The Patient Advocacy Team is hitting the road this summer! I am excited to have Eileen Ford - our new Foundation Assistant - on board as we continue to reach out to individual counties in Wyoming.
In May we get a few days in Gillette. June sees us in Lander and Riverton. And Sheridan is in the works! It is shaping up to be a fun summer with more events to come.
Why do we travel?
The Patient Advocacy Program is a free, state-wide support opportunity for families who have a child with a chronic illness or medically complex condition. That can be anything from a premature birth to asthma to a rare genetic disease to cancer. There is no specific diagnosis needed to qualify for support.
Our families come from the four corners of the state and everywhere in between. It makes a big difference to them to know what is local, even if that means within their county or neighboring counties. Their needs can be as varied as the diagnosis: help finding an affordable cell phone and plan, gas cards to get to out of state appointments, tax assistance, affordable housing, groceries, respite care, funeral costs, school support, sibling care and summer camps, rent assistance. These are just a few examples from the past month that have come up. In order to make sure that we have plenty of resources and good connections within each community, we do our research from homebase in Casper and then go to where the families are to shore up our relationships with community partners and see those we’re supporting face to face whenever possible!
Get the Word Out
The world we live in is stressful, no arguments there. Fact: as more stressors get added to our plates, the harder it is to manage. Another fact: that doesn’t make a value judgment on our humanity, just proves our humanity. If you or someone you know has a child diagnosed with a medically complex condition or a chronic illness, those stressors add up quickly and some things just cannot get done because there isn’t enough of you or them to do it.
We want to make sure that every family that needs support receives it. It is a win-win for us when we know what exists in communities and that communities know we exist. For a real life example, knowing about respite providers is not exactly in every parent’s or guardian’s wheelhouse. But when they need a break because they spend most waking hours caring the energy to pinpoint that help often doesn’t exist. In this situation, it took myself and another organization that I referred the family over to for other support that eventually made connections to two wonderful respite providers possible. That saying “it takes a village to raise a child” explodes into greater depth of meaning when we can all work together for the family’s good.
Still Available on the Go
While we may be out and about in different counties or other events, we are still “here!” If you or someone you know lives in our great state of Wyoming and has a child diagnosed with chronic illness or a medically complex condition, please contact us! Our website (www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org) has a direct link to my email (firstname.lastname@example.org), you can call at 307-333-1273 or find us on Facebook to send a DM!
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