Last Easter I received a text message with a photo wishing me and my family Happy Easter. It was a beautiful photo of my best friend’s daughters, celebrating the holiday on vacation in Mexico with relatives. Just seconds later their lives would be forever changed.
Moments after this photo was taken Maddi, the youngest of the three Raimondo girls took a tragic misstep and fell off the rooftop deck. Jenny literally watched helplessly as her daughter’s eyes locked with hers as she fell. Racing to the street below it was several minutes before they knew if Maddie had even survived the fall. It took an ambulance, a ferry and yet another ambulance ride over the course of 2 full hours before they could even get Maddi to a hospital in Cancun, all the while not knowing what injuries other than the obvious external had occurred. Admitted to an emergency room in a hospital in a foreign country, they fought the language barrier to try to figure out their next step. Over the next 2 days test were run and surgery was deemed necessary to deal with many broken bones, internal bleeding and skull fractures. Dozens of frantic phone calls were placed, x-rays were emailed and financial arrangements were made to obtain a medically staffed flight to transport Maddi to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. They landed in Philadelphia a full 2 1/2 days after her initial fall, exhausted, terrified and grateful to be at home at one of the best pediatric care hospitals in our country.
Today if you were to meet Maddi for the first time she looks like every other happy little girl her age. But her and her family are forever changed. It has been a very long road that has included surgeries and rehab. There are still obstacles, both physical and emotional to surmount, and only time will tell for sure what challenges will appear. Jenny, for sure, has changed, both as a mother and a human being. Time stood still and a new sense of gratitude has taken over her heart. Her and her family were fortunate. They had a lot of support and resources as they went through this journey, she knows that not everyone is so lucky.
As they have continued to move forward Jenny and her family want to give back. Ideally they would love to create a transportation oriented emergency fund, to be given out to other families in the need of medical transport at critical times. This is the big picture goal that will take a lot of time and resources. In the meantime Jenny noticed something small but significant that made Maddi’s time at C.H.O.P. easier.Everything at C.H.O.P. is bright, upbeat and meant to make children feel comfortable while they are spending time at a hospital. The one thing that wasn’t child sized was the trays. Standard issue hospital trays are necessary for all type of medically logistical reasons but they didn’t always serve the needs of the kids that were truly stuck in their beds, doing endless hours of crafts and coloring, sometimes for fun and sometimes for therapy. A simple $10 purchase made this experience much easier for Maddi’s small size, with side compartments to hold supplies and other needs. This is a basic purchase that Jenny and her family are hoping to provide as a donation to the trauma department at C.H.O.P.