If you follow our Grace-Filled Journey on Facebook, then you've noticed one of our latest ideas to raise awareness for INAD, the Adventures of Flat Gracie. And we wanted to take a few minutes to tell you a little more about our latest endeavor.
|Grace is so excited to share Flat Gracie this year!|
They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and we have to confess that we got the idea from Flat Stanley. Several years ago, my cousin Troy's daughter, Madison, sent me a Flat Stanley in the mail. They live in Texas, and Flat Stanley is a cutout of a character that was decorated by Madison. My job (and I blush to admit it took me WAY too long to complete) was to take Flat Stanley on adventures, take photos and write about our experiences. The idea was that it would help the students to learn about other places. I took Flat Stanley around Montgomery County, but one of my favorite places I took him was the pressroom of the newspaper office, and I included a copy of the paper when I mailed Flat Stanley back to her after our adventures.
|Charley likes to help raise awareness too!|
I hadn't thought about Flat Stanley in a long time, but last summer when Kyle and I were preparing to go on vacation to Washington DC, we sort of brainstormed a similar idea and Flat Gracie was born. We used the princess logo from the first Grace Race, as well as our favorite hash tag #BeatINAD.
The very first Flat Gracie photo was taken in the driveway of my parents' house as we departed on vacation. We continued to take photos throughout our trip, some at fun restaurants, others at historic sites, and shared our journey with those who follow Grace's story on Facebook. At the time, we just kind of felt like it was a fun way to share our adventures together as a family.
|Our very first Flat Gracie photo before our vacation.|
When we returned home, we had several people ask us about taking Flat Gracie with them on their own adventures. Most notably, Kylie Walch, who has taken Flat Gracie all over South America these past few months. I encourage you to hop over to our Facebook page for some truly amazing photos. We always use the hashtags #flatgracie and #BeatINAD to make them easier to find.
As we got ready to put together our Christmas cards this year, we decided that it might be fun to put a Flat Gracie in each of the cards we sent out, just for fun and to raise more awareness. We are only two weeks into the new year, and already half a dozen people have shared photos with us, including stops in Columbia, South America and the Panama Canal.
|Flat Gracie met Ellie Kemper at a book signing this fall.|
We're trying to save all the photos from this year in hopes of making a book of all of Flat Gracie's adventures. For us, it's so encouraging to see others share in Grace's story. We feel so loved knowing that so many of you stop to keep us in our thoughts and prayers.
|Flat Gracie at the PGA golf tournament in St. Louis last summer.|
We also feel that it's so important to keep raising awareness for INAD. Right now, there are about 100 documented cases of INAD in the entire world. In reality, there are probably more than that out there, but it's still considered an ultra-rare disease, and additional awareness often means more funding for research, which is so important if we're ever going to find a cure.
|Flat Gracie in Moon Valley in Chile, South America.|
Over the coming year, we hope you enjoy the Adventures of Flat Gracie as much as we like sharing them. And if you'd like to have a Flat Gracie of your own, you can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information and we will mail one to you. We will also post a PDF on our Facebook page that can be downloaded so you can print out your own.
Thanks for continuing to follow our story, and we can't wait to see where Flat Gracie's adventures take her in the coming year!