A Lifeline for Struggling Families
When your five-year-old daughter is diagnosed with cancer, paying your electric bill is the last thing on your mind. When you are spending every night at the hospital with a premature infant, you don’t have time to think about how to pay for lunch. When a child’s health is at stake, most parents do whatever is necessary to care for their child. For low-income families barely managing to make ends meet, a seriously ill child can also bring tremendous financial and logistical challenges.
In support of these families, the Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band is partnering with UVA Children’s Hospital and Charlottesville’s MLG Foundation to assist with essentials such as grocery and gas cards, utility fees, lodging, and car repair bills. Through its Keeping Families Connected initiative, UVA Children’s Hospital will use these funds to assist hundreds of families who struggle with urgent financial obstacles, while also caring for a sick child.
In addition to helping with utilities, transportation, and other expenses of everyday living, Bama Works will also be funding free lunches for UVA Children’s Hospital’s families in need. In a typical week, about 100 family members benefit from these free community lunches, sometimes their only nutrition for the day.
“This funding addresses very real situations faced every day by many of the families we serve,” says Karin Skeen, associate chief of women’s and children’s services. “More than 50 percent of our families rely upon some form of financial assistance. Many must travel hours to come here. Helping families-in-need with basic necessities frees them to focus their energies on caring for a sick child. That’s what makes this funding a major priority for UVA Children’s Hospital.”
Along with helping families in need, Bama Works also helped make the Battle Building, home to outpatient care for UVA Children’s Hospital, a reality in 2014.
“Bama Works is proud to support the work of UVA Children’s Hospital,” says Ann Kingston, artist manager and head of charitable initiatives. “And we look forward to seeing these programs at work improving the lives of children in need.”
As UVA Children’s Hospital continues to care for the area’s sickest and most medically complex children, many more families will undoubtedly need assistance. This will be especially true as UVA expands its pediatric heart and liver transplant procedures and launches its bone marrow transplant program—all treatments that often require longer or more frequent hospitalizations.
“These assistance programs make a clear and visible difference,” says Skeen. “Last year, the Keeping Families Connected Program helped a father pay his car repair bills, so he could drive his child back and forth to medical appointments following a heart transplant. A car that won’t start should never stand in the way of a child getting the medical care he or she needs.”