PORTAGE, Mich. — Hotdogs, mac-n-cheese, chocolate cake and homemade birthday cards. That’s what Missy Engberts told her big sister Bobbie Leach she wanted next month for her birthday party. Homemade cards is what she wants most though. It’s what she does best.
“I make cards for weddings, for people that are sick,” said Engberts at her home in Portage. “I like to do artwork.”
Engberts said she loves to draw and color. It’s therapeutic for her. She was diagnosed with epilepsy as a child and the doctors said she wouldn’t live to see her teenage years. Leach said the veins in Engberts heart were too small for blood or oxygen to pass through. But 49 years later, she’s here.
“She has some medical issues,” said Leach fighting back tears. “There were times when we didn’t know, she has seizures and things like that, how long we’d have her and that’s kind of heartbreaking.”
Leach said Engberts went on to graduate from high school. She's even held down several volunteer jobs, working in churches and a laundromat throughout the years. Leach is proud of her sister for beating the odds. She said this year for her 50th, which is actually in the winter but will be celebrated in the summer, Leach wanted to make it extra special.
“I thought maybe we can get some people to make cards,” Leach said to her other sisters a month ago. “I said ‘what you do guys think about making up like a flyer and putting on Facebook and seeing if we can really get a bunch of homemade cards?’”
They immediately jumped on board, said Leach. She made a flyer, put it on Facebook and within a few weeks received a handful of cards.
“It starting to be shared,” said Leach. “My stepdaughter in Chicago shared it. That’s how the gal in Pennsylvania saw it and sent one.”
Leach said they’ve received some from family and childhood friends they hadn’t seen, or spoken to, in years. They appreciate every card already sent it and they’re excited to receive more.
“I feel special,” said Engberts. “I feel special about it because it’s being made instead of buying the card itself.”
If you'd like to make a card for Missy, see below: