Meet the families in
These families are the reason we do what we do, and it is our
great honor to share their stories.
Click on a family below to read their story, or head to the blog for even more heart-warming tales!
Sean’s courage knows no bounds. Since he was born, he has bravely fought through end-stage renal disease, with less than 15% kidney function.
Sean is waiting on a kidney transplant, but in the meantime, he spends a lot of time at the hospital. Being away from home for a long time is hard on anyone, especially a child.
Posey, the facility dog at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, is the bright spot along their journey. Posey works with the hospital’s Child Life team to make pediatric patients feel safe and loved. for Sean’s family, she made a huge difference in their experience. “We are so grateful to have Posey.” Jennifer says, describing her as providing an extra blanket of comfort.”
When Olivia was in the second grade, her parents received a call from the school. Olivia was sitting alone at recess crying and couldn’t tell them why. As time went on, it became clear that Olivia struggled with social anxiety and depression—and her parents started looking for answers.
Olivia was officially diagnosed with Bipolar II, which causes significant anxiety and depression. As a young teen, this experience is particularly scary.
The family started looking for ways they could support Olivia. Her parents thought the magic of a furry friend would help comfort her. Then they found the Sink Bug Project.
In July 2022, Esther and her family welcomed sweet baby Maya. Esther planned to breastfeed her, just like she did with her two older children, but within days, she found out she wasn’t producing enough milk. They needed to find another solution.
Esther was worried she would need to supplement with formula. Since Maya was born in the midst of the formula shortage, this was a scary plan, and the fear of not being able to find enough formula and keep her baby well fed, set in.
When they needed another option, Mohters’ Milk Bank stepped in. The nurses at the hospital used donor human milk to help give Maya the best possible start in life.
Early in her pregnancy, Viola learned that her baby wasn’t gaining enough weight. The doctors suspected that she had a heart condition. They warned Viola that her baby would be in the fight of her life. When Omaria was born, she was quickly admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Five days later, she underwent her first open heart surgery. But, this was just the beginning of their journey.
Omaria ended up living at the hospital for the first four months of her life. Time and time again, Viola was told that her daughter would likely not make it. On top of dealing with the constant fear and stress, Viola and her husband had to quit their jobs so they could be at the hospital with their baby and care for their four-year-old son. They had no income and needed a way to support their family.
Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation provided rental assistance, gas, groceries, and more to ease their everyday burdens and help them focus on their daughter when it mattered most.
When eight-year-old Maggie was born, her parents and doctors thought she was a typical little girl. But, her mom noticed she had a bigger head than normal and struggled to meet milestones. Their pediatrician reassured her that Maggie was healthy. When Maggie got older, things got complicated, so her parents started looking for answers, and Maggie was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis.
Within a year of her diagnosis, Maggie had a Neurofibroma tumor on her scalp that needed removal. It wasn’t long after she developed another tumor, but this time on her spine. Maggie needed intense surgery and chemotherapy.
This entire process was stressful for the whole family. Her mom shared Maggie’s story with a friend who introduced her to the Stink Bug Project. She knew this would be a good fit. Having a dog would bring joy back to their home and help Maggie through the hard times.
When Audrey was born, she had jaundice, which is common, so her doctors sent her home, figuring she would get better. But by the time she was three months old, she was very yellow all over her body and in her eyes. Her pediatricians were concerned that instead of getting better, it was getting worse. After extensive testing, they found that Audrey needed a new liver and fast.
Luckily, her dad, John, was healthy enough to be a living donor and finally, her parents had some relief: John’s liver was a perfect match.
Audrey and her family spent over 80 days in the hospital throughout this journey, and it started taking a toll on their finances. Desperate, John went to their family health navigator, who connected them with Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation.
Meet Desiree & Joe
From the very beginning, timing has been a challenge for baby Joe. He came into the world six weeks early, and then just 20 minutes later, had to be airlifted over four hours away to the nearest neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Meanwhile, his mom Desiree, still recovering from her emergency c-section, felt stranded. She just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, but it was now sinking in that she wouldn’t see him again for many days.
While she recovered at home, she grew more and more anxious for the day she could hold her baby boy. Nearly two weeks later, that day finally came, and it was a day she will never forget.
“You hear about these things happening, but you never thing it’ll happen to me, but then it happens to you,” she says. Desiree’s family lives in rural Colorado, over 4 1/2 hours away from the hospital where baby Joe was being cared for. With just one car and another child at home, she and her husband didn’t know what they were going to do. “I was really concerned about going back and forth and was really trying to figure out how we were supposed to do that, but I didn’t know what to do.”
That’s where the Foundation came in. Thanks to our donors, we were able to provide Desiree’s family with gas cards, making the 9-hour round-trip drive far less stressful.
“I hope the donors 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 never expect to have to drive 4 1/2 hours one way just to see your baby,” Desiree says. “Just knowing there are people out there who want to help and help fund a little bit of gas to get back and forth is amazing. I hope they know that we think about them and it means more than they could ever even imagine.”
Be Part of The Solution
Every day, more and more families like these seek the comfort, joy, and relief they need to keep fighting. Your gift can help.