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Unthinkable tragedy struck the Clemens family of Texas in April.

On April 7, 2018, Jim and Karisa Clemens — along with their 2-month-old, Julieanna — were killed driving home from a family outing.

A vehicle crossed the highway median and struck the Clemens' Suburban, killing the parents and baby, according to San Angelo Live. Jim and Karisa's four other children, who'd all been in the car too — Angela, Zachary, Wyatt, and Nicholas — survived the crash with varying degrees of injury.

The Clemens family months before the accident. Left to right: Zachary, Karisa (pregnant with Julieanna), Angela, Jim, Wyatt, and Nicholas (in his dad's arms). Photo via Teresa Burrell, used with permission.


There are no words to describe what Angela, Zachary, Wyatt, and Nicholas are going through after that.

The emotional and physical toll they've endured the past few weeks — recovery from a multitude of injuries and the devastation of losing both parents — is unfathomable.

Nicholas, 2, was released from the hospital a few days after the accident, the children's great-aunt Teresa Burrell confirms. He's doing well. Wyatt, 4, experienced brain trauma and strokes in the aftermath of the crash, leaving him with paralysis on his left side.

Zachary, 5, suffered significant setbacks, including bruised lungs and a broken back. And 8-year-old Angela sustained broken legs from the crash and severe head trauma. She was in a coma the first week after the crash, and the family still isn't sure how much brain damage has occurred, Burrell says.

The physical and emotional healing is just beginning for the Clemens kids. But they're "very resilient," according to their great-aunt. And, crucially, they have each other.

A few days ago, Angela and Zachary were reunited for the first time after the wreck.

A physical therapist at the hospital caught the heartbreaking yet hopeful moment in a photo as the brother and sister laid side by side, hand in hand.

The image has tugged on the heartstrings of many.

Angela and Zachary. Photo courtesy of Teresa Burrell, used with permission.

"My heart is bursting!" someone commented on the photo, which was shared with a note describing each child's progress and the challenges that lie ahead. "They are such special spirits."

"I’m so glad these beautiful kids are surrounded by their loved ones and improving every day," someone else chimed in.

"Omg," another wrote. "This picture has a million feelings running through me."

Through an online fundraiser, Burrell is keeping family and friends — and now big-hearted supporters from around the world — updated on the kids' recoveries.

The family launched the page to help with the massive financial burdens associated with the tragedy. "The children will need extensive care for many months," Burrell wrote. "We are seeking funds to help with the funeral arrangements and for medical care [for] these sweet little children."

Zachary, Wyatt, and Angela. Photo courtesy of Teresa Burrell, used with permission.

Faith has always been important to the Clemens family. So the outpouring of positive thoughts and prayers from people near and far — from Germany and New York to Taiwan and California — has made a big difference.

"We have been upheld from people of many different faiths and beliefs who have prayed for us and the children," she says. "It is humbling and brings peace in a very difficult time."

Fortunately, there have been many milestones worth celebrating since Angela, Zachary, Wyatt, and Nicholas entered care.

While the extent of Angela's brain damage has yet to be determined, the improvement she's shown has been encouraging, Burrell says. In a matter of days, the 8-year-old went from speaking just one word to reading and singing along with her siblings.

Wyatt, too, has made remarkable progress. Working with a physical therapist, he took his first steps after the accident. He's able to lift his left arm above his head and throw a ball. "Now they have to make sure he doesn't try to run away from them because he doesn't have his balance yet," Burrell says.

Wyatt. Photo courtesy of Teresa Burrell, used with permission.

Zachary has a particularly tough road ahead though. "We are asking for prayers for our little Zachary," Burrell requests, noting he's still fighting through respiratory issues and will have many more surgeries down the road. "He is really having a hard time with his internal injuries."

But the Clemens kids have "astounded" doctors with their recoveries thus far. And there's plenty of reason to hope that progress will continue in the weeks and months ahead.

It won't be easy. But these kids have an incredible support system to rely on — and lots of fun sibling time to sustain the smiles when times get tough.

Photo courtesy of Teresa Burrell, used with permission.

"We have all been moved by [the kids'] faith, courage, and support [for] one another," Burrell wrote in a Facebook post. "It is a testament of their wonderful parents."

To stay updated on the Clemens' recoveries and support the family's fundraiser, visit Burrell's page on Facebook.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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