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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

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

Blog & Events, Families we have assisted

Meet Allie ~ Extended Hospital Stay Grant Recipient

November 28, 2017

Allie is a 15 year old, vivacious teen living with cystic fibrosis.  In 2017, she suffered 3 extended hospital stays as her CF continues to progress.

Her Social Worker sent us a referral  and describes her family’s situation as follows:

“Allie has been admitted for her current hospitalization since October 30, 2017.  It is important for her mother Brandy to be with Allie for supportive reasons but she is therefore unable to work due to how far away the family lives.  Brandy’s loss of income during this admission is creating financial burdens for the family in many ways.  Even though Allie’s father continues to work, his income is not sufficient alone.  As their social worker, I have referred the family to assistance programs to help with some of their bills but these programs have severe limitations and will not cover some of the more extensive expenses such as car insurance which is due to be cancelled and is very important in getting Allie and her family back and forth to the hospital.  Any assistance your foundation may see fit to provide will be greatly appreciated.”

Allie, Age 15

Our organization was established because we heard this story so many times and understand on a deep level the amount of work lost and support is required when raising a child with cystic fibrosis.  We also understood that there were very few resources for family’s in this particular situation.  Living with cystic fibrosis entails many many extended hospital stays over a life time and is absolutely unmanageable for most middle or low income families.

We were thrilled to offer Allie’s family a grant that covered their living expenses for a complete month and caught them up on their car insurance due to the incredible fundraising our donors have done this year.  We are grateful to be the shoulder they could lean on during their time of need.

Allie’s parent write “Words can never truly express our thanks for what Claire’s Place has done for us.  I made a promise to both my daughters when they were born that no matter what I would always be by their side.  Because of all of you I have less stress about getting bills paid.  My children understand that due to so many hospital stays this year, there was going to be no Christmas money.  But, because of all of you my children won’t need to miss Christmas or go without heat.  God bless you all”

Thank you for your continued support of this program ~ as you can see, your donations are hard at work helping families every day that have nowhere else to turn.

Wishing you all a happy, joyous holiday season!

Allie and her supportive family