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!