On August 19th, 2018 my husband Derek and I welcomed our daughter and the love of our lives into the world, Grace Ellin Medeiros. Grace is our first child, and like any first-time parents, we were prepared for our lives to completely change, but we were thrown a major curveball within hours of her birth. At just 2 hours old, Grace was diagnosed with a heart defect called Transposition of the Great Arteries, and was transported to Boston Children’s Hospital for open heart surgery, with her Daddy by her side.
When your child is diagnosed with a heart defect, or any sickness, your only priority is ensuring they receive the best possible treatment and care, and that is what we received for Grace from the incredible team at Boston Children’s Hospital. Like all parents in the Cardiac ICU, our only concern was our child, but unfortunately when days turn to weeks, and weeks to months, expenses like parking, meals, and temporary housing can become extremely overwhelming.
Grace was at BCH was nearly a month. The reality of expenses set in very quickly when we realized every day could lead to something new, and we really had no idea when our family would be able to go home. When we began to tally up our daily expenses like parking, three meals a day, coffee, snacks, hotel rooms, the amount spent was a small fortune. We were extremely lucky to have close friends who insisted on an open-door policy, whether we were going to take a quick shower, catch up on some sleep, or stay for a long weekend. Many families travel to BCH from around the world for care and don't have the local support system we were lucky to have.
One small gesture we received was from a fellow parent in the NICU who gave us a Starbucks gift card after we had a tough night. Something so simple, used for grab bags and stocking stuffers, but we appreciated those cups of coffee more than we could ever put into words. That parent knew our struggle, and made a lasting impact on us with that simple gesture.
After the longest month of our lives, our family is finally home, and Grace is having all kinds of adventures with her big sister Penny the Golden Retriever. Although we are so lucky to have brought home our little fighter, stronger and healthier than ever, we know not all families are as blessed. We will never forget how much that Starbucks gift card meant to us, so beginning this holiday season, Derek and I will be starting The Helping Heart Project, which will help parents and families with children in the Boston Children’s Hospital Cardiac Unit who don’t know when they’ll be going home.
All funds raised through The Helping Heart Project will go to the Hale Family Center for Families, whose mission is to support families through their experience at Boston Children’s Hospital. The Hale Family Center for Families provides resources for patients and families like meals, toiletries, a place to sleep and even a cup of coffee. These resources will bring a direct impact to those families who don’t know when they can bring their children home.
We are asking our friends and family for help this holiday season and to consider making a donation to the The Helping Heart Project, and to help spread word of our mission. Every dollar will go towards lightening the immense burden of the everyday expenses that continue to build while having a child in the Boston Children’s Hospital Cardiac Unit. Donations in any size make a difference, we’re the perfect example of how much relief just a cup of coffee can bring.
All funds will be presented to the Hale Family Center for Families by 12/17/2018. For more information on the Hale Family Center for Families, visit their website.
Thank you all for your continuous love and support.
Kori, Derek & Grace