Monday, 12 February 2018 06:33

Hunter’s H3O Challenge Continues to Reveal Richmond County Generosity and Support

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James, Kim, and Hunter Lyerly. James, Kim, and Hunter Lyerly.

In this, the third installment of the Helping Hunter Help Others (H3O) journalistic coverage, we are happy to report that YOU, the citizens of Richmond County and surrounding areas, continue to demonstrate tremendous generosity and community spirit.


Succinctly, the saga of little Hunter Lyerly, soon to be a year old on March 17th, continues from a time when his parents, James and Kim Lyerly, were truly fearful of losing their baby.  Suffice it to say that Hunter is a miracle child; whether it was by the grace of God or the compassionate care provided by FirstHealth Moore County and UNC Memorial Hospital medical professionals (such as Dr. Diane Warner and RN Maryellen Lane), or a combination of the two, Hunter was revived and subsequently kept healthy after suffering a double lung collapse shortly after birth.

Today, as a happy, healthy little boy with a bright smile and shimmering blue eyes, Hunter’s life is literally the inspiration for his family and friends to now undertake a mission to help others who will go through circumstances similar to what the Lyerlys faced eleven months ago.

Helping Hunter Help Others (H3O) is a project initiated by Kim and James to provide needed supplies, items and foodstuffs to the Ronald McDonald House in Chapel Hill as well as the UNC Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units at UNC Memorial Hospital.

With the generous donation of space and easy access for the public, Chris and Ashley Turner, owners of Twisted Treats in the Plaza Shopping Center on Broad Street, Rockingham, have made it relatively easy to drop off a donation during their regular hours of operation (opening daily at 12:00 p.m. and remaining accessible through 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, but closing at 9:00 p.m. Sun-Thurs).

Kim reports that three full weeks of the project have yielded a generous amount of toiletries, cleaning supplies, and small toys, as well as monetary donations and gift cards of various values.  Indeed, she notes that the donation box at Twisted Treats is almost half full already!  Delivery of the collected goods is set for Saturday, March 18th, a day after Hunter’s 1st birthday, and 

The Lyerlys want us to remember that tangible items and money, while obviously of tremendous importance for a cause of this nature, are not the only types of “donations” that can be rendered.  Emotional support, personal encouragement and small acts of kindness can be of even greater value to someone in the position that Kim found herself last March.

Kim relates how a particular family (the Popes of Rockingham whose daughter Hailey and grandson Mason were at UNC during the same time as the Lyerlys) made a special effort to actually leave the hospital to procure Neosporin and anti-itch cream for her during a time when her husband James had to return home for their daughters.  While it may not resonate with many as such an important thing, Kim was highly appreciative of the Popes altruistic action. 

Family members were normally right by Kim’s side for the duration of two weeks.  Hunter’s grandparents James and Barbara Lyerly, aunts Stacy Hooks, Jeanine Hanson, and Leigh Hoffman, and family “best friend” Heather Long were all there, both physically and emotionally,  for Kim and James throughout this trying period.  The continual presence of these persons and the caring attentiveness that they demonstrated were exactly what was needed to help the Lyerlys maintain some sense of hope for the well-being of their newborn son. 

But not everyone has this type of familial support.  It is important to realize that many patients at UNC are far from home and their friends and family members may not have the means to travel.  Kim cites the situation of another young mother whom she met at the hospital who had to suffer through essentially the same stress as did Kim, but this girl was all alone with no visitors at all.

The point is that, even if no particular donation of money or items is made, a simple card with a few anonymous words of encouragement and faith may serve to give strength to someone who otherwise has no such reminder that people do care.  Kim notes that, “Anyone that is out there and doesn’t think their donation can help is wrong!  Even words of encouragement in a card can be dropped off in the box at Twisted Treats.”  Such cards will be delivered to those at UNC Hospital or the Ronald McDonald House who find themselves all alone while awaiting word regarding the very life or death of their child.

“Every day that we see Hunter’s smile we are reminded of the hope that we all so deserve,” says Kim.  Help her spread the word of that smile and hope – donate to the H3O Challenge Fund! 

For daily updates on Hunter’s journey, follow him on FaceBook at “H3O Challenge: Helping Hunter Help Others.”

Last modified on Monday, 12 February 2018 07:08