Helen is a 14-month-old child who came to the hospital with a foreign body that needed to be removed from her stomach. The foreign body turned out to be an earplug. She continued to have digestive problems and unexpectedly needed to have an extended admission to evaluate those issues. Helen’s single-parent mother stayed with her. She’d had a new job for one week and had earned one day of sick leave. After already missing six days of work, she was concerned about the missed income as well as job security. Assistance with the cost of food in the hospital alleviated some of the stress associated with her daughter’s hospitalization.
Darren is a 15-year-old boy with end-stage renal disease who is currently on dialysis. He has been hospitalized many times during the last year and as a result his mother has taken many days of unpaid leave from work. The missed income led to a family crisis in missed bill payments. The For the Kids Fund paid utility, electric and other bills until the family could catch up, allowing them to more fully focus on the care of their child
Steven was diagnosed with a stage three brain tumor. His father has been serving in the U.S military for the past 14 years, and the mother has been working on base and going to school. Although Steven is being treated by UNC Hospitals’ Oncology team, he does not have a qualifying cancer to receive some services that other families receive. Within the past three years, the For the Kids Fund has provided assistance in the form of utility bill payment, gasoline for clinic appointments and food assistance during Steven’s long hospitalizations
Emily is a 10-year-old who has just been admitted for her 5th admission in the last year and a half for treatment for her chronic lung disease. After each of these admissions, she and her family also had to endure at least 2-3 weeks for home care and missed school and work. Her family lives 2 hours from UNC Hospitals and while both of her parents work, she also had 2 other siblings they are supporting, and they have had to miss a significant amount of work for these admissions. The family makes too much money for any federal or state assistance programs so they are drowning in out of pocket medical expenses. During Emily’s most recent 2 admissions, her family received gas assistance, and also took advantage of Parent’s Night Out dinners and Family Pizza Night. Her mother was floored at the generosity of the Carolina For The Kids FTK Fund , explaining that it made it that much easier for her to stay at Emily’s bedside and be a support to her when she didn’t have to worry about the cost of all her meals and the trips Dad was having to take between home and UNC.
Molly is a 6-year-old with cystic fibrosis who has had multiple medical complications since birth. She and her parents travel 4 hours each way for regular clinic visits at UNC and this happens at least 4 times each year and more when she is sick. Both her mother and father work outside of the home to support her but as a result they do not qualify for many assistance programs. The health insurance Molly has through her parents has very high co-pays and co-insurance, therefore the family is perpetually behind on their bills. Her medications alone cost them several hundred dollars each month when she is not sick and they are more expensive when additional antibiotics are added to the regimen. The family currently has no money to pay their property taxes which were due at the beginning of last month. Through the generosity of the For the Kids fund, the family was able to get assistance with their property taxes for this year, allowing them room to catch up on all of their other bills.
.Will was recently admitted to N.C. Children’s Hospital after having already been treated for several days at an outside hospital after a traumatic foot injury. The 6-year-old is expected to be hospitalized for several more days. As a result, his family’s finances have become tighter, as the boy’s father is not paid when he is not at work. Through the For The Kids Fund, we have been able to provide the family with meal tickets, helping to make their stay more pleasant.
Haley was admitted for a routine surgery, but she faced complications that led to a much longer hospitalization than expected. This was then followed by a stay at a pediatric inpatient rehabilitation facility out of town. The teenager's mother usually worked part-time to pay the bills, but she was unable to work regularly while her daughter was hospitalized at N.C. Children’s Hospital and in rehab. The family was running behind on their gas bill. However, through the For the Kids Fund, they were able to keep their utilities running while the girl recovered.
“Mary” is in the care of her grandparents because her parents were not able to manage her complex care needs. The grandmother had to quit work to help care for her grandchild. The grandfather was in a motor vehicle accident and was unable to work for an extended period of time. Each month they were able to pay just enough of the electric bill to keep the electricity going. The family had planned to make the required electricity payment when they realized their AC was broken and needed to be repaired. Unfortunately the cost of the repair took the money they had for the electric bill. Without electricity, the grandparents would not be able to run the medical equipment Mary requires on a daily basis. The UNC-DM FTK fund helped to cover the entire electric bill.
Nick had a traumatic accident on a four-wheeler years ago. As a result, the 11-year-old has frequent hospital admissions due to the complicated health needs he has as a result of his previous injuries. His mother accompanies him during hospitalizations and his father comes to N.C. Children’s Hospital to be with him when he is able. The family struggles financially, especially due to the cost of gas incurred by driving to and from the hospital and their home, which is in rural N.C. Gas assistance through the For the Kids Fund has helped to ease some of that stress and allow this young boy's family to be with him while he is hospitalized.
A North Carolina family discovered this past summer that they were having twins. However, they were surprised to find out that they were having monoamniotic-monochorionic (mono-mono) twins. This means that the twins share the same amniotic sac and placenta. Because of the condition of twins, the pregnancy was labeled as high-risk, and the expectant mother was admitted to the N.C. Women's Hospital. The babies were born on Nov. 12 at 29 weeks. Currently, both of the babies are being held at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. Since being in the hospital, the mother has not been able to have a job, and the father has been driving back and forth from his job in Raleigh. The $100 gas card that UNC Dance Marathon has been able to help them drive back and forth between Raleigh and Chapel Hill to see their twins. They were so grateful for the gas card and have expressed many times how much it meant to them.
“Lela” is an infant who had a lengthy stay at N.C. Children’s Hospital after birth and as discharge approached, her mother disclosed to her case manager that she did not have a crib for her at home. She was also concerned that she did not have enough space in her small apartment for a crib. Lela’s case manager was able to provide her mother Target gift cards through the Dance Marathon For the Kids Fund to help her purchase a Pack and Play that could be collapsed when Lela was not using it, allowing for more space in their small home. Her mother was able to leave the hospital reassured that her child would have a safe place to sleep at home.
“Michael” is a 10-year-old who was born with a complex medical condition since birth that required total care. He had multiple medical complications over his short life and had numerous lengthy admissions to our children’s hospital. His brother also had special medical needs and both required the services of multiple medical specialists. While insurance covered in-home nursing support for Michael, his very devoted single mother was his primary caregiver. With very little financial resources and support, she did what she could to provide the best care possible for Michael and his brother. Unfortunately, Michael passed recently and his mother was struck with the problem of how to pay for his funeral expenses while grieving his loss and still trying to provide care to his brother. The funeral home reduced the charges as much as they could and another community agency provided some assistance, but the balance was still too much for this mother and to handle. Through the generosity of the For the Kids Fund, Michael’s mother was given additional financial support to help her move forward with his funeral arrangements. The assistance helped her take the focus away from her finances and lack of resources, and grieve her son’s loss.
Stephanie is a 4-year-old with chronic lung disease who travels 3 hours each way for routine clinic visits. She had 6 visits to our pediatric specialty clinics in 2010 which meant missed work for mom and an increase in out of pocket charges since they incur co-pays and co-insurance for each visit. Stephanie’s father’s work hours in construction were cut last fall and the family has been playing catch up since. Her father has been back to full-time work in recent months, but the family is still having difficulty catching up with bills from the winter months. They owed a large amount to their electric company and requested assistance with this balance to avoid termination of service. Stephanie also has 2 other siblings in the household, further straining the family’s finances. The Dance Marathon For the Kids Fund provided assistance with a large portion of their balance with their local electric company and that family now finally feels that they caught up with most of their bills and do not have to worry about making sure their basic needs are being met.
Caroline was admitted for surgery at N.C. Children’s Hospital because of her severe developmental delays. Her mother, who adopted her as a baby, accompanied her. The family does their best to meet the girl's special needs, but their finances are tight. One parent always stays at home with their 8-year-old daughter, so both parents cannot work. The For the Kids Fund provided the family with meal tickets, making for a more comfortable stay in the hospital while the daughter recovered.
A Mother's Story
A mother had been on the Section 8 Housing waitlist for 3 years. She was finally approved and her voucher was due to expire on March 22, 2011. Just 2 weeks before on March 7, 2011, one of her children unexpectedly passed away. Faced with lots of unexpected expenses she struggled with getting assistance for the funeral expenses and did not have any money left for the deposit on the Section 8 house. This family could no longer stay in the home they occupied. If they could not move into the section 8 house this mom and her 3 other children would have to move in with the mom’s sister and her 3 children, which would be very crowded. Though the FTK Fund had recently helped the family with part of the funeral costs for the child that passed away, it was decided that helping with the deposit for the house would help the family gain some independence. They were finally able to reside in a home that was newly renovated and they were able to meet their monthly expenses.