Keep Swimming Foundation is beyond thrilled to announce the recipients of our 2019 Q1 grant period! The following families experienced a financial hardship due to the non-medical debt they took on as a result of their loved one’s medical crisis, and were later selected by our Board of Directors to receive financial aid in their time of need.
In total, Keep Swimming Foundation’s Board of Directors selected five families this quarter to receive a combined $10,200 of financial relief.
Family #1 – Crescent City, CA – Recipients of a $3,000 Grant
In October 2018, this family’s infant son began having seizures. He was rushed to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with Sturge-Weber Syndrome, a condition that negatively impacts the development of blood cells, thus causing issues in the brain, skin and eyes. The child was later transferred seven hours south to a specialty hospital in Oakland, after the family learned that only one hospital in northern California would take their son’s case. While at the hospital, they learned that he would also need to have 100cm of his colon removed, due to a diagnosis of another rare disease.
For weeks, the father drove seven hours between Oakland and their home to care for their son and also work as many shifts of his healthcare-related job as he could. Finally, after exhausting all of his vacation time and after seeing his son slowly decline, he opted to use his unpaid FMLA time to be with his family in the hospital, where his son will remain for, at least, another two months.
In addition to their application, thirteen nurses and technicians wrote letters to Keep Swimming Foundation to serve as a referral for this family. They raved about the family’s character. One nurse wrote, “I have had the privilege of working with children both in and out of the healthcare setting for over ten years. In that time, I have been fortunate enough to spend a significant amount of time getting to know kids and their respective families. I can honestly say there is no family more deserving of recognition for their courage, love and sacrifices than that of the [Redacted for Privacy] Family.” Another nurse wrote, “It is so impressive the way [his] parents sleep at the bedside and provide care for him day and night. He requires painful dressing changes every two to three hours around the clock. [He] cries during these dressing changes and his parents get up every few hours in the day and night to comfort him, sing to him, read to him, hold him during these dressing changes as well as assist with the actual cleaning and redressing of his wounds. They actively participate in his physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. They assist with daily baths, washing his clothes and the weekly line dressing changes.”
This grant will enable the family to afford many of the non-medical expenses they have been struggling to afford, such as bedside meals and lodging.
Family #2 – Batesville, AR – Recipients of a $3,000 Grant
On December 28, 2018, two boys were born prematurely in a small town in Arkansas. After an emergency cesarean section, the parents were told that one needed to be rushed to a hospital two hours away in Little Rock. The family learned that their son needed emergency surgery to repair an esophageal atresia, a congenital birth defect in which both ends of the esophagus do not connect, leaving a disconnect to the stomach. Their son survived the surgery, but ultimately, the surgery was unsuccessful. At this point, the doctors discovered several holes in his heart, as well as an esophageal fistula, a condition in which there is little to no separation from the trachea and the esophagus. Their son later received another surgery to repair the fistula.
Between January and March, their son received several surgeries in an attempt to repair a list of congenital-related issues, including a procedure on his liver. During this window, the father was laid off from his job, and they sold their car in an attempt to make ends meet. After the staggering amount of non-medical and medical-related debt the family took on, they found themselves two months behind on their mortgage (going on three) and were at risk of losing their home.
Keep Swimming Foundation’s grant will provide needed mortgage payments and $500 for bedside meals going forward, as their son is expected to remain hospitalized for several more weeks.
Family #3 – Kansas City, MO – Recipients of a $1,500 Grant
This family’s infant son was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a condition in which the left side of the heart does not develop properly. Between January and late February 2019, their son remained in a Kansas City pediatric hospital as he underwent various procedures and monitoring to repair the left side of his heart. He has since been discharged, but is expected to undergo another major procedure in April, which will cause the family to spend another extended stay in the hospital.
During this stay, the mother left her job and the father significantly cut his work schedule back so that they could be with their son in the hospital around the clock each week.
This grant will help the family pay off a large chunk of the debt they took on while caring for their son in the hospital.
Family #4 – Corning, NY – Recipients of a $1,500 Grant
Originally from the southwest region of New York, this family’s teenage daughter (who is battling Cystic Fibrosis and waiting for a new pair of lungs) is receiving specialty care in Cleveland.
The patient’s single mother works a full-time job in New York so that her daughter can have the insurance she needs. After work each Friday, the mother drives five hours to Cleveland where she spends the weekend and the majority of each Monday with her daughter, before driving back to New York to work full-time between Tuesday and Friday. The mother has repeated this process every week since late December 2018.
This grant will enable the mother to afford the gasoline needed to make these extended trips from New York to Cleveland throughout the coming months while her daughter waits for a new pair of lungs in the Cleveland hospital.
Family #5 – Mt. Vernon, IL – Recipients of a $1,200 Grant
This family’s one-year-old son was diagnosed with end-stage liver failure. Additional testing showed that he needed not only a liver transplant, but also a small bowel and pancreas transplant.
For months, this family drove to St. Louis weekly for check-up appointments and labs, until their son grew sicker and spent the majority of 2018 in a St. Louis hospital. In October 2018, the family was referred and transferred to a pediatric transplant center in Pittsburgh, PA. On Thanksgiving Day, their son received his transplants. Due to complications with the transplants, the child’s mother stayed with him in Pittsburgh and the father remained home with their other child until the family was eventually discharged from the hospital on January 31, 2019.
Currently, the child and his mother are in a step-down rehabilitation facility and they plan on returning to their Illinois home in the coming weeks.
This grant will help the mother afford the non-medical expenses she faces while caring for her son in Pittsburgh.
Keep Swimming Foundation is only able to help these families because of the generous support we receive each quarter from our incredible donors. Please consider making a donation today by clicking the link below so that we can help more families in Q2.