$10,000 Ways to Make Memories
Editor’s Note: Savings.com and Valpak celebrated National Coupon Month (September) with 10,000 Reasons to Save, a national campaign intended to educate and empower people to save more in the every day. As part of this campaign, we launched a contest asking you to share your personal reason for saving for a chance to win $10,000. Close to 500 people entered the contest, with Jessica Gaston winning the top prize. This is her savings story.
My daughter Hailey has taught me more in the last few years than I ever learned in school.
In 2011, doctors diagnosed Hailey with leukodystrophy, a genetic brain disease that’s 100% fatal. And my world turned upside down.
We (my husband and I) had to accept everything that comes with a terminal diagnosis: Our daughter would lose the ability to walk, run, dance, sing, play on the playground, swim and eat her favorite foods (which are veggies, as odd as that sounds!).
We were suddenly buried under medical bills: procedures, surgeries, extended hospitalizations and travel expenses. We were a single-income family with a sick child who needed help.
Hailey was denied Medicaid when we first applied, which we fought and appealed for over a year. We had liens put on our two-story house; a house not made for a child with disabilities. We needed therapy, diapers, a wheelchair and medication.
But Hailey wasn’t going to give up and neither were we!
I started using coupons to save on everyday expenses, like toothpaste, soap, deodorant and toilet paper. It helped! Instead of spending $5.99 on one bottle of laundry detergent, I waited for a buy-one, get-two free sale and paid $1.25 a bottle with the sale and a coupon. I learned to stock up when prices were low and saw results almost immediately.
Shopping with a medically fragile child is difficult. To save time and frustration, I read ads and clip coupons during Hailey’s therapy sessions. Then, I create a list and plan my shopping trips around the savings I find. I stock up on the items we use regularly. So when we need something, I simply go to my stockpile and grab it. I can do this thanks to coupons.
When I read that Valpak and Savings.com were going to sponsor a 10,000 Reasons to Save contest, I saw another opportunity to share Hailey’s story. And when I found out I was a finalist, I was so excited! Even if I didn’t win, I knew there would be more people learning about Hailey and leukodystrophy. I asked friends and supporters of my Hugs for Hailey blog and Facebook page to vote and share – the response was incredible. It makes my heart happy knowing so many people care about Hailey.
I was very anxious to find out who won. Shortly after the contest ended, my phone rang. The voice on the other end asked if I was Jessica, Hailey’s Mom (and if I was sitting down!). She then congratulated me. I had won the $10,000 prize in the Reasons To Save contest. I cannot describe how ecstatic and emotional winning was for me.
The money I won will go towards medical expenses for Hailey. I also plan to give back to the organizations that have helped Hailey and our family over the years. Hailey mentioned she wants to go to “Mickey’s House” (Disneyland) and now, we can do that too. The doctors have told us to enjoy the time we have with Hailey. It’s our number one priority. With this money, we can do fun things with her and MAKE MEMORIES!
A HUGE thank you to Valpak and Savings.com. You’ve opened new doors for us.