A recent college graduate recounts his story during his illness. Read about the wonderful and caring staff that helped him through his journey. A great example of social good in practice.
I glanced up at Dorothy’s kind face, my expression betraying my uneasiness and uncertainty. She smiled and nodded, as if she were telling me to believe in myself, to be confident in my abilities. That I’m capable of more than I think I am.
I had never taken the lock off the plastic food tube hanging from my stomach or poured the medications I needed (to live) into it. Dorothy had always done that for me. I didn’t know if I could do it, but Dorothy did.
The liquid medicine trickled from my medicine glass into the funnel, through the tube and into my abdomen. I felt the usual cold sensation hit my stomach, but this time it came with a sense of satisfaction. Dorothy’s gesture was a minor one, but it was significant to me.
Dorothy was one of my favorite nurses at a rehabilitation center where I recovered from a life-saving surgery to repair a brain aneurysm in the summer of 2015. I had spent two weeks in a hospital intensive care unit, but I was unconscious for a lot of that time. Everything I had been able to do just days before was now out of the question. I couldn’t talk or walk or swallow. Half of my body was temporarily paralyzed, and all of my ability to care for myself was gone.
What Dorothy did that June morning was to restore just a little independence to my life. That’s not her job – just leave all the healing work to the rehabilitation center’s talented therapists. But Dorothy took her job requirements just one step further, gave just a little more effort, to do her part to help heal the patients she cared for every day.
I certainly made widespread improvements to my physical and cognitive limitations under the care of my therapists, but it was a few of my nurses that made all the difference. With a few simple acts like Dorothy’s, many of my nurses worked to instill in me self-confidence and a determination to work to return as close as possible to the person who first walked into the hospital for surgery.
Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am now – a college graduate from the University of North Carolina. Every day, in each therapy session, I pushed myself as hard as I could because Dorothy and those like her pushed me to see that I could do things for myself, that I was capable of improving, that I didn’t have to be ‘this way’ forever. Now, two years removed from my surgery and recovery experience, I can reflect on it all.
And I plead. With hospitals and rehabilitation centers. A simple Google search reveals that a registered nurse in the middle of his or her career can expect to earn an average total compensation of $63,000, including bonus and overtime pay. Meanwhile, there are dozens of hospitals in the United States that have an operating margin of over 25 percent. Just some of this income can be allocated to nurses’ salaries in order to attract better and more committed nurses. Hospitals and rehabilitation centers can afford to pay nurses more, but they don’t in the interest of making money. But don’t think those hospitals that barely break even can’t do more too. Creating better working conditions, a productive and encouraging environment and more effective retention policies are just some of the ways that healthcare facilities can improve the morale of nurses. Happier and more motivated nurses make the lives of everyone better – the patients and therefore the healthcare facility as well.
I also plead with you – patients and family members. Your situation is extremely unfortunate, and often unforeseen. But the nurses didn’t put you or a loved one in a hospital bed, they’re trying their hardest to get you out. They don’t enjoy sticking needles in your arm or waking you up in the middle of the night to record your vital signs, but they do enjoy seeing you leave the hospital with a smile on your face. The least we can do is understand the difficulties of nurses’ jobs and how we can help them do their jobs easier. Nurses are people too, so a compliant and polite demeanor on your part will make life easier for them, and help them make life easier for you.
I’ll never forget Dorothy, her colleagues or what they did for me. They helped show me I could learn and grow, that I wasn’t any less of a person than anyone else. Now, I want more patients in a hospital or rehabilitation center to have the same positive experience I did. And it can all start today, with the first steps toward supporting the nurses in our nation’s health facilities.
Read on to learn more about Me Fine Foundation and how we work with hospital staff to improve the lives of chronically ill children. Start practicing your own social good by attending our local fundraiser, Me Fine Foundation’s Annual Gala.
On July 20th and 27th, the Me Fine Foundation will once again spread some cheer to kids who really need it. Thanks to the thousands of dollars and hundreds of toys donated by our supporters, we were once again will bring Christmas in July to the children at Duke and UNC Children’s hospitals. Led by the one and only Santa Claus, volunteers will distribute toys to the sickest children in the hospitals. Christmas in July is important in that it fills a recreation and activity gap in the summer when so many volunteers, staff, and students are away.
While Santa will be distributing such items as toy trucks and stuffed animals to small children, there is a group of sick children who are sometimes underserved. Teenagers being treated at Duke and UNC Children’s Hospitals can make up a substantial part of the patient population. We want to make sure we bring joy to these group of kids as well as small children, so this year we’ll be distributing gift cards for teen patients to choose.
We know how important it is for teens to assert their independence and individuality, even when they’re confined to a hospital bed for the summer. We hope to brighten their spirits with gift cards from Game Stop, Amazon, iTunes, Wal-Mart, Target and others. We’re excited about this initiative because it fills a need. It’s also an easy way for you or your business to get involved in Me Fine and make an impact in your community.
Simply purchase a $25 gift card that a teen would use and mail to 2017 Woodrow St. Durham, N.C. 27705 or purchase online and e-mail to email@example.com by July 14th.
The Me Fine Foundations exists to bring hope to families in medical crisis. Christmas in July is just one example of how we achieve our mission. Thank you for your support.
-Richard Averitte, Board Chair, Me Fine Foundation
“Love can change the world in a moment”
A lot of families either start or end their day by tuning in to the news to get a pulse on current events around the globe. Most news channels will report the atrocities – whether that be violence, famine or terror. Once in a while, that bad will be interspersed with hopeful, inspiring stories. Personally, I choose to focus on those. Stories that promote, peace, happiness and support. It also happens that celebrities, most commonly music artists, are seen supporting these messages. One such story was in relation to Red Nose Day, in March 2017.
Popular singer and entertainer, Ed Sheeran, took a trip to Liberia to meet with children who lead tough lives to help them tell their stories. In this exclusive video, you can see the smiles on the children’s faces as they hold up cards telling us of their career aspirations. A campaign such as this, that supports education and equal opportunity, shows an insight into the type of stories that news channels should promote more. We need more hope, happiness and health in the media. Why? As you know, a lot of our views are shaped by the media. Instead of showcasing the bad, why not showcase and celebrate the good? Small changes in what the media promotes can lead to positive changes in public attitude.
Take a look at the exclusive video from the Red Nose Day campaign and see how it bring an immediate smile to your face!
In similar fashion, Chicago based singer/songwriter, Chance the Rapper, joined with Non-Profit The Empowerment Plan to create a campaign to donate 1000 coats to Chicago’s homeless. Not only are these warm coats, but the website says “The EMPWR coat is a water-resistant and self-heating jacket, which can transform into a sleeping bag, or be worn as an over-the-shoulder bag when not in use”. Furthermore, the coats are manufactured at the Empowerment Plan factory in Detroit, which hires “homeless parents from local shelters to become full time seamstresses so that they can earn a stable income, find secure housing, and gain back their independence for themselves and for their families.”
While being informed of current events is important, it is just as crucial to engage with stories such as these to elevate your mood and brighten your day! Let us know how this post made a difference in your day. And as always, continue to smile and be kind, for “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness” – Desmond Tutu.
Taking your child to their weekly baseball games and being excited that your budding baseballer is hitting the home runs, catching all the balls and being the star of the team. But then imagine that something did not feel quite right: your child is breathing a little harder and is seemingly more exhausted. So you take them to the doctor and think, “Okay, it’s probably just a minor condition. Maybe he’s recovering from his cold that he had a week ago.” The doctor does his various tests, poking and prodding. A few days pass after the tests and you receive a call saying, “I’m sorry, your child has Leukemia and you need to take him to the emergency room. We have a specialist waiting for you.”
Unfortunately, this is reality for many parents. With the next steps being an overwhelming series of tests and procedures, the initial diagnosis can often be one of the toughest parts of the process. The story above is that of 12-year old “Lucas”, who was fed up with his parents asking him if he was okay. This resonates with the name behind our organization, ‘Me Fine’ – named so by friends and family of Folden Lee IV, who was diagnosed with AML Lukemeia in May 2003. Even after going through numerous tests, when asked, “Folden, how are you today?” his answer would always be “Me Fine!”. Me Fine was founded in order to pool resources for families facing life changing challenges.
Why do we do it?
With the help of our sponsors and donors, we are able to help make changes in the lives of children and their families to help ease the burden during difficult times. Why do we do it? A picture speaks a thousand words – take a look!
For Immediate Release
Me Fine Foundation, Inc.
5100 US Hwy. 70 East
Princeton, NC 27569
Phone: (919) 202-0086
Me Fine Foundation Announces Spring Fundraiser
Music for Me Fine features BJ Barham; to raise $30k for families of sick children
RALEIGH, NC (March 22, 2017) – The Me Fine Foundation today announced that tickets are on sale for its second annual Music for Me Fine fundraiser. The April 21 event at All Saints Chapel, which last year raised nearly $20,000 to help families of children receiving treatment at UNC Children’s Hospital and Duke Children’s, will feature BJ Barham of American Aquarium and another to-be-named talent.
“Now in our 13th year, the Me Fine Foundation is serving more families in need than ever,” said Me Fine Foundation Executive Director Joey Powell. “Parents who are dealing with a very sick child should be able to focus on that child – and not have the added stress of missing rent or mortgage payments, groceries, utility bills, or even gas to get to and from the hospital. That’s where Me Fine comes in.”
“And that’s why we’re excited to announce our second Music for Me Fine,” continued Powell. “This event is a fun, casual way to enjoy some of our area’s best local music, food and drinks while supporting a great cause.”
More information about the Me Fine Foundation:
- In 2016, we have served 76 families with financial assistance. Since 2004, more than 1,200 families have benefitted from Me Fine’s financial support.
- Our average family grant is $220.
- Most frequently, Me Fine grants funds to support rent/mortgage payments, utility bills, groceries, medical bills or vehicle expenses.
- Me Fine also funds clinically-proven Emotional Support programs that are administered in the hospital setting by trained staff. These programs help children and families cope with the psychological and emotional burdens that accompany a critical or terminal diagnosis and its subsequent treatment.
About Me Fine Foundation, Inc.:
Me Fine Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to parents and caregivers sacrificing their livelihoods in order to provide their children with state-of-the-art, or even last-chance medical treatment at Duke and UNC Children¹s Hospitals. Me Fine Foundation is committed to ensuring families with children facing a devastating medical crisis are able to receive financial assistance, emotional support and other necessary resources to sustain the loss of income from the dramatic lifestyle changes they face during the treatment process. For more information, please call (919) 202-0086 or visit http://www.mefinefoundation.org.
Over the past year, Me Fine has been working with Duke and UNC Children’s Hospitals to adapt our programs to the changing needs of the children and families we serve. Our Hope for the Holidays program has evolved to create even more opportunities to support families in crisis and bring lasting joy to children living with critical illness. Hope for the Holidays allows you to bring real help and hope this holiday season. Here are two easy ways to get involved:
- Community Champion Projects – Working with Duke and UNC Children’s hospital staff, we’ve developed Community Champion projects to meet the unique needs of specific pediatric populations. As a Me Fine Community Champion, YOU can make a difference for hundreds, even thousands, of critically-ill kids at Duke and UNC Children’s Hospitals, this holiday season, and for years to come! Here’s a full list of projects your family, workplace, neighborhood, church or service organization can take on! Community Champions also have the opportunity to deliver their gift to the hospital with Me Fine! Sign up HERE to be a community champion.
- Adopt a Family – The Me Fine Dream Team has been uniquely tasked with providing Christmas for families in the midst of an initial diagnosis, relapse, or who find themselves spending their final holiday together. We need your help to fill the wish list of a family in crisis between now and Christmas.
How to get involved:
- Gather any number of people – family members, friends, coworkers, church groups.
- SIGN UP HERE and choose a budget that fits your group financially. Let us know if you have any timeline restrictions as well.
Between now and Christmas, Me Fine staff will match you to a family and send you a wish list for each child in the home. We also request a gift card on behalf of parents as a special surprise.
Go shopping! Unwrapped gifts can be dropped off at Me Fine partner locations throughout the Triangle until Monday, December 12.
Families are referred to us on a rolling basis, as hospitals receive new admissions or learn of crisis situations.
If you have any questions or would like to create your own unique Community Champion Project, call Meredith Izlar at 919-915-2173 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your support!
Richard Averitte, Marketing Chair, Me Fine Foundation
On Saturday, Nov 12th our friends at 99.9 The Fan are hosting BBQ 101, a grilling school that will be held at Clouds Brewing in Raleigh. Join us for one of the most delicious learning experiences of your life as a portion of proceeds from this event will be donated to the Me Fine Foundation.
From the perfect steak for a night in, to award winning barbecue for parties, BBQ 101 is your opportunity to learn how to cook like a pro for less than half of what a class of this caliber would normally cost AND you will get to eat and drink your way through it. Pros from Grillbillies Barbecue are going to be teaching you what has taken them years to perfect. Smoking, charcoal, gas grilling, buying meats, what wood to use and more. You’ll learn the difference between brining and injecting, how to layer seasonings, and much more. You can purchase your tickets here. In addition to eating like a king or queen and learning cooking techniques, you’ll be helping children and families in medical crisis!
Better hurry, space is limited so purchase your tickets now! We are so thankful to have community partners like 99.9 The Fan and Clouds Brewing! We appreciate their support of our mission.
Richard Averitte, Marketing Chair Me Fine Foundation
As the father of a seven-year-old girl, there’s one parenting duty I always delegate to my wife: hair styling. I was in a pickle last week when my wife went on her annual girl’s weekend beach trip and my daughter wanted braids in her hair. A YouTube video was useless since I am a hands-on training type of guy. Thanks to an idea from Me Fine Foundation supporter Sebastian Bunster, I won’t be in this prediciment anymore.
Fathers can now learn how to do braids, pony tails, pig tails, and much more in a Daddy-Daughter Hair Styling Class to benefit Me Fine Foundation. Join us on October 15th from 10am-11 am at HQ Raleigh located downtown as we show our girls that it’s not just mom that can make their hair special! Our goal is to go beyond the simple pony tail in an effort to bring more smiles, more hugs, and more happy memories into our father-daughter relationships. We hope to share this experience with other dads who want to play a more active role in their daughters’ development, and maybe learn a thing or two along the way!
Class instruction will be led by professional hairstylist Christopher Totman . Space is limited so make sure you register here. A $10 minimum donation appreciated (please mark “Daddy/Daughter Hairstyling” in the comments) or bring cash to the event!
Thank you for your support!
Richard Averitte, Marketing Chair/Board Chair-Elect
Me Fine Foundation
2016 ME FINE FOUNDATION GALA SHATTERS FUNDRAISING RECORD
Raleigh, N.C. (October 4th, 2016)- The Me Fine Foundation is proud to announce that it raised over $220,000 at their signature fundraiser, the Me Fine Gala, held at City Club Raleigh on September 17th. The Gala, presented by Centrifuge Media, celebrated Me Fine’s accomplishments over the last year and served as a thank you to the amazing team of donors and allies who helped in that success. The event is the nonprofit’s annual signature fundraiser, to help provide financial assistance and emotional support programs to parents and caregivers whose children are receiving critical medical treatment from Duke and UNC Children’s Hospitals.
The “Hero for Life” Award is the Me Fine Foundation’s highest honor, designed to recognize those who go above and beyond to help critically ill kids and families, specifically with respect to Me Fine’s mission. This year’s recipient, Ken Steenson, is a longtime foundation ally at the NC Children’s Hospital, who has been instrumental in the foundation’s growth there.
“I’m blown away: $40,000 more than we’ve ever done, and an incredible figure considering that last year’s event was such a monumental success, “ said Joey Powell, Executive Director of the Me Fine Foundation. “Because of every single person involved, we’ll be able to serve more families than we ever dreamed,” he added.
For more information about Me Fine, please call (919) 202-0086 or visit http://www.mefinefoundation.org.
About Me Fine Foundation, Inc.:
Me Fine Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to parents and caregivers sacrificing their livelihoods in order to provide their children with state-of-the-art, or even last-chance medical treatment at Duke and UNC Children¹s Hospitals. Me Fine Foundation is committed to ensuring families with children facing a devastating medical crisis are able to receive financial assistance, emotional support and other necessary resources to sustain the loss of income from the dramatic lifestyle changes they face during the treatment process.