PANDA ON! is dedicated to our three surviving children- Jesse, Jared and Alese.
On May 9, 2013, our oldest daughter, Grace, passed away after a ten-month battle with pediatric sarcoma cancer. She was an inspiration to us all. (You can read her story and learn about "Inspirational Day" at Day of Grace.) It would be an understatement to say we struggled the days, weeks, months and years following Grace's death. We grieved as a family. We grieved individually. There was so much we didn’t understand, so much for which we were unprepared.
Grace’s death was a devastating blow. After watching her battle hard and valiantly for ten months, our children lost their big sister and best friend. The truth is, they lost so much more in the process. What do you say to your children when grief has overwhelmed them? What do you do when laughter leaves your once happy home only to be replaced by uncertainty, devastation and utter destruction? It was an extremely dark time for all of us.
But, along the way we adopted some sayings to help us through. Loving your life in the midst of hating your circumstances is a challenge we all faced. Learning to live your life to the fullest in the midst of guilt, grief and undeniable loss is another mountain we have climbed together. After a while, we started summing it all up in one phrase, “PANDA ON! You can’t stop living. You can’t stop loving. And you can’t stop moving forward!” Because Grace loved panda bears, our children understood why we chose the phrase, "PANDA ON!". In the middle of overwhelming dire circumstances, Grace never lost her smile. She continued to live her life to the fullest, love her life, and the people around her to the very end. We all knew Grace would want us to fight, just like she did, for a life full of love and living!
Amidst our struggles we noticed we were not alone. There were others all around us fighting through their own challenges. Some were struggling through divorce; some were going through financial brokenness while others were fighting sickness. We saw their pain and heartache and wanted to help. One of the biggest challenges we witnessed during our hardship was people didn’t know what to say or how to respond to friends going through devastating times. When you need your friends the most, it seems they are the most unsure of what to do or what to say.
That’s where PANDA ON! can help. Connection with friends reminds us of our strength and ability to deal with the hard times in our lives. Our merchandise brings people together to build lives and relationships stronger. Our products are more than quality gifts, they are a constant reminder of love and encouragement and the strength of knowing you're not alone in the fight.
PANDA ON! believes in the power of giving and receiving love. We know, because we’ve been there.
PANDA ON! Dear Friends! We love you ~ Eric and Laura
Because PEP, our Purple-Eyed Panda, was brought to life with the special mission of encouraging others, a portion of all proceeds goes to help families facing devastation.