CBS4 News is featuring a special series of reports this holiday season called the 12 Days of Christmas. The following story is written by CBS4’s Britt Moreno.
DENVER (CBS4) – I first learned about “There with Care” over the Thanksgiving holiday. I heard about an opportunity to bring Thanksgiving dinner to families who are tethered to the hospital because their children are so sick they are unable to leave.
We brought a meal to a couple whose baby is suffering from heart disease. The baby was in the NICU and the couple was forced to watch their newborn fight for his life.
We were supposed to meet them, but they were too distraught, so we left the meal outside their room. I peered through the window on our way out and saw the father slumped over the side of the baby’s crib. He looked lost in despair. Mom was solemn nearby. It was then I was grateful for “There with Care” because families with children battling critical diseases need a little bit of help and a lot of hope.
Fifteen-year-old Ben is unlike most teenagers. Ben has never once thought about college nor about his future. His battle with cancer has encouraged him to live day by day.
“I find it better to stay within the moment,” he tells me.
Ben was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when he was 2 years old. He has been sick most of his life.
“Ben is definitely a fighter” says his mom, Sara. Doctors told Sara the disease has a 20 percent survival rate.
The Aurora family is away from their extended relatives, so they don’t have family support. They find it difficult to juggle hospital visits and life especially because Ben and his parents travel to New York now for a new treatment. They say a little “There with Care” goes a long way.
Paula DuPres Pesman is the executive director of “There with Care.” She was a producer on the Harry Potter films. That’s when she connected with various “Make a Wish” foundations and invited children onto the set to take a behind the scenes tour of the set. It was then she realized she wanted to do more especially when her husband was diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer.
She saw a need to connect people who want to help these families struggling with a critical illness.
“It is privilege that families trust us. It’s a fragile time and we want to take a few things off their plate,” says DuPres Pesman.
“There with Care” offers help to families with kids battling life threatening illnesses like cancer or heart disease. They help families who are living at or below the poverty line. They bring groceries and house hold goods to families.
They also deliver meals and other necessities to families who are unable to leave the hospital. They will even do chores.
“They’ve helped us from everything from laundry to basic housekeeping.”
“There with Care” helps 130 families on average. I was there when they brought Ben and his family groceries and dinner. They even brought some much needed holiday cheer with homemade wreathes. They doled out plenty of hugs and well wishes and it made me happy to hear Ben say he was in fact thinking of the (near) future. He was hoping he would be able to stay at home and out of the hospital for Christmas.
LINK: There With Care