Better2getherRVA

Help Support Our Families this Holiday Season! – Community Newsletter

 

 

A Message from Our Executive Director

Recently one of our Moms told me, “It means so much that someone cares about us. That they get what we’re going through. Our whole family has been touched by (Better2gether) being there.” As we enter the season of Thanksgiving, Better2gether is so thankful for you – our community of supporters. The pandemic has not stopped childhood illness nor has is squashed your desire to give and support.

As our families continue to quarantine and limit social interaction, our help is needed more than ever. As promised, we are excited to share ways you can sprinkle a little joy on the families we support this holiday season. Thank you for your generosity and kindness as, together, we meet the growing needs of medically complex children in RVA.

Thank you,

Stephanie Becker

 

Purchase 50/50 Raffle Tickets

 

Adopt a Snowflake

Just Like Snowflakes, Our Better2gether Children Are Unique!  

What a year it has been for all—so let’s have some FUN this holiday season!

We are planning a very special holiday party for our very special families while following strict, safety COVID guidelines.Here are a few ways you and your family, your business, or community group can be involved in spreading holiday cheer for our families!

  • Adopt a Snowflake–purchase toys and other items for our children.  Amazon Wish List will be posted on our Better2gether RVA website.  Here is the Amazon wish list link, which will go live November 6th: https://a.co/8JLBHVH
  • Wrap gifts
  • Volunteer at our socially distanced holiday event scheduled for Saturday, December 12 at 10:00 am
  • Make a financial donation to Better2gether RVA

Please contact Stephanie Becker at stephanie@better2getherRVA.org to participate and for additional information. Thank you for your kind support!

Wrapping Party

To spread the magic of the holidays to our families, we are collecting toys for each diagnosed child we support and their siblings for pickup at a socially distanced holiday event. We are looking for a company or organization that would like to volunteer its employees or staff to wrap the gifts in preparation for the event.

Please contact Stephanie Becker at stephanie@better2getherrva.org if your company would like to participate in this community involvement project.

 

The holidays are usually a time for large gatherings of family and friends. Of course, the global pandemic has changed what holidays will look like for many people – at least this year.

For families caring for children with complex medical challenges, the holidays can be especially challenging because of heightened health and safety concerns.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shared a list of lower, moderate and higher risk activities that vary according to the rate of community spread, the size of a gathering, whether mitigation activities are followed (like mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing), and the duration of the celebration. You can find their recommendations here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#thanksgiving
As they follow public health guidelines, local Better2gether families in Richmond are focused on keeping some holiday traditions while also creating new ones.

“For us, our holidays will be just slightly different,” shares Kristal Oppert, mom of EmmaGrace and Jackson. “We are very laid back and use the time to just be together. We usually watch the Macy’s Parade, which I am sure will not happen this year. We bake cookies and yummy treats and decorate while watching holiday movies.”

“The main change due to COVID is that we have self-restricted Jackson and EmmaGrace from going out into public much,” she adds. “They no longer go into the grocery store. That has been hardest on Jackson because he enjoyed going with me.”
Oppert is an RN who works on the front-line treating COVID positive patients, and takes all the necessary precautions to protect herself and her family, including wearing protective gear and getting tested twice a week for COVID. “We are not living in fear of COVID, but rather living in this new normal,” she says. “This year, we will not go to local parades, we will not go to Bass Pro to see Santa, but we will create new traditions that will equally as meaningful.”
Eight-year-old Dylan’s parents India Lipton and Shirley Lesser marvel at his strength and persistence. They’re also concerned about protecting his health, during the holidays and all year long. Dylan has had 22 brain surgeries to treat hydrocephalus and he’s fought hard just to survive.
“This year we are more cautious and it’s a little sad, as we certainly won’t attempt nearly as many activities in person locally,” says India.
“We will do Thanksgiving Day at home with Zoom meetings, I’m sure,” she says. “December will bring Santa with gifts as well as lighting the Menorah and more gifts!” Missing a visit with Santa in person will be especially disappointing because Dylan visits him every year and brings warm cookies to share. “I suppose we’ll bring a double batch next year,” India says with a sense of optimism and hope.
“Our family motto is, ‘Celebrate Everything!’” India shares. “We are known to throw a candle in a cake ‘just because’ so I expect that although (the holidays during) 2020 will be different, I’m sure it will also still reflect our most core essence.”

Eight-year-old Dylan’s parents India Lipton and Shirley Lesser marvel at his strength and persistence. They’re also concerned about protecting his health, during the holidays and all year long. Dylan has had 22 brain surgeries to treat hydrocephalus and he’s fought hard just to survive.

“This year we are more cautious and it’s a little sad, as we certainly won’t attempt nearly as many activities in person locally,” says India.
“We will do Thanksgiving Day at home with Zoom meetings, I’m sure,” she says. “December will bring Santa with gifts as well as lighting the Menorah and more gifts!” Missing a visit with Santa in person will be especially disappointing because Dylan visits him every year and brings warm cookies to share. “I suppose we’ll bring a double batch next year,” India says with a sense of optimism and hope.
“Our family motto is, ‘Celebrate Everything!’” India shares. “We are known to throw a candle in a cake ‘just because’ so I expect that although (the holidays during) 2020 will be different, I’m sure it will also still reflect our most core essence.”

 

The WAM Charity Golf Classic on October 5th was a great turnout of community businesses excited to support Better2gether RVA and our mission to support families of children with medically complex illnesses.

We are so grateful to our presenting sponsor, Call Federal Credit Union and the additional wonderful sponsors that made the event a fun way to support a great cause. More news about our golf tournament in 2021 to come!

 

 

Amazon Smile

An easy way to support Better2gether is to shop through Amazon Smile and select Better2gether as your charity. AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. Sign in to smile.amazon.com on your desktop or mobile phone browser. Go to Your Account and select the CharityBetter2gether will be listed as an option. As a result of you shopping through Amazon Smile, Amazon will donate a to Better2gether for every purchase you make!

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There are thousands of families in RVA caring for a child with a medically complex illness who have no non-medical support. Please consider donating today so Better2gether can meet the needs of these deserving families and children.

I Want to Donate Now!

 

 

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About Better2gether RVA
While support services abound in Richmond for families of children fighting well-known illnesses like cancer and juvenile diabetes, currently nothing exists for families of children battling more rare and complex illnesses.  Better2gether RVA, is dedicated to the belief that all families of children battling illness — regardless of their diagnosis — deserve access to resources and support services. Since 2017, the organization has provided mentorship, counsel and recreational programming for families of children diagnosed with complex medical illnesses, plus valuable resources for treatment and its associated costs. Learn more at www.better2getherrva.org.

Better2getherRVA