When a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, it impacts the entire family, from husband and wife to younger and older siblings.
- Emotionally – Fear, uncertainty, sadness, and anxiety are the immediate emotions that members of the family experience, compounded by the additional stress that occurs with mounting medical bills while also handling the responsibilities of daily life such as work and family.
- Physically – For most parents providing care to their seriously ill child, the experience is very taxing and stressful.
- Financially – Medical bills can range from thousands to millions of dollars for a child with a life-threatening illness.
- Family Life – Each individual family member copes in their own unique and significant ways. Siblings often react with anger or regressive behavior, because so much time and attention is dedicated to the sick child.
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HUGS provides services at no cost to qualified families.
HOSPITAL VISITATION: HUGS staff and trained volunteers make regular visits to local hospitals to visit children and their families. As part of the outreach, HUGS offers:
- Silver Lining Toy Chest – New toys and gift cards are given to children undergoing painful treatments such as a spinal tap or bone marrow aspirations.
- Laughter Wagon – Trained volunteers engage children, teens and siblings with interactive games and activities that help to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Amenity Kits – Toiletries are given to families that are spending 24 hours or more in the hospital.
FAMILY DINNERS: Monthly dinners allow parents time to relax, share information and provide support and fellowship to one another in a non-threatening, caring environment.
PEER SUPPORT GROUPS: Peer support gatherings provide a non-judgmental environment for specific peer groups. These fun, focused activities allow participants to freely share feelings while supporting one another within a group that understands the experiences and challenges they all face.
RESPITE: HUGS provides parents and caregivers the opportunity for much needed personal time away from the intense demands of caring for a seriously ill child. Free childcare is offered in a safe and supportive environment so that parents have time away to do whatever they wish. HUGS also offers emergency respite assessed on a case-by-case basis according to need and staffing.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE: Eligible families can receive financial support with airfare, food, and memorial assistance. Eligibility is based on financial need.