Amanda's Story Touched Our Hearts\r\nAmanda, a mother of four beautiful children, had a job she loved with full health insurance benefits. \r\n\r\nUnfortunately, the high cost of childcare forced her to leave her job and stay home to care for her children. \r\n\r\nShortly after she left her\u00a0job, a specialist diagnosed both of her two-year-old twin boys with autism and severe respiratory conditions.\r\n\r\nOut of work and with no health insurance, Amanda was at the beginning of the biggest challenge of her life.\r\n\r\nThe twins' pediatrician recommended removing as many toxins and chemicals as possible from her home environment. \u00a0\r\n\r\nHe recommended toxin-free, natural mattresses, since toxic mattresses could inhibit her childrens' progress and impair their already struggling immune and neurological systems.\r\n\r\nAmanda reached out to us and told us her concerns about her childrens' health in relation to the toxic, chemical filled mattresses that they were sleeping on. \r\n\r\nShe revealed that she had to leave her job to care for her boys and that natural, toxin-free mattresses were out of her budget. She asked if we could help her find a solution.\r\n\r\nWe were truly inspired by Amanda. She was very brave for sharing the details of her story with us and there was a raw authenticity and determination about her.\r\n\r\nWhat she needed was out of her reach, but that didn't matter. This wasn't about her. This was about the health and safety of her children.\r\n\r\nThere was so much modesty and yet so much power in her words. You could tell that she was both determined and prepared to move mountains to help her children.\r\n\r\nWe knew that we had to do something special for Amanda and her family.\r\nHere Is What Happened\r\nWe set up a date to surprise Amanda, her two-year-old twins, and everyone in her family at her house in Nashville, TN. We brought with us\u00a0a donation of organic latex mattresses,\u00a0organic latex pillows, organic sheet sets, organic comforters and related materials. We feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to help Amanda and her family get the healthy and toxin-free sleep they deserve.\r\n\r\nIn celebration of Amanda's story, and on the heels of Autism Awareness Month, we have decided to donate to the\u00a0Autism Society. We will\u00a0donate $1 for every\u00a0unique share our Amanda's Story video receives on Facebook, up to $10,000.\r\n\r\nWe truly look forward to sharing her story and helping drive awareness of autism and the dangers of the chemicals that are in mattresses and other home products.\r\nAre Chemicals in Mattresses Actually Harmful?\r\nIt is best to remove as many toxins and chemicals as possible from your home environment and to sleep on a toxin-free, natural mattress that has no\u00a0volatile organic compounds (VOCs).\u00a0VOCs are chemicals that are released into the air from everyday furnishings, including some mattresses. They can emit hundreds of potentially toxic chemicals into the air that we breathe and into our bloodstream for years on end.\r\n\r\nOnce inhaled, even in low doses, long term exposure to VOCs can trigger a number of health problems, such as eye, nose, and throat irritation, nausea, dyspnea, headache, and damage to kidneys, liver, and the central nervous system, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA reports that some VOCs are known to or are suspected to cause cancer in humans.\r\n\r\nThis is why PlushBeds is very proud to be a GreenGuard Gold Certified partner. All of our mattresses are rigorously tested for over 10,000 harmful volatile organic compounds \r\n\r\n(VOCs) to meet GreenGuard emission standards.\u00a0To maintain our certification, our mattresses are re-certified in random tests every 90 days. The tests examine our mattresses down to the billionth of a particle. At a Gold level certification, PlushBeds mattresses prove beneficial to everyone, but especially children and the elderly. They are certified to have low chemical emissions which improves the quality of the air in which they are used. This is a\u00a0certification that fewer than 1% of the mattresses sold in the US have achieved.\r\nInterview with Michael Hughes,\u00a0CEO of PlushBeds\r\nQuestion: What was it like getting this surprise ready for Amanda?\r\n\r\n"When Amanda's email came to our team, we were unanimously moved by her courage and authenticity.\u00a0She's a great mother, facing an overwhelming situation, but she did not let that prevent her from doing everything she could to provide a healthy environment for her children.\u00a0Amanda didn't ask for anything special. She just wanted us to\u00a0work with her to find a healthy sleeping solution for her children.\r\n\r\nWhether Amanda realizes it or not, she is a hero to her children and an inspiration to all of us. We knew we had to help.\u00a0We decided to surprise Amanda. We had a very short window of time to do this since we wanted Amanda and her family to receive their natural latex mattresses before Christmas.\u00a0We had two days to manufacture and ship all of the mattresses, foundations, pillows, sheets, etc., so they would arrive on time, to her home in Nashville, TN.\u00a0There were also logistics involved, not only for the delivery of the mattresses and other items, but in coordinating the team and scheduling travel plans for everyone, during the busiest\u00a0time of year, all without Amanda finding out."\r\n\r\nQuestion: What was the day of the surprise like?\r\n\r\n"We reached out to Amanda earlier, asking to interview her about her concerns for her childrens' health in relation to household chemicals and toxic, chemical-filled mattresses. She agreed, not knowing what we were about to do.\u00a0On the morning of the surprise, our film crew arrived to conduct the interview.\r\n\r\nAmanda's home has a large window in the front of the house so our PlushBeds team hid around the block and waited for the OK\u00a0signal.\u00a0After the interview, we received a text from our film crew that the coast was clear, so our PlushBeds team, film crew, delivery trucks, etc. appeared on this small quiet street out of\u00a0nowhere. Amanda answered the door with her daughter Amelia and she couldn't believe it.\u00a0She had tears in her eyes and hugs for everyone. She was very surprised and extremely grateful.\r\n\r\nEveryone on our team was energized as we surprised Amanda and her daughter at her door. Amelia, by the way, was a ray of sunshine throughout the day.\u00a0Neighbors filled the street to watch as we unpacked all of the mattresses, foundations, pillows, sheets, protectors, comforters, gifts, etc. for Amanda and her family."\r\n\r\nQuestion: What has this experience been like for you?\r\n\r\n"It was incredible. We feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to help Amanda and her family get the healthy and toxin-free sleep they deserve.\u00a0We never could have pulled this off without our shipping partners, Daylight Transport and Southeastern Freight Lines, who helped us execute this surprise\u00a0on time. They were fantastic to work with and we appreciate all of their help in coordinating the efforts."\r\n\r\n"The PlushBeds' team was fantastic as well.\u00a0They worked overtime to get the mattresses made. Several teammates delayed personal travel plans to fly in and\u00a0participate, etc.\u00a0Everyone worked past exhaustion, running on pure inspiration to surprise Amanda and her family. It was one of the most difficult, and yet\u00a0one of the most rewarding things that we've been able to do."\r\n\r\nQuestion: Why are you so passionate about helping families with healthy sleep?\r\n\r\n"My passion for healthy living came through witnessing my father's decline.\u00a0He had a wonderful family life, a wonderful job and he made a great living. He had everything one could ask for.\u00a0But when he was 40 years old, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.\u00a0I unfortunately experienced his gradual decline.\u00a0He eventually lost everything he had worked so hard for his whole life. He passed away at age 64.\u00a0It's not clear what\u00a0causes\u00a0Parkinson's disease, but research indicates that it's either hereditary or environmental, and no other members of my family have been diagnosed with it.\u00a0There are still so many unknowns about the long-term effects of environmental chemicals on our bodies.\u00a0When we founded PlushBeds, we were determined to offer healthy mattresses and sleep products that make a difference."\r\nPartners in Helping to Share Amanda's Story\r\nWe would like to thank our partners for helping to spread the word in sharing Amanda's story. Your contribution means a lot to us, to Amanda and to the Autism Society. We will be\u00a0making a donation in your name.\r\n\r\n\r\nAutism Society\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Autism Society is the nation's leading grassroots autism organization.\u00a0They improve the lives of those who are affected by autism by increasing public awareness of the day-to-day\u00a0issues faced by those on the spectrum.\u00a0They also advocate for appropriate services and provide the latest information regarding treatment, education and research.\u00a0The Autism\u00a0Society's website is one of the most visited websites on autism in the world and their journal, Autism Advocate, has a broad national readership.\u00a0\r\n\r\nYou can go here to donate directly to the Autism Society.