How gas cards helped Desiree’s family

Four and a half hours. That’s how far mom Desiree had to drive each way to see her newborn baby boy, Joe.


For weeks and weeks, Joe has been fighting, growing, and stabilizing in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St. Francis Hospital in Colorado Springs. Meanwhile, with a three-year-old at home to take care of and just one car in the family, Desiree and her husband have to take turns taking the 9-hour round trip to visit their baby.

“When I first went to our local hospital here, my doctor thought I was 37 weeks along. But as soon as Joe was born, it was evident that that wasn’t the case,” Desiree shares. “We think he was closer to 34 weeks—and was much sicker than a 34-week-old baby should be.”

In order to deliver Joe safely, Desiree had to have an emergency c-section. Just 20 minutes later, Joe was airlifted away to St. Francis and Desiree was left to recover, overwhelmed by everything that just happened.

“It was a lot to process. I was finishing up surgery and my nurses didn’t even know yet, so we were all talking about how excited we were to see him. Just a few minutes later, the team came in and told us he had to be airlifted away. It all happened so quickly,” Desiree remembers.

For the first several days, Desiree couldn’t even travel to see Joe as she herself recovered from her c-section surgery. “I couldn’t move around and couldn’t drive myself,” she says. Eventually, as she regained her strength, Desiree was finally able to make the drive, but it hasn’t been easy. In the beginning, Joe’s condition got worse and worse. They ended up having to put three chest tubes in and he was on a ventilator for 10 days, with growing concerns from both Desiree and the care team. Desiree and her husband have been making the drive over there at least twice a week, and now that Joe’s condition is finally improving, they can’t wait to have him come home.

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“I have never been in this situation before, and I was really concerned about going back and forth so much,” Desiree says. “I was trying to figure out how we were supposed to do that and honestly didn’t know what to do.” Fortunately, Desiree’s social workers at St. Francis immediately connected her with Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation. Thanks to support from our community, we were able to provide her family with gas cards to help offset the cost of 18+ hours of driving every week.

“It just took a bunch of weight off my shoulders knowing there was support out there that didn’t just mean I had to figure it out myself,” Desiree says. “With a million other things on my mind, it was so good to have one less thing to worry about.”

This critical support is made possible by the generosity of our donors, and Desiree has nothing but gratitude for them: “I hope they know that any amount of help they are giving, any donation, anything, makes such a huge difference, especially for people who are lower income and would never expect to have to drive 4 ½ hours one way just to see your baby.”

“Just knowing there are people out there who want to help and are funding a little bit of gas to get back and forth is amazing. I hope they know that we think about them every day and it means more than they could ever imagine.”

For Desiree, sharing her story is just one way to provide comfort to other moms. “I hope other families know that there is help and there are good people out there. Things like this happen to regular people all the time, and even though you may read about it and think ‘that’ll never be me’, sometimes it is. And if it is, know there are other people going through the same thing, and there are people out there ready to support you, too.”

To help support more moms like Desiree, please consider making a donation to Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation. Your gift will help bring peace of mind so families can focus on the health and wellbeing of their children.