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  • Ashleigh and Matt Wyble reflected on the moonflower garden under construction at Wood's Memorial Church. The labyrinth at Woods in the background was recently completed in memory of the Matt's grandparents, Jerry and Elizabeth Wyble.
    Judy Tacyn
    Ashleigh and Matt Wyble reflected on the moonflower garden under construction at Wood's Memorial Church. The labyrinth at Woods in the background was recently completed in memory of the Matt's grandparents, Jerry and Elizabeth Wyble.
  • Ashleigh and Matt Wyble reflected on the moonflower garden under construction at Wood's Memorial Church. The labyrinth at Woods in the background was recently completed in memory of the Matt's grandparents, Jerry and Elizabeth Wyble.
    Judy Tacyn
    Ashleigh and Matt Wyble reflected on the moonflower garden under construction at Wood's Memorial Church. The labyrinth at Woods in the background was recently completed in memory of the Matt's grandparents, Jerry and Elizabeth Wyble.

Random Acts Of Kindness Pay Tribute To Ellie Wyble After Tragedy

Judy Tacyn
Judy Tacyn's picture
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February 8, 2017

In her short two and a half months in this world, Ellie Elizabeth Wyble didn’t have an opportunity to meet many people, but her light will shine forever in the hearts of thousands of people whose lives will be touched by her parents’ generosity.

Following Ellie’s unexpected death in August 2016, Ellie’s father, Matt Wyble, explained that he and Ellie’s mother, Ashleigh Wyble, believed there were two ways to react to the tragedy.

“Option one was to dig a hole and hide in it, and option two was to dig a hole and build a garden for the world to see,” explained Matt. “It took 24 hours for Ashleigh and me to realize we were Option Two people.”

Matt immediately started a GoFundMe page asking for donations to fund the landscaping of the Woods’ labyrinth and garden, which had been recently dedicated in memory of his grandparents — Ellie's great-grandparents — Jerry and Elizabeth Wyble.

“This family is a strong example for the very best in coping and resiliency,” said Nancy Lincoln Reynolds, associate pastor of pastoral care and evangelism at Woods Memorial Church. “They immediately thought, ‘We will redeem this.’”

The goal of $5,000 was quickly reached, though donations continued to pour in. The Wybles thought about how the donations could do even more, and the For Ellie Foundation was established.

“Through your donations, the For Ellie Foundation is building both a literal garden for the community and a figurative garden by making the world a more beautiful place through random acts of kindness,” Matt explained on the foundation’s website.

On December 14, Ashleigh and Matt presented a check for $20,000 to Anne Arundel Medical Center during an Ellie’s Cart of Hope naming ceremony. The generous donation will fund the following initiatives at the medical center.

Ellie’s Cart of Hope provides toys, games and therapy play aides for children at the DeCesaris Family Pediatric Unit. The donation of $2,500 will supply the cart for one year.

The Child Life Specialists Program supports hundreds of families every week and oversees Ellie’s Cart of Hope. The $5,000 donation will help fund this valuable program.

A peer-to-peer support program, COPE provides counseling and support to nurses and doctors when they have a traumatic emergency. The COPE program is instrumental in providing the support needed to allow caregivers to heal and continue to do the important work they do. The For Ellie Foundation donation of $2,500 will fund the program for one year.

A $10,000 donation to the Critical Care Simulation will fully fund critical care simulation training for the pediatric clinical care team. Training is provided by Johns Hopkins Hospital and helps AAMC save lives by preparing clinical care staff for more unusual critical care situations.

The Wybles then met with several leaders at Woods to finalize details on a moonflower garden, which will be adjacent to the labyrinth. Mooonflowers are significant because Ellie’s grandmother, Elizabeth, for whom Ellie was named, was a co-founder of the Moonflower Garden Club in Severna Park, established in 1996.

“Moonflowers only bloom at night,” explained Matt. “They are a wonderful reminder that, even during our darkest hours, we have the ability to see something beautiful.”

Hardscaping was completed in January, and plantings will be done in the spring. There also will be benches around the moonflowers and further encircled by crepe myrtles.

“The garden will be a remarkable place of hope, healing and wholeness,” said Reynolds.

The For Ellie Foundation also is working on Ellie’s Hope Totes. An extension of Ellie’s Cart of Hope, each reusable bag will contain basic toiletries not readily available through the hospital: a notebook, pen, snacks and a small fleece blanket. The foundation will also supply the child life specialists with extra changes of clothes for parents, phone chargers to borrow, and other items as needs arise.

The Hope Totes project evolved from Matt and Ashleigh’s experiences and the feeling of helplessness parents get when their child is hurt or ill. “The idea is to let the parents know they are not alone, and to take care of their basic needs allowing them to fully focus on their child,” said Ashleigh.

For Ellie Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and all donations are tax-deductible. For more information on donations, visit www.forellie.org/donate or follow “For Ellie Foundation Inc.” on Facebook.


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