Guest Columnist

Support families of critically ill children

Brad Holub
Brad Holub
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Variety — the Children’s Charity gives children who are less fortunate — children that grow up with a serious illness, disability or disadvantage — a fighting chance! These are extra special children who require a special kind of help.

For more than 43 years, Variety has raised over $115 million to help over 300 charities across Iowa by providing special equipment, programming and capital projects for kids and families. Over the last five years, Variety has invested more than $1 million in Eastern Iowa communities, including a half-million-dollar, inclusive playground at Cedar Rapids’ Noelridge Park. Our aim is to maximize real, long-term positive social impact for children.

Through the generosity of communities across the state of Iowa, Variety is able to provide funds for mobility-focused programs that offer Variety vans for organizations, bikes, helmets and locks to children who have never enjoyed their own bike, and specialized bikes and equipment for children with special needs. In addition to giving children freedom to explore with bikes, we believe that all children should have the opportunity to experience a playground, so we are working to provide communities inclusive playgrounds for children with and without special needs.

Each year, Variety and local business partners come together on December 10-11 for “Two Days of Compassion” — an event to raise dollars that help support families whose children are critically ill. It’s hard to image hearing your child is critically ill or know where to begin with news of a life-threatening diagnosis. Parents and their families begin the seemingly never-ending spiral of hospitalizations and treatments.

Critically ill children and their families need a little extra hope. That’s where Variety steps in to provide comfort, care and help to fulfill immediate needs and alleviate some of the stress and financial burden a family faces while their child is hospitalized.

To raise a child with a serious illness or disability costs a family four to five times the cost of a child not living with one or more of these conditions. Through Variety, donations can change the life of a child and their family by helping fund key equipment and services to lessen the financial burden and provide every child with equality and a limitless future.

Dollars raised support families whose children are hospitalized at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital and Mercy Medical Center through Variety’s Compassion Fund. Social workers at St. Luke’s and Mercy believe families that receive even the smallest amount of financial help get an emotional boost that lasts for days or weeks. Just knowing that others care about their problems gives strength to their determination to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

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Families who have children diagnosed with critical illnesses face many challenges in life. Please help us ease some of the burden so families can make memories together. We invite you to join Variety — the Children’s Charity, KMRY Radio, and KCRG December 10 and 11, 2019, to support critically ill children and their families. Large or small, every donation combines to deliver a better future and life to a child in need. Visit varietyiowa.org for more information.

Brad Holub is Eastern Iowa president and Robyn Rieckhoff is Eastern Iowa director of Variety the Children’s Charity.

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