Bravery - Our Journey of Faith, Hope & Love

A Journey Inspired by a Son’s Fight to Survive

Up until her early thirties, Kim’s life read like a storytale....She had wonderful, loving parents, grew up on a farm, spending much of her time living her passion riding her horse. At twenty – five she married her handsome husband, and they bought a lovely family home. The first years were like living a dream.....they had a beautiful baby girl Jesse, who was now three, and they were very excited about the arrival of their second baby. They had no idea the impending tragic turn life was about to take.

About three weeks before her due date, excruciating pain sent Kim into the hospital. Her placenta had detached and she needed an emergency C-Section. When Kim became conscious, she was told that she had delivered a baby boy, but he was very sick. He was whisked away to Children’s Hospital before she even got a chance to hold him. What ensued was months of devastation. Their baby boy, named Avery, would require multiple heart surgeries, and within that he would suffer renal failure, respiratory arrests, and a Code Blue.

Meanwhile back home, about a two hour drive from the children’s hospital, Kim’s mom and dad are taking care of Jesse. They come for short visits when they can, but the ICU is no place for a three year old, especially a healthy one. Then, one morning, about a month into Avery’s battle, Kim's worst fear comes true. Her mom comes home from a visit with a friend and finds her husband dead on the floor. Kim’s father, and mentor, has suddenly died at home from a massive heart attack. Then following all this, Jesse receives an autism diagnosis.

Kim felt like a tornado had lifted her up and landed her on another planet! Her perfect little life was falling to pieces and she wondered how in the world she could deal with all this... life had always been so easy, and she thought of herself as the biggest wimp; surely not equipped to handle such devastation. But she was about to find out who she really was, not only facing her fears, but taking her experience and transforming it into a purpose to help others.

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Excerpt from 'Bravery'

Today is the longest day of my life. The ride in the transfer ambulance to Women's and Children's Hospital is long and painful. Every tiny bump feels like my stitches are being ripped out. Thank God my mom is able to ride with me, while Jesse stays at home with Dad. The worst part of the ride is not knowing what to expect once it ends. Part of me can't wait to be with my newborn son, but much of me is too terrified to face him. I already love him so much. I'm afraid to love him more because I'm afraid of how I will survive if I lose him.

When I arrive at the hospital room, Cam is there waiting for me. We embrace in a tight, very long hug, blending our tears in each other's cheeks'. He then tells me Avery is hanging on, but very unstable.

It has been only twenty-four hours since my surgery, and I can't walk any distance yet, so with Cam's help I manage to shuffle into a wheelchair. The wheelchair ride to ICU seems to take forever. I can't wait to see Avery, but I don't know what to expect. I'm in a complete fog, staring around at my surroundings, noticing all of the other lost souls with helpless, vacant faces walking down the corridors of the hospital. How fast a life can be plunged into despair. No one ever prepares you for something like this...perhaps because no one can.

I already know my life has been changed forever, but walking into ICU is a staggering experience. When Cam brings me to Avery's bedside where he lays fighting for his life, I feel the fight-or-flight instinct fill my body. I keep thinking, I can't deal with this, I am far too weak a person. My whole life had been lived through rose colored glasses, so how on earth can I be equipped to handle this?

Somehow a morsel of strength wiggles into my soul, and I realize, if Avery can stay and fight, I must too.

Avery is encapsulated in a plastic incubator resembling a see through dome hooked up to many machines with numerous wires and tubes attached to him. With the breathing tube taped to his face, I can't see what he looks like. I am only able to notice he has a full head of golden brown hair and perfectly-shaped little eyebrows, with long curled lashes.

I am his mom, yet I feel invisible. He is surrounded by many doctors and nurses trying to stabalize him. I ask one of the nurses, "Is he going to be okay?"

She says, "I don't know, he is a very sick little baby." Her response is so cold. I wish she would have lied...or that I never asked the question.

All I can do is pray and remind myself to breathe, but it is painfully difficult because I am terrified he might die before I even have a chance to hold him.

I can't help but notice there are some picures of Avery taped to his incubator. They are polaroid pictures that I assume the nurses have taken. Bright colors, from what looks like nailpolish decorate the white frames.

Our camera is at home, but I don't feel like taking any pictures anyway. People only take pictures of good things, and this is just the opposite. I think the nurses have taken the pictures of Avery in case he dies. They know we'd want some pictures of him. Many parents have left the hospital with only a picture of their baby. It's not fair. I can't be one of those parents.


The Reason I Felt Compelled to Write Bravery

I feel having Avery born to me was the largest, most important life lesson I could have ever received in my life. It is difficult to explain all he has given to me. Probably the most important is the gift of gratitude. I have always felt an appreciation for my life, but it wasn't until Avery arrived that I began to truly embrace the appreciation and miraculous wonder that happens everyday on earth.

kim gemmell writingTime is precious, and can be very limited on this earth, so I have learned from Avery to follow my dreams and make the best of this time we have here.

Just as life can be a wonderous gift, it can be a very challenging time, coming across many adversities along the way. I believe this is why I wrote Bravery. I have had the blessing to rise above incredible adversity, and feel the least I can do is to pass along my story to you. Perhaps, hopefully, it will provide strength to people going through their own adversity. May be it will inspire some to reach out and follow their dreams. How ever it may affect you, I hope you enjoy the read, and may God bless you. Thank you.

I think the expression, 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger,' is fairly accurate. I'm sure many of you can attest to that. I would love to hear your stories of rising above adversity. I believe we all find comfort and strength from such stories, so please feel free to share your story.

Presently, I am using Bravery as a platform for inspirational speaking to inspire people to follow their dreams; to give them the courage to know they can. I wish to help people understand that life can be wonderful even if it's not all you expected it to be! We don't necessarily have a choice with the cards of life we get dealt, but we have a choice on how we 'play' them.


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What People Are Saying


“Bravery could be fiction, but it's not! A compelling real life journey of one family's courage during a time of life and death literally. You will laugh, cry, sit on the edge of your seat as you find renewed faith in love, family & community with a happy ending.”


Rhonda Kirkness

“This is a wonderful, powerful and emotional book. It can change your life and perspective on life.”


Dr. Peter Legge, OBC, LLD (HON), D.Tech.
Author, Speaker, Businessman