Those families are already dealing with some tough battles of their own.
“This fund was created to really raise the emergency funds to help support Riley patients and families during this unprecedented crisis,” said Dr. Paul Haut, Riley Children’s Health chief operating officer.
The foundation is asking the public to donate to help kids such as 7-year-old Giancarlo “Teddy” Gomez. Teddy has been a Riley patient since September. He is waiting on a heart transplant. Meanwhile, his family is facing more hardship after his mother lost her job at a local restaurant in March.
While Teddy continues to wait for his “hero heart,” she also waits in line at food pantries and has to deal with the stress of how she’s going to pay the bills.
“Every day, we have families like Teddy who are in the hospital or at home dealing with a child who has chronic medical conditions at high risk,” Haut said. “If they don’t have access to just the basics, which could be money for rent, electricity, gas to travel to needed medical appointments, the outcomes could be dire. What this fund will do is allow our social work group to work with those families individually to give them direct relief through cash or a donation.”
Some members of the community have already started to reach out for help, including longtime Indiana car dealer Bob Butler. He has promised to match the first $100,000 donated from the community with his own $100,000. Haut says with this support, the Riley foundation can keep its mission alive in spite of the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our mission is to meet the needs of these families and patients, and you can reach out and make a difference right now by donating and know that those dollars that you donate will go directly to the families that need it,” he said.