A MESSAGE FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Spring is here! Well, almost, but there’s more blooming than tulips in RVA and it’s bringing smiles and joy to the community. Better2gether is GROWING!
As the demand for our services continues to blossom, so does our ability to make a lasting difference to families with medically complex children. Medicaid education and support, financial literacy webinars, assistance with food insecurity, and fun-filled backpacks for new kids and resource totes for their parents, are just a few ways Better2gether has provided support last month alone.
Looking ahead we are excited to welcome additional families to Better2gether and begin offering outdoor activities families can enjoy together. This is where we need your help! You will see an Amazon wish list link for ways to help us stock our backpacks and parent totes- this is so important! For companies looking to make a difference, we have ways to support the Complex Care Clinic through corporate giving. Lastly, as the temperatures rise, we will be looking for our valued volunteers to help with family activities. There are so many ways to be involved with Better2gether and we appreciate each and every way you support our organization.
Executive Director, Co-Founder
Meet our Champion of the Month: Shay
Likes: Blue’s Clues, cuddles and kisses, having her hand held at all times, and being sung to.
Dislikes: Getting her hair done, going to bed with her TV off, and wearing her glasses.
Hospitalizations: Shay has had multiple surgeries since experiencing a traumatic brain injury at age 3.
Therapies received: Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapies.
Sixteen-year-old Shay is described by her mom, Quinika, as “a social butterfly who loves being around people.” Shay enjoys connecting with others and letting people know what she wants. For example, during family outings, she’ll frequently reach out for people around her to hold their hand – and sometimes playfully grabs things off the shelves in the store. Shay also loves listening to music by Alicia Keys, going to school and riding the school bus, and playing with toys she can activate on her own.
Shay is also quite clear about what she doesn’t want!
“She is very feisty when she needs to be and has a lot of spunk,” shares her mom. “When getting picked up for bath time, Shay fights the whole way. She has a way of letting you know when she doesn’t want something done!”
One of Shay’s absolute favorite activities is playing with and spending time with her twin brother, Daveon, and her older brother, Terquan. “They adore her,” shares Quinika, “And she has them both wrapped around her fingers.”
“Her connection with her twin brother is something I’ve never seen before. He can just lay next to her, and she just rubs his head and watches him pick her up when she needs him. It’s so amazing to watch,” says Quinika. “The level of care that both of her brothers have for her is amazing!”
While the global pandemic has interrupted so many plans and social outings for everyone, Shay and her family are grateful that Better2gether has been able to offer outdoor and virtual experiences that promote connections and support. Shay and her family have enjoyed a Better2gether sponsored outing at a park, the holiday party (including a drive-by Santa and a gift exchange), decorating cookies, and participating in music therapy. Shay also enjoyed her visit to a pumpkin patch, where she was able to do the hay ride, walk through the corn field, and pick pumpkins. “We loved just being around families that are just like us,” Quinika explains.
“For all of the things that she has been through on this journey, Shay is a fighter and always does it with a smile on her face even when she’s not feeling at her best,” shares Quinika. “We are thankful for the excellent team that she has at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond and Better2gether.”
2nd Annual Better2gether Golf Classic
Join us June 8th at Meadowbrook Country Club for a day of golf, fantastic raffle items and team and individual prizes all for a great cause! Sponsorships are open and we’d love to partner with you on this event.
Funds raised support families of children in RVA with medically complex illnesses receive the support they need and live a better life!
Better2gether in the News
Complex Care Clinic at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU
The Complex Care Clinic at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU is officially open! The Clinic is designed to serve as a medical hub for children who see five or more specialists and/or are dependent on medical technology. In addition to providing coordinated medical care, the Complex Care Clinic also recognizes the importance of offering non-medical support to children and families. Better2gether is proud to offer these services as an official partner of the Clinic.
Our goal is to offer tangible resources while families visit the Complex Care Clinic. We invite our community to help us deliver important benefits to each family seeking treatment. Listed below are ways organizations can provide concrete support:
- Toy/Game Closet – A toy, game or coloring book can provide a much-needed distraction to a child or sibling during a long doctors’ appointment or lab visit. Each child may choose one toy/game per visit.
- Medical Binder – Children with medically complex illnesses see five or more specialists, multiple outpatient therapies, can be technology dependent and more. The medical binder helps equip caregivers to manage their child’s medical needs and allow them to effectively advocate for their child’s needs.
- Food Pantry – The food pantry provides healthy snacks and drinks to families while visiting Clinic. This sponsorship stocks the food pantry for one year, allowing children much needed nutrition during long days at Clinic.
- iPad – Each child may have access to an iPad during their appointment. We are seeking to supply 4 iPads to the Clinic.
For more details and information about sponsorship opportunities, view our Complex Care Clinic Sponsor Form
Better2gether Backpack and Tote Bag Amazon Wish List
Every Better2gether child receives a backpack stocked with games, toys, a Kindle Fire, water bottle and more to help provide distraction during long appointments or hospital admissions. Parents receive a tote bag with a Medical binder, water bottle, insulated lunch tote, cozy blanket, socks, earbuds, and other convenient items of support.
By shopping our Amazon wish list, you can ensure each family is equipped for long days away from home.
Here’s How You Can Help
Rare Disease Month Recap & Giveback Programs
February 28th is recognized around the world as Rare Disease Day. It’s a day where over 300 million people living with rare illnesses seek to raise awareness of the challenges they face daily. Better2gether used the entire month of February as an opportunity to bring further awareness for rare diseases because we’re driven to champion children battling rare or chronic illnesses.
Several organizations including Scherm Family Chiropractic, Kendra Scott, and James River Cellars generously participated in giveback programs throughout the month to show their support. The Scherm Patient Appreciation Day event earned an impressive $1,560 in direct donations for Better2gether! We’re so grateful to these community partners for dedicating their time and resources.
Together, our community can become a part of positive outcomes for these children and their families. If you’re interested in partnering with us for future programs, please reach out to Stephanie Becker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank You Dr. Janine Scherm!!
Through the pre-event online silent auction and donations from generous new and existing patients, Dr. Scherm donated $1,560 to help improve the lives of families with a medically complex child. We are able to have a greater impact on families when businesses in our community commit to partnerships that strengthen our ability to deliver support and services. Thank you Scherm Family Chiropractic for being a valued and committed community partner of Better2gether.
For more information on Scherm Family Chiropractic, or to schedule a new patient exam, visit: https://www.schermfamilychiropractic.com
PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING TODAY!
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 RVA can meet the needs of these deserving families and children.