are pulling for them – mostly strangers like me who have never met them. This is a big part of why I blog – for the community spirit it fosters and the relationships I have made with people I have never even met. It’s amazing.
I was contacted by a reporter from the East Valley Tribune (thanks, Missy& Chalice) who was doing an article about the Nielsons and the blogging community support they are receiving. The article is here and there is even a quote from me! Kind of exciting, but made me realize I had never written about all this on my own blog. So read this post, click on the links, donate money if you can (link button on my sidebar), but mostly keep the Nielsons in your prayers.
If you live in Mesa, or close-by, there is a free concert (give donations!) for the Nielson's tomorrow night, the 10th, at Mesa High School auditorium.
Stephanie’s sister, Courtney, blogs at C Jane, and has been keeping the world updated on the Nielson’s progress. I know Stephanie taught yoga classes at Blissful Living Studio in downtown Mesa. They are having a Fall Blissfest & Market on October 18th, including more fund-raising efforts for the Nielsons.