Supporter Spotlight: The Cadets

The Cadet family
The Cadet family: Marcus, Claudia, Edwin, and Sofia (from left to right)

How did you first learn about the Me Fine Foundation?

I attended a fundraiser where all proceeds went to Me Fine. Joey Powell described the mission of the organization and I fell in love with it immediately. Serendipitously, Me Fine started working in my hospital (WakeMed) a few months later.

What about Me Fine’s mission most resonates with you?

I love that Me Fine strives to meet family’s needs no matter what they are. The Foundation tries to fill gaps not served by other organizations and gives families hope at a time of crisis. Given my direct involvement caring for families in the WakeMed NICU, I often see the direct impact the organization has on lightening each family’s burden. The relief Me Fine provides fuels my passion for the organization, not to mention the wonderful people that work so hard behind the scenes to make everything possible!!

What is the greatest influence for you when choosing a particular nonprofit organization or cause?

I believe in sustainable and efficient organizations that are deeply passionate about their work and stay true to their mission. As I work with critically ill children and their families, I strive to support organizations that alleviate their suffering and support research and training focused on childhood illnesses.

Growing up, who did you look up to and why?

My mom and grandmother because they were such incredible role models as intelligent, strong, independent women.

Claudia as a young girl, dressed in a t-shirt with giant fruit in front of a background with neon lasers
Claudia bringing her A-game to school photo day

What are you grateful for?

The opportunity to wake up every day and do what I love with the people I love.

The toy/activity that brought you the greatest joy as a child was:

Barbies and their related accessories (ice cream shop, beauty shop, car..)

What other community-based or nonprofit organizations do you support as a donor, volunteer, board member, etc.?

Manos de Ramon Foundation, WakeMed Foundation, Maracas Parent Association, Friends of St. Timothy’s, World Pediatric Project

What does being a part of a community look like for you?

Being part of a group of people who support each other while striving for a common cause.

What makes you laugh?

My children! My son’s jokes and my daughter’s infectious laugh.

If you could have any meal delivered to you right now, what would it be?

My grandmother’s fried fish with plantains, rice, and beans.

What are three words you would use to describe yourself and/or your family?

Curious, tenacious, and loving.

What would you like us to know about you/your family that we haven’t asked yet?

I am from the Dominican Republic and my husband’s family is from Haiti, so our household represents and blends two sides of the same small Caribbean island. Needless to say, we LOVE the beach and all things Caribbean!

Supporter Spotlight: Express Yourself Paint

Express Yourself Paint (EYP) became one of the Me Fine Foundation’s first corporate sustainers. Owned by husband and wife team, David and Leigh Roberts, this local business is showing up in a big way for the broader community. Learn more about this interior and exterior painting company based in Raleigh in this Supporter Spotlight.

The Roberts Family

Why Me Fine Foundation?

Express Yourself Paint is committed to re-investing in local nonprofits that provide services, opportunities, or resources in the Triangle. Like Me Fine, we believe that children and families needs come first for us all to thrive. We want to know our financial commitment and time are benefitting the community that has allowed us to operate for 13 years.

Why did EYP chose to be a sustaining/ongoing supporter of Me Fine instead of making a one-time gift?

As a small business being a monthly sustainer allows us to contribute in a meaningful way, measure impact of our commitment and as the business flourishes, so does our community impact and giving.

Besides the mission of the Me Fine Foundation, what are other causes/nonprofits that EYP as an organization and its staff support with their dollars and time?

In addition to the Me Fine Foundation, we have supported local nonprofits such as Activate Good, A Place At The Table, Bridge II Sports, and Fight Like Paxton. Community service is an integral part of our corporate culture.

Express Yourself Paint is proud to be a locally owned and operated company started by husband and wife team David and Leigh Roberts in 2006. David and Leigh have been involved in the home improvement business for more than 20 years. Since the early eighties the Roberts have sought out homes in need of TLC but screaming with potential and have left their mark. From circa 1910 homes to new construction, David and Leigh Roberts complement each other’s talents and eye for detail, delivering impressive results. To learn more about our team or services, visit –

Since 2004, Me Fine Foundation has addressed this overwhelming need by providing both financial and emotional support to over 1,800 families whose child is experiencing a medical crisis. We work with families whose children are being treated by Duke Children’s Medical Center, UNC Children’s Hospital, or WakeMed Children’s Hospital.

We hope you will join us in showing some local love with a one time or recurring gift at

Stories of Hope: Amelia

Spanish Version


Nos tomó por sorpresa nuestra tercer hija, en el último trimestre me diagnosticaron preeclampsia, al llegar al hospital me detectaron fallo renal, había entrado en el síndrome de Hellp, ese día me dijeron que para salvarme, mi bebe tenía que nacer al tercer día, a sus 30 semanas cumplidas, pero a causo de la preeclampsia la bebé nació con un atraso de crecimiento y solo peso 1 libra 8 onzas.

Fue muy duro para mi tener que someterme a una cesárea de emergencia, pues no padezco ninguna enfermedad crónica como diabetes, hipertensión, lo cual me hubiera preparado de alguna manera para esperar este tipo de diagnóstico.

El deseo de estar con mi bebe y aprender como cuidarla, un bebé prematuro, me hace ir todos los días al hospital y estar lo más posible, vivimos a más de una hora del hospital, y el seguro no cubre ni el gas ni los gastos de estacionamiento.

Gracias a la fundación Me Fine, la cual nos a ayudado, estos gastos no no son una preocupación, ahora puedo enfocarme más en mi bebe sin descuidar a mi familia.

Me considero una mujer saludable, trato de cuidarme, no tengo ninguna enfermedad crónica, pero esto fue así sin esperarlo, eso me hace reconsiderar el hecho de que a cualquiera nos puede cambiar la vida y estar en una situación parecida.

Que gracias a personas como tú que apoyas a organizaciones como MeFine, estos momentos se toman menos difíciles y podemos ver una luz de esperanza de que todo va a estar mejor.

Me Fine en nombre de mi esposo, mis hija y yo GRACIAS.

Atte: Amelia

English Version


Our third daughter was a surprise pregnancy.

In the final trimester I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. When I got to the hospital I was diagnosed with kidney failure and HELLP syndrome. That day they told me that to save me, my baby would need to be born within three days, at 30 weeks, but because of the preeclampsia, my baby girl was born with stunted growth, and only weighed one pound eight ounces.

It was very hard for me to have to undergo an emergency C-section, because I don’t have any chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, which would have prepared me in some way to expect this kind of diagnosis.

The desire to be with my baby and learn how to take care of her, a premature baby, is what makes me go to the hospital every day and stay there as much as possible, even though I live more than an hour from the hospital, and insurance doesn’t cover gas or parking.

Thanks to the Me Fine Foundation, which has helped us, these expenses are no longer a concern, now I can focus more on my baby without neglecting my family.

I consider myself a healthy woman. I try to take care of myself. I don’t have any chronic diseases, but this was unexpected. This makes me think about the fact that any of our lives can change at any moment and we’ll find ourselves in a similar situation.

Thanks to people like you who support organizations like Me Fine, these moments become less difficult and we can see a light of hope that everything will be better.

Me Fine, on behalf of my husband, my daughter and me, THANK YOU.

Sincerely, Amelia

Supporter Spotlight: The Parikh Family

Talking about diving right into giving back! San and Lauren Parikh moved to North Carolina in 2017 and almost immediately found themselves connected to the Me Fine Foundation. The couple had recently welcomed their first child, Maya. In 2018, Lauren and San offered their talent and experience for the Me Fine Gala as committee members. San joined the Board of Directors in 2019, and both plan to continue deepening their connections to the organization’s mission in the years to come. Learn more about the Parikh family in this Supporter Spotlight.

How did you first learn about the Me Fine Foundation?

San was introduced to Me Fine’s Executive Director and Board Chair through his law firm, Wyrick Robbins, a Me Fine sponsor.

What about Me Fine’s mission most resonates with you?

Having a young daughter, Me Fine’s commitment to supporting families emotionally and financially when they have critically ill children pulled at our heart strings. We cannot imagine anything harder than watching our daughter suffer through a serious illness. Even the very minor and normal illnesses she has had, have been disruptive as we’ve had to scramble to find child care and have to miss work so we can’t imagine the toll that would take for months on end.

What is the greatest influence for you when choosing a particular nonprofit organization or cause?

Obviously the organization has to have a mission that is important to us and we also consider the community served by the organization and how much of the donations go directly to supporting the cause.

What are three words you would use to describe yourself and/or your family?

Loving. Fun. Driven.

Lauren Parikh as a little girl wearing a swimsuit
Evidence that Lauren really did love all things water.

The toy/activity that brought you the greatest joy as a child was:

Lauren: water sports and activities, especially at the lake.

San: a deck of cards and lots of family.

Sam as a toddle holding a multicolored beach ball above his head
San must have known early that he would have to woo someone who loved water sports, hence improving his beachball skillsl 

If you could have any meal delivered to you right now, what would it be?

Sushi (for both of us!)

What are you grateful for?

Our health and the health and our family, having all our needs and most of our wants met; the opportunities we’ve been afforded in life and the list goes on and on – we’re incredibly grateful for all we have!

What makes you laugh?

Each other, Brooklyn 99, our daughter Maya, and our puppy Remi

What does being a part of a community look like for you?

Being part of a local network that supports one another during the hard times and is there to celebrate one another’s successes and joys as well.

What other community-based or nonprofit organizations do you support as a donor, volunteer, board member, etc.?

NC Legal Aid Fund. We also sponsor a child in India through Children International.

What would you like us to know about you/your family that we haven’t asked yet?

We moved to Raleigh from New Jersey (right outside New York City) a little over a year ago to find a better pace of life for our family. We’re an interracial, interfaith family that believes that the fight for equality and inclusiveness is among the most important causes of our time.

2019 Resolution #9: Handing the Mic

This is it! Today, we reveal our ninth and final resolution for 2019. If you have missed any of the previous eight, you can review them here.

The Me Fine Foundations staff’s final 2019 resolution is simple: provide a platform for families to share their treatment and hospitalization stories. Here’s the most important part. This platform is to give families the opportunity to tell those stories in their own words. We aren’t controlling the microphone. Instead, we are passing it.

Me Fine began because our founder, Lori Lee, was willing to leverage the power of her son’s Caring Bridge site. Through this online platform, she provided updates, expressed her range of emotions, and created a space where other parents saw their own experience reflected.

Today, we turn this resolution into action with the help of Angel Oak Creative, our hospital partners, and most importantly, the families who participated. We invite you to tune into our brand new video featuring Sue and Sidney Povish and Jerry and Shannon Rhodes. You will also hear from Margaret Morrison, one of the dedicated hospital social workers who connects families to Me Fine.

Jerry and Shannon Rhodes
Jerry and Shannon Rhodes

Tomorrow, our annual #ShowYourLove campaign begins. Throughout the month of February, we invite you to make moments of hope happen for families throughout the calendar year by joining Me Fine as a sustainer. Each time you donate, you are helping take care of a light bill or a gas tank. You are eliminating those worries so parents like Sue, Jerry, and Shannon can focus on what matters.

Start your commitment today:

Supporter Spotlight: Hutchinson Family

CJ, Kevin, Katherine, and Ellie Hutchinson

Before she joined the Me Fine Foundation Board of Directors in January 2019, Katherine Hutchinson had already made a big splash in supporting the nonprofit’s mission. Not only was she an active member on the Emotional Support Committee, she and her husband (Kevin) attended Music for Me Fine, taking home two fabulous silent auction prizes. The family’s giving spirit continued throughout 2018, capping off the year by taking a lead in organizing Me Fine’s annual Hope for the Holidays program as well as being a part of the gift distribution events.

Learn more about Katherine’s childhood love of baby dolls, her family’s [husband, Kevin; daughter, Ellie (14); and son, CJ (11)] fondness of travel and community serve, and why she cheers for the Fighting Irish in this edition of our Supporter Spotlight series.

How did you first learn about the Me Fine Foundation?

My close friend and fellow psychologist, Jaclyn Starritt, invited me to join the Emotional Support Committee.

“Kevin and I both strongly value service to our community and want to raise our children to be good global citizens of the world. “

What about Me Fine’s mission most resonates with you?

Me Fine brings people together to support some of the most vulnerable members of our community at the most difficult points in their lives. Childhood illness does not discriminate and can impact any family at any time. Supporting these children and their families tends to bring out the very best in people; it brings people together in a really beautiful way.

What is the greatest influence for you when choosing a particular nonprofit organization or cause?

The greatest influence for me in choosing a nonprofit to support is equal parts the cause and mission of the group and the people behind the mission. Everyone I have met through Me Fine, including the staff, the board and the volunteers, have been dedicated, kind and compassionate individuals.

What are three words you would use to describe yourself and/or your family?

Our family is adventurous, funny and connected. We love to travel and try to take the kids on one “big” trip a year to expose them to different people, cultures and parts of the world. Kevin and I both strongly value service to our community and want to raise our children to be good global citizens of the world.

The toy/activity that brought you the greatest joy as a child was:

Not surprisingly, my favorite activities as a child involved playing with baby dolls, especially my Cabbage Patch dolls! I have always loved children and babies.

What are you grateful for?

I am grateful for so much! My family, healthy children, laughter, sunshine, the opportunity to connect with others every day in my profession, the ability to travel and show my kids the world and my community.

What other community-based or nonprofit organizations do you support as a donor, volunteer, board member, etc.?

We support our church, our alma mater, The University of Notre Dame, St. Jude, our local food bank, Western Wake Crisis Ministry, and the Durham Rescue Mission. I serve as a professional advisor to Moms Supporting Moms, a support group for new moms experiencing postpartum anxiety or depression (that is part of SafeChild).

2019 Resolution #8: Celebrating Our Hospital Partners

We’re in the homestretch of sharing out the Me Fine Foundation staff’s 2019 resolutions! This is one that we’re particularly excited about for the year ahead. Me Fine’s eighth resolution for 2019 is to shine a bigger spotlight on our hospital partners.

Social workers. Child Life Specialists. Nurses. Doctors. Technicians. Housekeepers. Custodial staff. Psychologists. Finance officers. Each person in the pediatric healthcare setting adds to the quality of care and support that patients and their families receive during their stay. These are often individuals we meet during the worst moments of our lives. Yet, each day, these compassionate people show up and give of themselves to make our experiences less scary and lonely.

Without social workers, Psychologists, and Child Life specialists in particular, Me Fine would not be able to fulfill the organization’s mission! These front-line positions hear and witness the needs of families who are mired in pediatric illness. Me Fine’s financial assistance program relies heavily on referrals from social workers. The types of emotional and psychosocial support programs we sponsor in our partner hospitals often comes directly from the experienced recommendations of Child Life Specialists and Child Psychologists. Additionally, these professionals, in collaboration with nursing staff and social workers, make these programs available to pediatric patients, siblings, and caregivers.

Group of healthcare providers with Santa Claus & Mrs. Claus in front of a white wall with the word "Welcome" written in blue script.
Some of the WakeMed Children’s NICU care team members from our 2018 Christmas in July celebration.

Expect to learn more about the amazing individuals and teams at WakeMed Children’s, Duke Children’s, and UNC Children’s Hospitals who work with the Me Fine Foundation board and staff to offer hope to children and families each and every day.

2019 Resolution #7: Pulling Back the Curtain on Treatment Costs

How can our community find more and better ways to offer support to children and their families in the throes of a medical crisis? One way is by working to destigmatize the financial and emotional challenges that accompany pediatric illness. This is the Me Fine Foundation staff’s seventh resolution for 2019.

Having a loved one experience a medical crisis can put a family in financial free fall. Often, it is not the medical treatment costs themselves that put individuals and families in such precarious situations. These ancillary costs — the expenses that accumulate while receiving said medical treatment — are often unanticipated. These are expenses not covered by insurance or other social safety nets.

You likely have heard Me Fine talk about such costs over the years: from paying daily parking rates to purchasing meals at the hospital, to avoid leaving your child to continuing to pay bills for living expenses in a home that you may not even being living in during your child’s treatment.

Over the course of 2019, Me Fine will share stories and data that show how illness and critical care are having a profound impact on the lives and futures of families within our communities. Additionally, we will offer examples of people and collaborators who are working to drive costs down,making it easier for families to avoid bankruptcy, eviction, foreclosure, and the countless other devastating consequences that can come about due to a life-threatening medical condition. The more we remain attuned? to the needs of our neighbors, co-workers, classmates, and friends, the more we can do to step up and alleviate burdens that may be keeping parents and caregivers from fully being with their child.

2019 Resolution #6: Vision

One of the reasons that the Me Fine Foundation has been so successful over the last 14 years is because people actively cared and showed up to serve. As Me Fine has grown, so has the need for the organization to regroup and re-evaluate what the future could look like if we are fulfilling our mission.

Our sixth resolution for 2019 is to share Me Fine’s vision for the future.

For the first time, board and staff members are working together to craft the transformational change we hope to see in our communities. This process began in January 2018 in partnership with consultants from Armstrong McGuire + Associates. On January 14, 2019, more than 20 of us gathered at the North Carolina Community Foundation to review the mission; establish organizational values and beliefs; set strategic priorities; and sketch out an initial vision.

As we put the final touches on the current iteration of a vision statement, we know that it is important for us as an organization to speak to that vision frequently. Our vision is the manifestation of the countless hours given by volunteers, dollars by donors and partners, and dedication of our professional staff. The words that came up during our discussion on January 14th around our vision included:

  • Collaboration
  • Community
  • Easing burdens
  • Compassion
  • Systems of support

Expect to hear more from us about this vision and how we will work towards achieving it throughout 2019 and beyond!

2019 Resolution #5: Bigger Picture Thinking

The fifth resolution of the Me Fine Foundation staff for 2019 is somewhat similar to our first resolution but with a slight twist. Me Fine’s mission is very deliberate and focused: We meet urgent needs through our financial assistance program so families can avoid additional life and financial disruptions. The emotional and psychosocial support programs that we sponsor in our partner hospitals offer longer-term interventions for coping and healing for each member of the family.

But, the challenges families navigating pediatric illness and medical crisis experience are much wider and greater than Me Fine can ever address. Fortunately there are other pediatric-centered organizations, such as the American Board of Pediatrics and even our three partner hospitals, that are working to eliminate and eradicate specific disruptions permanently.

Me Fine’s fifth resolution for 2019 is to highlight some of the bigger-picture thinking and actions other groups are taking, which will have positive impacts for the children and families we serve.

All of us in the Me Fine family can learn from and/or work with other nonprofit, public sector, and for-profit partners to develop ideas and implement long-term solutions. For instance, one potential suggestion is to recognize formally the role that childhood trauma plays in the long-term health and wellness of our communities, which could open the door for greater research, resources, and acceptance (read this NPR story here).

This is a resolution where we will want your help! When you hear of ground-breaking approaches to supporting families; when you read about simple interventions that could make it easier for parents and caregivers to be with their sick child, we would love for you to share it with us! You can send us an email at

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