A MESSAGE FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Executive Director, Co-Founder
Meet our Champion: Philip
Twelve-year-old Philip isn’t just a basketball fan. He is an honorary Longwood Men’s Basketball team member. Thanks to a national organization that partners children with chronic illnesses with college sports teams, Philip has two official uniforms and even has his own locker with his name in lights in their locker room. He is allowed to go to all of their games, so Philip and his family go to all of their home games and even some away games.
Not content to do things halfway in any aspect of his life, Philip also goes all-in when it comes to another favorite hobby: reading. A big fan of the Harry Potter book series, Philip read all of the books at age 7, and then re-read them again at age 11. Several years ago, he took an interest in U.S. Presidents, and decided to learn all kinds of facts about them. He can now recite the names of every U.S. President accurately and quickly!
His mom, Catherine, describes Philip as, “Very smart and very sweet. He also has a great sense of humor and rarely gets angry.” In addition to pursuing his many interests, Philip enjoys spending time with his two older brothers and one younger sister.
While Philip’s life is busy and full, he does need to spend considerable time and energy managing his health. Since infancy, Philip has required daily treatments (which often include multiple medications, medical procedures, and frequent doctor visits) due to his diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis. This regimen requires a great deal of commitment, scheduling, and attention from both Philip and his parents.
“Philip has always been a great kid and never fussed for any of his treatments that started at 6 weeks old,” Catherine shares. “We have been incredibly blessed to have a child that is so responsible and good for everything (and he has been through a lot of procedures)!”
Through Better2getherRVA, Philip’s family has connected with other families walking a similar medical journey, and gained access to programs and resources designed to make their path an easier one. Better2gether’s online art classes and art supply bag is one of those programs. “Philip enjoyed the online art classes,” says Catherine. “He really enjoyed receiving an art supply bag and being able to create.”
Celebration of Business Award Finalists
Better2gether is a Celebration of Business Award Finalists with the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce and we need your vote to win!
Click on the link below and choose Better2gether under the Chamber of Commerce Not-for-profit Business of The Year!
Voting closes January 17th. Thanks for your vote!
Better2gether in the News
Complex Care Clinic
When a child has complex illnesses, there’s a lot to keep up with – from doctors’ appointments to medical equipment, medications and more. Without support to help coordinate information and resources, families are left to make sense of everything on their own. The Complex Care Clinic at the Children’s Hospital at Richmond at VCU is designed to offer this support and coordination, serving as a hub for clinical care and overall family well-being. The Complex Care Clinic serves as a medical home where all communication flows through the pediatrician at the center, so care is personalized, understandable and seamless. All information from specialists, hospital stays and other health care services is coordinated – there is one point of contact who understands the journey and can help guide each family on the next steps.
Better2gether understands that patient and family’s needs don’t end after leaving the doctor’s office. We will serve as the non-medical support system for the clinic, by providing access to non-medical resources, and recreational programming focused on the social, emotional, and overall wellbeing of the family.
As a physician caring for children with complex medical illnesses, Tiffany Kimbrough, M.D., Associate Professor of General Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, sees first-hand the many unique challenges facing children and their families.
“Our kiddos with complex medical illness are generally seeing more than 5 medical specialists, numerous therapists, rely on adaptive equipment and medical technology, and require coordination between each of these touchpoints with the medical field, school system, insurance and community resources,” explains Dr. Kimbrough. “Their care plans change frequently and require numerous appointments (sometimes multiple per week), hospitalizations and even ICU stays. No two kiddos are alike, and require extreme attention to detail and careful listening.”
As families navigate the journey of caring for a child with complex medical challenges, caregivers are faced with many responsibilities. “Parents take on a large burden of the care navigation in most circumstances,” says Dr. Kimbrough. “Our clinic seeks to take this burden off of the families and place it back on the medical system. There are also extensive equipment and home nursing shortages currently in the Covid climate which places further burdens on families.”
Because there has been a fragmentation of care which adds additional layers of stress and responsibilities to parents and caregivers, the Complex Care Clinic was created to meet these families’ unique needs. “The Complex Care Clinic places primary care at the center of a hub and spoke model to help filter specialist recommendations into the overall plan of care for the child, connect families with needed resources, assist with care coordination and navigation, assess family wellbeing, and more!” shares Dr. Kimbrough.
While children’s medical needs are often significant, families frequently experience non-medical needs, as well. That is where Better2getherRVA makes such a direct and meaningful difference as part of the Complex Care Clinic. “We know that many of the unmet needs that families have are non-medical,” says Dr. Kimbrough. “Having a partner to aid in this aspect of families’ lives is critically important. We are looking at ways Better2gether can support our families while in clinic – whether it’s snack closets, fidget toys and distractions for those long appointments, addressing food insecurity, promoting parent networking, and more. We are so grateful for their support and care for these families.”
“We hope to meet the needs of this heterogenous population that hasn’t yet fit into current care models and that leave families to chart their course without a roadmap,” Dr. Kimbrough explains. “We hope to improve the care of children, and partner with families along the trajectory of their care journey. Our aim is to be a true medical home.”
As the Complex Care Clinic grows, so will the work of Better2gether. “We expect to grow in volume and scope as we adjust to the needs of our patients and families,” says Dr. Kimbrough. “We look forward to collaborating with our families and Better2gether to equip our families for their unique journeys ahead.”
Christmas Under the Clocktower: Winner of most funds raised!
We want to thank our donors that supported us this year as we competed against 18 local nonprofits in the Christmas Under the Clocktower presented by RBI Services. 19 nonprofits decorated trees located at Main Street Station and each our community voted for their favorite tree to donating online. The tree with the most funds raised won $1,500.
Thank you for helping keep our reigning title and most importantly raising $10,651 to continue our mission to support families of children with rare or complex illnesses.
Holiday Drive Thru Event
To keep our families safe in the midst of the COVID resurgence, we held a Drive Thru Holiday Event for our families in December. The joint support of Reveille Weekday School, Art Love, Seasonal Roots and our community, meant over 36 families and 87 children received gifts for Christmas, sweet treats, an art kit full of supplies and a box full of fresh produce. Families were able to see Santa and give him their wish list or just get a picture with the man in the red suit! This was a wonderful treat for our kids and helped spread the joy of the season.
Thank you for the many ways you supported this effort – purchasing gifts, volunteering or donating to Better2gether. We are grateful to have been able to spread a little holiday cheer with your help!
We want to thank our community partners for their support this year. We have grown our scope of support, the services we offer and our programming because they chose Better2gether as a partner this year. Many thanks to:
Scherm Family Chiropractic Patient Appreciation Day – January 29th
We are thrilled to partner with Scherm Family Chiropractic again as they celebrate their 2nd anniversary and show their patients the love! Dr. Janine Scherm and her team will offer complimentary massages and adjustments for new and existing patients – all for a donation to Better2gether.
Place your health at the top of the To Do List and call for your appointment today!
The many dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers allow Better2gether to deliver the services, activities and support our organization in so many important ways! We would not be able to impact our families in the same way without them.
We’d like to take a moment to sincerely thank each and every person that gave of their time and talent to Better2gether in 2021!
“Volunteers don’t necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” – Elizabeth Andrew
Reflecting on 2021 means reflecting on the major impact our incredible volunteers have had serving families and children with medically complex illnesses. Thank you for your time, support, and generosity. Your dedication is essential to the work we do, and we are forever grateful.