CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — When Kyle Joy founded the Third Strand Foundation, it was case of finding purpose through pain.
“We started in 2016, when my little sister passed away,” he said. She was 29.”
Joy is the Founder and Executive Director of Third Strand, and said the death of his sister Kaylee, sent him down a path he never thought he’d end up walking.
“She passed away the night she brought her newborn baby from the hospital,” he said.
Joy serves a chief for the Amarillo Fire Department, and said the dark time in his family’s life, formed a light that’s still shining.
“It was tough to deal with, tough to swallow,” he said. “A bunch of questions that, to this day, are still unanswered.”
Third Strand is a non-profit organization providing breast milk for babies who’ve lost their mother’s, or whose mother’s can’t breast feed due to life threatening illness, such as cancer.
“Through this journey we discovered that there’s more babies who need milk,” Joy said.
Meet Third Strand customer Sadye Casas.
“When I was 18, I got tested for the bracket gene, the breast cancer gene, and I unfortunately have it,” she said. “In 2017, I had a prophylactic double mastcectomy, and with that, you can’t breast feed.”
She and her husband Octavio, said being able to give their daughter Mia a better source of nutrition is a blessing.
“A fed baby is a good baby, and I knew we would be able to get the extra nutrients from the breast milk, we were super relieved,” she said.
Each Third Strand shipment of milk comes with a two month supply, and with little Mia consuming about 20 ounces of milk a day, it’s a relief and a time saver.
“They just come to your house, they deliver it on ice, you put it in the deep freeze,” she said.
“It’s pretty simple, it’s pretty easy to just get it out for her, warm it up and she’s ready to go,” Octavio Casas told us.
Finding purpose through pain is no easy task.
“In February 2018, I had a completely normal pregnancy, we went to the doctor on a Monday morning, I was four days shy of my due date,” said Lindsey Risdon, Third Strand Board Member and Donor Mom. “And we found out Kerrigan no longer had a heartbeat.”
But for some families like the Risdons, who lost their daughter, it’s a necessary component on the road to healing.
“Losing a child was the worst thing I could’ve ever imagined going through, but being able to find purpose in that, it became a beautiful way for me to process that grief,” she said.
Risdon has two girls now, and says through faith and determination, she was able to turn grief into a gift.
“I wasn’t going to bet to make those memories with this baby that we had longed for and prayed for, expected,” she said. “To be able to do something out of that, that would give another family the opportunity to make those memories, there’s no words for it.”
All of it, for one purpose.
“Our mission is to feed babies,” Kyle Joy said. “Our purpose is to serve and love others.”