Community Impact: Fragile Kids Foundation
Helping Extraordinary Kids Be Kids
For over 26 years, the Fragile Kids Foundation has assisted families across Georgia with the resources they need to safely care for and transport their medically fragile children living with chronic illnesses, genetic and traumatic disorders, and orthopedic and neuro-muscular challenges.
While the agency offers a variety of services to families from stair-lifts to specialized car seats and bathing systems, the most frequently requested service is transportation assistance.
“Our goal is to enable these children to be transported safely to and from their many doctors’ appointments. We also want these children, to be able to be included in everyday life events,” said Jill Gossett, Interim Executive Director of Fragile Kids.
Gossett said these medically-necessary transportation lifts are multi-layered because they help the child become included in family activities but they also help caregivers avoid chronic health problems.
“Our kiddos grow just like other children,” said Gossett. “They get taller and heavier. But, they can’t motor around like other children so their caregivers struggle with chronic back and neck problems because they are lifting them.”
As the only agency in the state assisting families in this way, Gossett said on average the agency fulfills 400 requests a year. “I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but our equipment is very expensive,” she said. In addition to purchasing equipment, the foundation also has a loaner library of previously owned equipment for families to borrow.
In 2016, Gwinnett sent in more requests than any other county in the state; the foundation was able to fulfill 19 and another five from other areas served by Jackson EMC.
Gossett said there’s always a waiting list. “Kids are put on a waiting list until funds are available, she said. “We hope no one ever waits longer than 6 months.”
Funds like those recently granted through the Jackson EMC Foundation help provide the prescribed medical equipment children need that is not covered by insurance. A recent grant for $11,927 was used to purchase two convaid strollers for children and to install a van lift for another.
“We cannot thank Jackson EMC nearly enough for their continued support,” Gossett said. “I don’t know how to appropriately thank them. It’s your members, your community, who fund this. How gracious of them to give. We are extremely grateful. That kind of support and continued giving is really incredible.”
Since 2008, the Jackson EMC Foundation has granted $97,427 to Fragile Kids.
To learn more about the Fragile Kids Foundation, visit www.fragilekids.org/.