“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
About two decades ago, my aunt and uncle headed to a Ohio hospital with a stuffed animal to visit a loved one. What began as a simple decision to grab this stuffed toy, became a light of hope for everyone who crossed paths with it. After traveling within family for years, my aunt decided this needed to be shared with the world, and so “Will” was born.
Will Foundaway is a stuffed lamb created with the sole purpose to bring love, comfort, and joy to each person who comes across him. While he is a loving companion to all, he is loved most by those going through tough, unexpected transitions in their life. He has traveled to 21 states in America, as well as 2 other countries across the world, and never fails to bring a smile to every face that sees him.
Alright, let me set the stage: February 2015, Virginia. One day, I ended up at home, 3 1/2 hours away from school (where I should have been) in the middle of the week. The following day, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. That day was the start of what felt like my life completely unraveling, and I can honestly say I don’t know if I would have gotten through it without Will.
I’m blessed with a very large family, that has more love to give than anything. Our family’s Will had been at my house with my dad, as the week prior he had gone through a heart surgery. My aunts all thought it would be a good idea if I took Will back to school with me, and so I did, and I had no realization at the time just how much Will’s presence would come to mean to me.
You see, Will is so much more than a stuffed lamb. Will is a constant, a comfort that is always there. No matter how good or how bad my days have been, each and every night, Will would be sitting there next to my pillow when I would return to my apartment. Will is a reminder of the importance and simplicity of unconditional love. We each have more power than we realize, we each have the capability to lift someone up in times of trouble and in times of struggle when they feel as if they cannot lift themselves up alone.
The road of my life the last few months has been anything but simple, smooth, and expected. I had completely lost my way and was looking for that reminder of hope. Will brings me that hope every day, and is helping me find my way. I’m not going to lie and say that I’ve 100% found my way, because I haven’t. But I do believe that I’m finding it and that I’m beginning to find joy in places I couldn’t find it in before.
I never would have imagined that a small stuffed lamb would come to be my saving grace, and I never would have guessed that Will would have had such a strong impact on my life, as well as the hundreds of other lives that have been touched by him. As I head to Michigan to spend some much-needed time with my family, I will bring my Will back to his first home, and hopefully, to the next person who is looking to find their way.
“Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the difference. Things like an orange. A visit from a friend. A simple lamb like Will.” – Cathie Rourke, Creator of Will Foundaway (but especially, my kindhearted aunt)