Tag Archives: Me Fine Foundation

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: http://bit.ly/ShowYourLove2019

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 communications@mefinefoundation.org.

2019 Resolution #4: Highlighting Supporters

Thus far in the Me Fine Foundation staff’s quest to set resolutions for the year ahead, we have committed to:

Our fourth commitment of 2019 is to share more stories of those individuals, families, community groups, and businesses who give their time, talent, and resources to enable Me Fine to carry out its mission.

These generous supporters share our values and want to do whatever they can to provide hope to children and families. Twenty of these individuals compromise our Board of Directors. Dozens more support the organization by hosting thrift drives for new and gently-used items that our Second Hope Shop can sell; organizing and participating in our annual Christmas in July and Hope for the Holidays programs; and finding one-time opportunities to prepare craft supplies, pack items in our storage unit, or help out at one of our events.

Hundreds more — including schools; churches; foundations; small, local businesses; medium-size firms; and major corporations — give of their financial resources. The dollars donated fulfills Me Fine’s promise to children and families. Your contributions equip the organization with the resources to carry out our financial assistance and emotional support programs; to support the professional staff who dedicate their lives to all facets of Me Fine’s work; and to help share the testimonies of what pediatric illness and critical care get told to wider audiences.

Expect to see more of the faces and learn more of the stores behind all those who stand with Me Fine.

January 2019: Stories of Hope

Despite their emotional upheaval, parents and caregivers graciously offer a glimpse into their family’s experiences as their child undergoes treatment at one of the Me Fine Foundation’s partner hospitals.

Sometimes, families share stories with many details. They explain what life was like before their child’s diagnosis, and what life looks like now. Sometimes, the stories that families share are shorter. They may give us permission to talk about their child’s diagnosis or identify their hometown. They may allow us to share their names or how Me Fine was able to help their family.

Regardless, all of these families kindly took precious time to reveal part of themselves and their experiences with pediatric illness. Each month, we will share one or more of these stories. We want to underscore the incredible gratitude and honor that we at Me Fine feel in being able to provide a platform for these families to share parts of their stories.

This month, we want to share two of the countless personal testimonies as to how children and families end up getting connected to Me Fine’s mission.

Retinoblastoma. This is a type of eye cancer that begins in the retina and typically affects children. A diagnosis of retinoblastoma is how one Me Fine family ended up at Duke Children’s Hospital, eventually being referred to the organization for hope and help with specific financial hardships. The good news: retinoblastoma is a highly treatable cancer. Per Duke Health, “[i]t is estimated that 95 percent of children diagnosed with retinoblastoma survive this condition.” Still, the regiment of treatment and travel take an emotional and monetary toll on the pediatric patient and the entire family.

Down Highway 15-501, Jenny J. found her son, Samuel J., admitted to UNC Children’s Hospital for persistent asthma. Her six-year-old experienced difficulty breathing for more than two weeks. This was Samuel’s fourth hospitalization. The family hails from Dunn, North Carolina. Jenny and her family traveled for nearly 90 minutes one-way, when traffic was “normal,” each time Samuel required medical intervention. Samuel’s social worker referred his family to Me Fine for assistance. The organization, because of our supporters, provided Jenny a $200 grocery giftcard in order to eliminate one more out-of-pocket expense weighing on the family.

Each time you give of your resources and time to the Me Fine Foundation, we encourage you to bring these family stories to mind. Your compassion makes a difference, as each one of these families bravely attested.

2019 Resolution #3: Empowering Me Fine Ambassadors

Ahead of an impending wintry mix, our staff wants to share our third resolution for the year ahead. If you have missed our first two, you can find them here and here. This third commitment is all about creating more opportunities for you.

The Me Fine Foundation can’t fulfill its mission without the involvement of community members. Whether as donors, volunteers, promoters, or partners, each of you play a role in helping to shine a bigger spotlight on the plight of families struck by pediatric illness.

In 2018, we stepped up our commitment to bringing greater attention to the gaps in financial assistance and emotional support resources through our friendraisers and reviving our blog. Yet, we’ve only scratched the surface of how this work and the stories of children and families get reverberated across our state and beyond.

This year, we commit to creating more ways for you to provide feedback and serve as a Me Fine ambassador. We will do this by better leveraging digital tools to give you insights into the organization; adding more informal in-person gatherings for connection and problem-solving; and establishing more formal ways for you to raise the necessary resources to meet our ongoing referrals for assistance.




These three pillars require a rock-solid foundation for any nonprofit organization to be successful. That foundation is made up of people like you: people who care; people who have taken their own personal journey through critical care or know someone who has.

Thank you for being a part of our Foundation. Hold us accountable for giving you ways to amplify how everyone can be a part of an extended Me Fine family!

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