This September, Boulder-based There With Care celebrates 10 years of providing meaningful and fundamental service to children and families during the critical phase of a medical crisis.
In just one decade, the organization’s impact has grown from minor to massive, and it now serves hundreds of families throughout the Boulder-Denver region and San Francisco Bay Area.
By the numbers
There With Care has mobilized an army of volunteers in the service of families with a critically ill child, and the work continues. Over its ten years, There With Care has:
- Served over 1,800 families
- Operated with 600+ active volunteers
- Received $3,051,021 in donated in-kind items
- Provided $2,936,645 in donated volunteer and professional service hours
This is not light work. It’s critical, high-impact outreach:
- $3,915 average cost to serve a family through crisis
- 113 days is the average length of care
- 100-120 is the average number of active family cases each day
What exactly does supporting a family experiencing the critical illness of a child look like? It’s the practical shoring up that really helps a family get through. There With Care’s programs include transportation, home maintenance, meals, baby essentials, sibling support, professional services, and much more.
Why it matters
In the words of Chase’s mom, Kristy
Life was normal, we were a two-income family, working our corporate jobs, kids in school, sports, everything was great. Slowly, our lives started changing with many emergency room visits for pain with my son Chase. The chaos of having a sick child was starting to impact us financially with missing work and using vacation time. I was begging the doctors to give me something to make him feel better, but he kept getting worse.
September 30th was our last ER visit. I took him to an adult hospital and they did an ultrasound. The technician started balling. The doctor took one look and referred us to a pediatric hospital where they found a large lymph node under his neck. After a CAT scan the doctor came in and said, “We have a big problem. What we’re looking at is a malignancy. There is more than one lymph node involved. There are tumors all over his torso.”
I excused myself, went into the hallway and broke down. I started screaming and fell on the floor. The social worker came and said, “Kristy, miracles happen here all the time.” My husband picked me up, held my face and told me, “It’s going to be okay.”
When you’re referred to a pediatric oncologist, life falls apart. The family wholeness is threatened. Chase’s brother Reece went with his dad so he could stay in school and we agreed I would take care of Chase full time.
Chase was in so much pain and had masses from the base of his neck down to his groin, along his spine, around his lungs and around his heart. Everywhere. After surgery Chase’s brother came to visit and asked us, “Is Chase going to die?” I told him, “That is not our plan, our plan is to get him well.”
The doctors were 80% sure Chase would be a Stage 4. I stayed up all night Googling about his type of cancer. The next day we got the results: he was a Stage 3. We were thrilled with that news. He then started the first of 6 surgeries where they inject chemo directly into his spine. Before his first chemo surgery, he started to cry. I told him, “You’re my best friend,” And he told me, “You’re my best friend, mom.”
I thought he would be in the hospital for a month, but they told me they were discharging him. I asked the nurse, “Who is going to take care of him?” She said, “You will. I’m going to show you how.” I said, “I can’t do this” and she said, “You can and you will.”
I had to pick up Reece from school and we had no groceries. On the way home with Chase in the car sleeping, I was on the phone scheduling a home nurse, the vent cleaning guy, the carpet cleaning guy and dealing with the insurance company. I began making choices between paying one more bill or buying dinner.
The social worker connected us to There With Care and when Marybeth called me, I just broke down. I didn’t even know what we needed. I said, “There is no toilet paper. What are we going to do? We need help.” The groceries started coming. We had school lunches for Reece and food to cook for dinners. We stopped having to count quarters for gas and parking because it was taken care of by There With Care. I’m positive the stress for Chase was palpable. The people helping me also helped Chase not be so stressed.
The night he was diagnosed and he said to me, “Mom why would God do this to a little boy?” I said, “Buddy, let’s pray about it.” He prayed, “Dear God, please take this pain away. We should give this to a Robber and not me.”
Chase is very brave and he trusts me to care for him. I had to show him, trust mommy, it’s going to be okay.
We are pleased to feature There With Care this month on BoulderSource.com. Next up, read about There With Care’s epic annual fundraiser: Red Carpet Adventure.