27 episodes

Joy In The Journey is a podcast dedicated to supporting families with critically ill kids. Life brings unexpected circumstances, but choosing joy makes all the difference.

Your host, Jamie Freedlund, knows this better than anyone. Her world changed when her daughter, Mattea Joy, was born with several severe medical complications.

Jamie and her husband were given a very small chance that Mattea would survive at birth, but were able to share nine and a half wonderful months with her that they didn't expect to have. This experience led to a deep level of gratitude, shifting Jamie’s life as a result, and allowing her to discover joy in every day—even the tough ones.

Most of Mattea’s life was spent in the hospital. It was there that Jamie came to understand what it means to be a parent of a critically ill child and the challenges that go with it. Through this podcast, she hopes to help other families going through similar struggles. Join us on a journey of connection and learning through beautiful stories, expert content, and finding more joy in the everyday!

Joy In The Journey Jamie Freedlund

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Joy In The Journey is a podcast dedicated to supporting families with critically ill kids. Life brings unexpected circumstances, but choosing joy makes all the difference.

Your host, Jamie Freedlund, knows this better than anyone. Her world changed when her daughter, Mattea Joy, was born with several severe medical complications.

Jamie and her husband were given a very small chance that Mattea would survive at birth, but were able to share nine and a half wonderful months with her that they didn't expect to have. This experience led to a deep level of gratitude, shifting Jamie’s life as a result, and allowing her to discover joy in every day—even the tough ones.

Most of Mattea’s life was spent in the hospital. It was there that Jamie came to understand what it means to be a parent of a critically ill child and the challenges that go with it. Through this podcast, she hopes to help other families going through similar struggles. Join us on a journey of connection and learning through beautiful stories, expert content, and finding more joy in the everyday!

    A Home for Hope in Ronald McDonald Houses with RMH CEO, Holly Buckendahl

    A Home for Hope in Ronald McDonald Houses with RMH CEO, Holly Buckendahl

    Navigating an illness with a loved one is a journey that requires perseverance, strength, and community. But when you add a hospitalization away from home to the mix, it can truly feel unfathomable. I can certainly relate to this after my own personal experience with Mattea.
    Thankfully, I had the honor of witnessing firsthand the love, hope, and community that lives within the walls of the Ronald McDonald Houses.
    It's my privilege to introduce you to Ronald McDonald House Charities' Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana CEO, Holly Buckendahl. For over 25 years as a non-profit leader, the last 14 of which with RMHC, she's committed herself to improving the health and wellness of families in need.
    The RMHC supports families by providing a home away from home during hospitalizations, community, family rooms in hospitals, mobile medical healthcare for underprivileged children, and so much more.
    Enjoy this conversation as you'll hear about the incredible work Holly and the RMHC teams do worldwide. You'll learn about the best ways to get involved and receive advice from an experienced social worker on the best ways to provide emotional support for families in your community that are going through hardships.
    Don't underestimate how much rounding up your bill at Mcdonald's by a few cents can help. Last year Mcdonald's raised over $2 million for the RMHC in round-up change. A small donation can make a world of a difference.
    Key Takeaways with Holly Buckendahl
    How the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) work to support families with hospitalized loved ones. What you can do to emotionally support families in your community going through hardships. Discover the role of McDonalds in raising funds and supporting the RMHC. How spreading awareness of the existence of RMHC worldwide could greatly impact a family in need. Getting involved with the charities. The empowering force of community, especially through hospitalizations. Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/27.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 31 min
    The Inner Strength of the Heart Strong Collective with Jessica Lindberg

    The Inner Strength of the Heart Strong Collective with Jessica Lindberg

    How can we take the traumatic challenges that life presents us, like a difficult diagnosis or the loss of a child, and create something beautiful? 
    Today's guest is Jessica Lindberg, and her story is a lovely example of what is possible when you let your passion be your guide. 
    Jessica is a mom to four beautiful boys (three living) who tragically lost her oldest son Ethan to congenital heart disease when he was only seven. And if that experience wasn't enough, she is currently navigating the journey of a rare muscular dystrophy diagnosis with her youngest boy. 
    Having firsthand knowledge of how difficult those challenges are, she knew she wanted to help others. This experience led her to create The Heart Strong Collective, a non-profit that encourages people to be resilient and supports families impacted by congenital heart disease and rare muscular dystrophy.
    Today, she shares how you can live fully and freely, even amidst those struggles. She shows us how we can turn traumatic events such as lengthy hospitalizations into moments of bonding and connection. She encourages others to live "heart strong" and discover their inner strength.
    Jessica also discusses the gift of everyday life, finding community through loneliness, and reminds us that we are much more capable than we think we are. 
    Key Takeaways with Jessica Lindberg
    How to harness the challenges in our life and create something beautiful from them. The importance of community and fostering connections with your family during those isolating experiences of having a child in the hospital. How to stay present and find joy in everyday life. That there are several ways to help families battling with an illness, such as financial, research, alternative therapies and more. How to show up consistently for a family you love that is going through hardship, rather than just during the acute phase of the illness. The main pillars of the Ethan Lindberg Foundation: family support, research, and music therapy. Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/26.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 26 min
    Teaching Others to See the Beauty in Everything with Nicole Carr

    Teaching Others to See the Beauty in Everything with Nicole Carr

    It’s perfectly natural for people to take things for granted from time to time. But when you’re raising a child who is completely blind, today’s guest will tell you that you definitely gain a new perspective and truly see the beauty in everything. Joining me for this inspiring conversation is Nicole Carr. Nicole is a nurse and a beautiful mom to 3 kiddos, Nora, Aubrey, and Mac. Now that she has seen the challenges firsthand, she is driven to change the world on what is possible for the visually impaired.
    When Mac was born, both of his lungs collapsed, and he was rushed to the NICU. A few weeks later, Nicole and her husband, Chris, noticed that something wasn’t right. His eye movements seemed off, and he would often be startled when they picked him up.
    Soon afterward, Mac was diagnosed with optic nerve hypoplasia. The diagnosis was anything but definitive, and the Carr family literally had to wait and see what type of vision problems their son would have.
    She shares many wonderful and empowering messages about how we are only limited by the assumptions and blind spots that we create for ourselves and others.
    Nicole and her husband have created an amazing nonprofit called Blind Spot, which helps other families with visually impaired kids with the support they need to dream big and set their sights on accomplishing their goals. She is such a lovely human being and I’m so grateful to be able to share her journey with you.
    Key Takeaways with Nicole Carr
    How Nicole’s instincts kicked in during her pregnancy that something wasn’t right, even though the tests were always clear. That 85% of what a child learns by the age of 5 is with their vision. 75% of the population that is blind is unemployed, and roughly 10% get a college degree. Even as a nurse, it’s difficult to understand what the loss of normal life is for a family unless you go through it yourself. We’re all human beings with stuff going on at home, and we need to understand that and help each other, especially in the workplace. If we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, the people around us are more likely to reciprocate. How people tend to make assumptions or put limitations on ourselves and others to rationalize why something can’t be done, when it absolutely can be done. The amazing things that the Blind Spot nonprofit is doing to help other families educate those with disabilities. Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/25.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 36 min
    How Bryce’s Bill is Saving Lives with Joel Clausen

    How Bryce’s Bill is Saving Lives with Joel Clausen

    Today’s episode is a story of hope, healing, and unfortunately heartbreak. 
    My guest today is Joel Clausen. While this story might be an emotional and difficult one to hear, I hope you’ll get a ton of value as he shares his baby boy’s journey and how their tragedy turned into life saving legislation. 
    When their youngest son, Bryce, was only 6 months old, Joel and his wife Andrea noticed he was experiencing some behavioral changes and developmental delays. His doctors explained that since he had been born a few weeks earlier than expected, these delays were normal. 
    But Joel and Andrea still had a nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. They trusted their parental instincts and persisted on getting a diagnosis. 
    On the day Bryce turned 9 months old, they received the devastating diagnosis that no parent would ever want to receive: Bryce was diagnosed with Krabbe Disease, an extremely rare and destructive genetic disorder that affects brain nerve cells and the nervous system. Babies with this disorder generally do not survive past the age of two. 
    Without knowing how much longer they’d have with their baby boy, Andrea, Joel, and their oldest son Levy set out on an adventure they called Bryce’s Greatest Hits. They were determined to let Bryce experience as much joy as possible during his short life.
    They also set into action what would become the fastest bill to be signed in Indiana history, Bryce’s Bill, a legislation which added three new diseases to newborn genetic screening tests.
    Joel shares with us the monumental role the community around them played after the diagnosis, how to find hope in the face of heartbreak, and how to make the most out of this adventure we call life.
    Key Takeaways with Joel Clausen
    How difficult it is to receive a diagnosis for a disease that you’ve never heard about before. The experiences that they were able to share during Bryce’s last 5 months on their “Greatest Hits” tour. Always trust your instincts as a parent and be the voice for your children. How a community can support your family through hardship. The power of social media, spreading awareness, and giving back. The importance of genetic screen testing on newborns and how it can save lives. How difficult it is to find funding for cures of rare genetic disorders. Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/24.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 33 min
    The Educational Path for Children with Special Needs with Kristi Herschberger

    The Educational Path for Children with Special Needs with Kristi Herschberger

    The journey doesn’t end when your child graduates from the NICU. And when a parent is told that their child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, finding an education program that suits their needs is just one step on their educational path.
    My guest today, Kristi Herschberger, is no stranger to children with special needs; she has dedicated herself to teaching special education for 14 years and cares for her daughter, Karly, who has cerebral palsy. 
    In this episode, she shares the importance of seeking out unique educational paths for our children, and how a diagnosis can be a crucial first step towards getting the tools your child needs to thrive. 
    She also explains what Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are, and shows us how to seek them out for our kids. She also shares important tools on advocating for our children’s needs. 
    Kristi talks about her family’s journey with adoption and dives into the complexities and joys of being a transracial family, and tells her story of raising her two gorgeous little girls, Karly and Katelyn. 
    Key Takeaways with Kristi Herschberger
    How feeding a baby with bad reflux issues to make sure they add weight is a full-time job. The amount of support that moms need when adopting a baby without a proper maternity leave. Caring and advocating for children with special needs. Remembering to prioritize self-care as parents. How to seek out special education (IEPs) for children who need it, How she navigates the complexities of being a transracial family as a light-skinned parent with dark-skinned children. Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/23.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 22 min
    Bravely Battling Batten Disease with Amanda Beedle

    Bravely Battling Batten Disease with Amanda Beedle

    Today's episode comes with a bit of a warning, as this one might tug at your heartstrings a little harder than usual. I hope you'll join me as Amanda Beedle shares her journey with her two little girls.
    Amanda's daughters, Annabelle and Abigail, were both diagnosed at an early age with an extremely rare genetic disorder called Batten disease. It's so rare that, on average, only 20 children are born each year in the U.S. with this disorder.
    Before Annabelle's 4th birthday, she had her first seizure. And then they noticed some coordination and language problems. In December of 2020, both of her girls were diagnosed with Batten disease.
    For those that haven't heard of Batten disease, there are 13 different types. The main issue is that it causes the body to not produce an enzyme that gets rid of cellular waste. Over time, children slowly lose their ability to walk, talk and eat. There is only one treatment available, which involves injecting a synthetic enzyme directly into their brain, every 2 weeks. Even with this treatment, their life expectancy is still only 6-12 years.
    Amanda shares hopeful and inspiring messages about navigating her daughters' treatments (which they will need for life), choosing joy in their journey, and the importance of community.
    You can also follow their story on their Facebook page, Beedles Braving Batten.
    Key Takeaways with Amanda Beedle
    How normal and peaceful her pregnancies and deliveries were, for both of her girls. Only 20 cases of Batten disease are diagnosed each year, and there was only a 25% chance that her second child would also be diagnosed. Navigating the recurring doctor appointments, treatments, and everyday care with a lighter heart, especially on the harder days. The importance of accepting help from your community, and how showing up in small ways can make a huge difference. You can only control the things within your control. Find ways to smile on the journey, it will all come together in the end. Learning to celebrate the achievements that make sense for your family, instead of the more traditional milestones. Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/22.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
1 Rating

1 Rating

CharlieConnely ,

What an inspiring show!

Jamie is such an inspiring human being and the stories being shared on this podcast are uplifting and super helpful for other families who are trying to find the light during the life’s darkest moments. Can’t wait to hear more!

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