As you may know, my son, Erick, passed away at the age of three. He was a medically fragile child with Cerebral Palsy, mental retardation, a feeding disorder (which required a surgically implanted feeding tube) and a tracheotomy to facilitate his breathing. This meant he needed 24/7 care.
For many years I prayed to know: Why did God keep me here? What is my purpose? What am I supposed to do? Well, prayers DO get answered. In 2006, I figured out my life’s purpose. I found my WHY. In September of that year, my husband, Rosy, and I established The Erick J. Umstead Memorial Foundation, now dba Erick’s Place. We wanted to head up a (501c3) charitable foundation in memory of Erick with the following mission: To provide financial assistance to families and children who are medically fragile.
We also wanted The Foundation to provide annual scholarships to college-bound young men. From there, the vision for the mission grew even bigger and better: we dreamt of building a facility that administers “Day Care” to medically fragile children, allowing their parents to work full-time jobs, knowing their child is receiving the BEST care available outside of the home environment.
Yes, this was a major undertaking, but once I retired from Verizon, I had the excitement, the energy, the time, the creative power and the fired-up passion to MAKE IT HAPPEN! Back then, one of the first steps I took was to write to friends and family for support and, as an Independent Mary Kay Beauty Consultant, vowed to contribute 10% of every Mary Kay sale I made to the Foundation. Then came the attorney, to draw up the necessary paperwork that would establish the Foundation. We commissioned a web designer and selected an accountant to set up the necessary financial tracking systems, etc., so we could collect donations and administer funds.
Thinking back to that time, I see how far we’ve come come AND how far we have the opportunity to go. I welcome your ideas, suggestions, comments and questions as we continue to find ways to serve chronically ill children and their families.
Here’s how YOU can help:
Just look what your gift can provide for the family of a chronically ill child:
$10 ~ Public Transportation
$25 ~ Gas Card
$50 ~ Bag of Groceries
$100+ ~ Registered Nurse Visitation