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Blog & Events

Claire’s Place Foundation Welcomes New Board Member

June 12, 2018

Welcome New Member ~ David Gersholowitz, MBA, Board Director

David Gersholowitz,MBA, Director

Read our Recent Press Release

Dave is originally from Cape Town, South Africa, but has never been on a safari or in a single gold mine. Rather, after a few attempts, his family moved to the US to pursue the American Dream. Cue “Out Of Africa” Theme…

Dave entered the veterinary field in 2005 when he joined BluePearl Veterinary Partners to launch a large practice in NYC. Working with an amazing team of doctors and staff, Dave grew the NY Region into one of the largest Specialty and Emergency practices in the country. In 2011, Dave transitioned into the COO role for BluePearl and was instrumental in BluePearl’s growth to over 60 locations in 20 states. Then Mars came knocking…

In early 2017, Dave joined Andy Loar, Dave Gardiner and Everett Smith to pursue the next great thing, which is of course veterinary diagnostics. The four musketeers came together to create ZNLabs Veterinary Diagnostics with a simple goal – revolutionize the veterinary laboratory field. We’re working on it! 😊

Dave is married and lives with his wife and two children, Adam and Nadia, in sunny Tampa, Florida. They share their place with their three dogs, Ollie, Fiona, and Kenny. In his spare time, Dave enjoys travel, driving manual cars and looking for deals. Dave earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from USF and an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Dave reached out to Claire’s Place Foundation after reading a CNN article about Claire’s Place Founder Claire Wineland’s journey with cystic fibrosis. “We all face challenges in life and I am a strong believer that we each have a choice in how we respond to these challenges,” said Dave. “Claire’s amazing positive outlook on life and desire to help others despite her own challenges is truly inspiring. I was also impressed with the hyper-efficient, entrepreneurial nature of Claire’s Place Foundation. I knew I had to find a way to get involved. I am also excited for anything that brings me back for a visit to beautiful Southern California!”

“In addition to being a smart and driven entrepreneur, Dave is a compassionate, creative, giving and energetic individual. The moment the board met him, we knew we would be lucky to have him,” said Claire’s Place Foundation Executive Director Melissa Yeager. “Dave’s experience and business development skills are a huge asset to the foundation. He has already contributed to the foundation with his creativity, contacts and insight. He is continually thinking of new ways he can help. We are absolutely thrilled to have Dave join our board of directors.”

 

Blog & Events, Families we have assisted

Meet Maddox ~ Extended Hospital Stay Grant Recipient

February 14, 2018

Meet Maddox, a 7 month old new CF baby who was referred to us by his social worker at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Emory University Hospital.  Maddox has already spent a month in the hospital due to complications that can arise from this disease, leaving the family overwhelmed and exhausted trying to maintain their jobs and take care of an older sibling who does not have CF.  Oftentimes families will choose to have one parent stay home and care for the child but occasionally we see families where both parents must work in order to maintain their healthcare insurance costs and opportunities.  Cystic Fibrosis is a very difficult disease to qualify for private insurance and if a parent has group coverage through a job, it is something that they hold on to dearly.

Maddox’ family looked to us for assistance with their mortgage payment and a few outstanding hospital bills that were threatening collection involvement.  We were so grateful to be able to provide them with the assistance they needed to keep their heads above water and turn their attention to learning the ins and outs of raising a child with CF and all of the elaborate home treatment required. We will keep this family in our thoughts and hope that they will find a supportive CF community to help them along the road as we have.

Thank you so much, Claire’s Place Foundation, from the bottom of our hearts! There are not enough words to express our gratitude for this kindness. The weight that has been lifted off this Mom and Dad’s hearts is significant and truly appreciated.  Raising children is a daily challenge in itself and then you add in a Chronic disease, it truly takes a tribe. Thank you, again!”

Blog & Events, Families we have assisted

Meet Elijah ~ Extended Hospital Stay Grant Recipient

January 24, 2018

Elijah comes from a large family ~ 5 children, 2 of which have cystic fibrosis.  He was recently hospitalized for a 21 day stay, which is not unusual when living with this disease but incredibly difficult for a family taking care of so many children while also maintaining their jobs.  This lovely family was referred to us by the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the referral reads “Elijah has been a patient at our CF Center since 2010 and was recently admitted for a 21 day hospitalization.  During this time, his parents traveled back and forth from their home to the hospital daily, almost 40 miles each way.  While they took turns staying overnight at the bedside in order to be present for supportive and medical decision making purposes, Elijah has other siblings at home, including a brother who also has CF.  The mother is a part time nanny and the father is a pastor, both had to take turns being present at home and at the hospital simultaneously with no paid medical leave.  As their social worker, I provided the extent of resources available to families through our hospital as well as referrals to outside organizations.  Although they worked diligently to make contact with these resources, as you are probably well aware, very few have the ability to assist with the overwhelming amount of expenses that families of children with chronic illnesses incur.  At this point, we are approaching the holidays and the family is having trouble keeping their lights on and their mortgage paid.  Any assistance you may provide to them would be greatly appreciated.

I was very grateful for the fact that we were in a position to assist this family due to the generous support of our donors in 2017.  I have noticed that there are not many other organizations that assist families with bills that pile up while they are in countless hospital stays over the years due to chronic illness.  Both of these parents work in service jobs and are committed to being available to their 5 children.

We paid all of their bills for the month of December to get them caught up and received the most beautiful thank you note in the mail:

Dear Claire’s Place Foundation ~  It is Christmas afternoon and I keep thinking about you.  My children are all happy and grateful for their gifts and I know it would not have been possible without the tremendous help you all were able to give us after Elijah’s long hospitalization.  Words cannot express how incredibly grateful we are.  It’s not like we spent a ton of money for Christmas, nothing major, clothes, shoes, book bags, but to be able to get them nice things without being stressed about how we would afford anything right now, was simply amazing.  You all understand and minister to CF families and that is a rare and beautiful thing.  With grateful hearts, Camille, Jeff, Makenzie, Natty, Zach, Reagan and Elijah

We hope to keep in touch with this family and send them all of our love ~ Thank you for supporting this program!

Blog & Events, Families we have assisted

In Loving Memory of Julia

January 8, 2018

Julia was a beautiful, vivacious young woman with cystic fibrosis who beat the odds for many years.  Her mother and I were at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in November 2017 sitting vigil with our children, hoping and praying they would both be able to come home with us after extensive lung infections.  We CF parents understand the path we walk together and are always drawn to each other sharing about our child and their particular journey with cystic fibrosis.

While Claire recovered just enough lung function to be able to take a train home to Los Angeles, sadly Julia was not able to recover this time.  Her hospital stay was just over 2 months and although the doctors and amazing team of specialists at U Penn worked very hard, she reached her final resting place at home surrounded by her loving family shortly thereafter in hospice care.

Julia was loved by all, especially her 5 year old son.  Many women with cystic fibrosis are not able to bear children but some are lucky enough to have this experience.  Her son was her pride and joy and she will live on in his heart forever. She will be greatly missed by her husband and her mother and I have been very touched to know of her and her brave battle, her triumphs and the angel wings she recently received.  Breathe easy dear Julia.

Her mother and I connected again shortly after Julia’s death and she shared with me that the 2 month stay in Pennsylvania, far from home, had caused financial distress  and coupled with the loss of her only child, she felt quite overwhelmed with little support.  I was grateful to share with her about our Extended Hospital Stay Program and accepted her application immediately.  We were able to pay several of her larger bills so that she could feel supported and loved by her CF Community while beginning the long process of grieving.

“During my daughter Julia’s last and final hospitalization, which lasted 2 months, I crossed paths with another CF Mom and we found comfort in each other and our shared experience. I kept her card and found the Claire’s Place Foundation website easily and applied for a grant for assistance considering all of the expenses incurred during our long stay. Their financial help made a huge difference to me and enabled me not to go into further debt, while grieving the loss of my darling girl. In addition to the financial help, knowing there are people who care and donate to this cause during a difficult economy has given me emotional strength and reinforced my faith in the kindness of strangers.  I see your face before me Melissa and our meeting changed my life way beyond financial. I am feeling much better as time lessens the pain and heals the soul. I’ve come through the other side with a sense of peace that is remarkable. Of course my sadness and loss is always there, but I am so grateful for the life we had together and for all the emotional and psychological support I’ve received during and since my time with Julia. With gratitude, Julia’s Mom

Our hearts are with you all ~ all of us walking the road with a loved one with cystic fibrosis or any terminal illness.  It can be a lonely and scary place for sure with many ups and downs sprinkled with little miracles along the way.

#CureCF

Thank you all who support this program ~ as Julia’s mom writes, it is a small kindness that we can do for others who are suffering.

Melissa