In 2009, we ran a story in GivingCity Austin #4 about the State Employes Charitiable Campaign. In it there was a sidebar by Gretchen Willard, a state employee.
Before the birth of her child, she knew little about the organizations that would save her baby’s life. Now Willard is one of the volunteers who helps run the campaign in Austin.
Her story is an example of how each of us is likely to be the beneficiary of some form of charity at some time in our lives. And an example of how your support of these organizations makes a difference.
On January 16, 2002, I was only 26 weeks pregnant, I went into labor. It was too soon!
I was immediately started on steroid injections (developed by March of Dimes) to help the baby’s lungs. On January 20, our daughter, Destinee, was born. She was 12 1/4 inches long and weighed 1 pound 10.25 ounces.
During her first week in the neonatal intensive care unit at Seton Medical Center in Austin, our daughter received her very first book from Capital Area Reach Out and Read. She’s seven years old now and still reads this book every day.
Her bills from being in the neonatal intensive care unit totaled $2.5 million, which was covered by private insurance, Medicaid and the Seton Fund. Luckily our extended family had a place to stay at Ronald McDonald House while they were in town to support us.
Once Destinee was able to come home, we were happy to find help through DARS’ Pride Program. They helped with testing and therapy to make sure our daughter would be healthy in the future. She is now working with Easter Seals Central Texas for speech therapy and United Cerebral Palsy of Texas for the little things she still has to work through.
All in all she is a very bright and blessed seven-year-old, and we as a family could not have done this without each and every person who supports these organizations. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.