Two More Families Receive Assistance

 

On Sept. 8th, James Jennings of the Southeast Iowa Union published this article highlighting the recipients.  It’s quoted in it’s entirety below:

Two families receive assistance from Little Superheroes

James Jennings
Sep. 8, 2021

Two Fairfield families received some much needed financial assistance for their children’s medical care thanks to Little Superheroes.

Macy Cook, the daughter of Michaele and Tyler Cook, is a first-grader at Washington Elementary School in Fairfield.

She was born at 25 weeks, weighing just 1 pound 8 ounces.

Macy had a heart murmur, right retinopathy of prematurity and multiple hemangiomas and has underdeveloped lungs.

She had difficulty learning to swallow and feeding, which still is a huge struggle in her life.

“Macey has had too many hospital stays, tests and ongoing visits to explain, but is a trouper and our little miracle,” Michaele Cook said.

She was diagnosed with asthma when she was 4 and now uses an inhaler daily as advised by her pulmonary specialist.

Now in school, she has a 1:1 associate with her due to a choking hazard and for safety purposes.

“We’ve had to educate her and her associate and teachers on the signs for when she needs to use this at school as we’ve not yet figured out with her specialist exactly how to best treat her lungs as they still aren’t fully developed,” Michaele Cook said.

The Cooks have to make regular trips to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City to bring Macy to see a number of specialists.

Little Superheroes provided several air purifying units to Washington Elementary School and gave the Cook family $2,500 to help cover medical expenses.

“Our family is so grateful for their generous donation,” Michaele Cook said. “We’re over the moon. It’s amazing what they did.”

Camden Goodrich, the son of Samantha and Gerrad Goodrich, was born in August with Down syndrome and is on oxygen.

Samantha Goodrich made the decision to close her home day care in order to care for Camden.

“With our baby boy’s new diagnosis of Down syndrome, I am having to make the difficult decision to close my day care and go unemployed to care for his special needs,” she said.

Little Superheroes provided the Cook family with $2,500 to help with their expenses.

Little Superheroes is a Fairfield-based nonprofit that provides financial assistance to families with chronically ill children.

Christie Kessel founded the organization after her daughter, Valerie, was born in 2014 and diagnosed with chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction not long after her birth.

“We rarely slept more than two hours at a time, and it was very hard to think straight,” Kessel said. “Our other two children were in tears every time we had to leave them.

“The financial burden was significant, but our inability to be together as a family was the most difficult of all,”

Little Superheroes awards grants throughout the year and has assisted more than 100 families since the organization was founded in 2015.

Kessel said that grants are based on the needs of families and how many families are reaching out to the organization at any one time.

“We prioritize people who are local, but we’ve helped people all over the United States,” she said. “Lots of times they’ll have connections to local families somehow.”

She added that they get many referrals from social workers at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Little Superheroes has a number of fundraising events throughout the year. In the past, their primary fundraiser has been a Festival of Trees.

The previous success of the Festival of Trees allowed the organization to press pause on it in 2020 and 2021, Kessel said.

“The Festival of Trees has always been really successful above and beyond expectations,” she said. “We’ve taken the last few years off. We’ve been able to do that because it was so successful in the past.”

However, that does not mean that fundraising efforts have stopped.

“We are planning a fundraiser for this fall but don’t have details on it yet,” Kessel said.

Deputy News Editor Andy Hallman contributed to this report.

 

Thank you to the Southeast Iowa Union for the story.  It can be found here.

 

Thank You! 2019 Festival of Trees Wrap-Up

A giant thank you to all of our donors, bakers, decorators, visitors, buyers, volunteers and sponsors! This event is truly a labor of love. It wouldn’t be possible without the hundreds of people who contribute their time and energy to make this occasion happen. This event is such an incredible showcase of the generosity and creativity we have here in the Fairfield community.

We had record sales this year with our grand total exceeding $100,000! We are very excited about 2020 and the many opportunities we will have to help families.

Festival of Trees! – Nov. 29th & 30th, 2019

Each year, holiday magic abounds thanks to the help of many hands and a generous community. In a very short period of time, an empty exhibit hall transforms into a holiday winter wonderland of uniquely decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, centerpieces, and gift baskets. Shops are filled with handmade crafts and quilts, freshly baked cookies and candies, an endless assortment of freshly-made fudge, hot scones, and cinnamon rolls.

The Fairfield Festival of Trees is a seasonal event that features Christmas trees and Holiday Items donated by regional businesses, individuals, families, and organizations.

This very special event raises money for a local charity called Little Superheroes which supports children with life threatening intestinal issues and local families facing serious medical crisis. This event was designed to be a fun holiday tradition for families and the general public.

The decorated trees are the heart of the Festival. People love to stroll through and enjoy the magic of the tree displays. Join us for a two day family event featuring hundreds of uniquely decorated holiday trees and wreaths, centerpieces, gift baskets, sweets and snacks. All items have been generously donated by local talented and caring individuals.

EVENT DATES & LOCATION:
The event will be held Nov. 29th & 30th at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center in Fairfield.

The Hunziker Family (Recipients)

I wanted to write and thank ALL the team with Little Superheroes for their generosity for our twins. We have twin boys that were born at 26 weeks and have had medical challenges through out their lives. They are 3. One of them is disabled and the other has had a bad history of bowel obstructions and multiple surgeries. Between the two of them, we have spent nearly 2 of their 3 years with us at the hospital.

Not only have bills piled up, but with our son who is disabled, so have equipment costs. Many things he requires for me to care for him are deemed “not medically necessary” per insurance and they will not pay for it or the insurance companies say we will pay for XX but it has to be the equipment of our choice. Usually their choice is not custom to children with multiple needs. Our son, Jackson, who is disabled suffered from bilateral brain hemorrhaging with severe hydrocephalus in his second day of life. He was born too young and too fragile. The blood vessels in his brain were simply not developed enough and one burst damaging a great majority of his brain. Jackson will never walk. He cannot sit, but he can roll and army crawl to get almost anything he wants. His vision and hearing were also effect from the bleeding. He’s been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, epilepsy, Cortical Visual impairment and bilateral hearing loss. His speech is minimal; he can process words but the motor movement of saying them was an area of the destruction. He is a happy child, loves blowing kisses at anyone who crosses his path and loves playing ball with his daddy and siblings.

Our other twin, Nile, is what we call our “bowel baby”. He suffered a spontaneous bowel perforation just days after birth requiring a major operation that he wasn’t given great odds to survive. He spent the majority of his NICU stay recovering. The twins were in the NICU for 3.5 months and released the same day. At 18 months old, Nile suffered a bowel obstruction that was undiagnosed at local hospital. We life flighted him to Kansas City (our established hospital and where kids stayed in NICU) where he underwent an 8 hour surgery to save his life. His recovery was devastating. A once typical developing 18 month old was now a child who was IV fed 24/7, NG tube in his nose and an Ostomy. Life changed drastically for us. His bowel obstruction was untreated long enough that post surgery his small intestines went into intestinal failure. He remained in the hospital for 3.5 months and had three more surgeries. He was finally sent home with the IV feeds, NG and ostomy cares. He came home when I was 8.5 months pregnant with our daughter. Nile suffered a bowel obstruction the day our daughter was delivered. We planned to have our daughter in Kansas City so when I was not able to do Nile’s daily cares being in patient myself for delivery, his nurses at his hospital could. I’m thankful we were there and he was in the right hands. After our daughter was born, two hours later my husband left and took Nile to surgery. He remained with him and I with her until we could be reunited as a family in the hospital with our son. (Our son was at the Children’s hospital and I was at another). We remained in the hospital with our son for about one month and everyone was able to reunite at home. Since, Nile has not had an obstruction, and by the grace of God, has been able to wear all tubes and had his intestines put back together. He remains on simple medication to maintain his intestines and going the bathroom. He has come a long way.

During the time, Jackson has also required minor surgeries. Some for his eyes, leg muscles and next month a shunt will be placed in his brain to help drain his ventricles. It will be a major surgery; one that should have been done 1.5 years ago, but our neurosurgeon, at the time, didn’t notice the changes occurring.

So, how has Little Superheroes helped us, they donated money to us and that money has gone half toward medical bills and the other half toward some equipment that we have purchased for Jackson so he can get around and be safe while doing so. Many of the items we have had to purchase this past year and are still in the process of purchasing are: Wheelchair (insurance covered all but the deductible), Floor sitter for feeding and learning, a travel safe sleeping bed (pack n plays are too short), a wheelchair ramp for our home to get out of doors with him in equipment, Vision software that is geared toward children with CVI to help teach them how to see sponsored with one on one help with specialists in Kansas City, a speaking device that he can touch the screen and it will say words for him. These are just a few things that we have had to put money toward because insurance will not pay or have had/will be purchasing out of pocket.

Raising a child with disabilities is very challenging, but when there are opportunities out there who support our children, we appreciate it tremendously. It is difficult to say in words how appreciative we are and to express how even a little bit goes a long way. Saying thank you, just doesn’t seem enough.

–The Hunziker Family

 

Eliana

“We can’t thank you enough for the generosity you’ve shown our family!  Eliana had her surgery on 8/23.  It was unexpected, which put a strain on us financially.  Your gift was a huge help and allowed us to focus on her recovery.  We are relieved to have her repair behind us and focus on her being a growing baby.  It truly means so much and there aren’t enough words to express that!”

–The Denison Family

Top 10 Reasons to Attend the Festival of Trees

Who doesn’t love a decked out Christmas Tree?  In case you needed a reason to attend the Little Superheroes Festival of Trees, here’s some inspiration:

TOP 10 REASONS TO ATTEND THE FESTIVAL OF TREES

  1. Decorating the same old tree every year is B-O-R-I-N-G. Why not get a new, fully decorated tree delivered to your door every single year?!?
  2. You love socializing and ALL of your friends will be there.
  3. Where else can you see Alex Kessel wearing an elf costume? At least I think it’s a costume.
  4. Shopping at the mall on Black Friday is stressful. Christmas tree shopping at the convention center on Black Friday is fun!
  5. 100% of the proceeds will be used by Little Superheroes to help kids and families who really need it.
  6. Lincoln is too far away. Come watch the game at the Convention Center and support a great cause. That way even if the Hawkeyes lose you’re still a winner!
  7. Attending the 2017 Festival of Trees automatically puts you on Santa’s “Nice” list.
  8. What else would you do on the weekend of the 24th and 25th? It’s not like there’s anything else going on this time of year.
  9. Secretly you’ve always wanted to hug Olaf, the snowman from Disney’s Frozen…and now you can!
  10. You’re a kind, generous person who is willing to help children with serious medical issues. In other words, you’re awesome!