Local Mother Creates Three Special Funds to Assist Families at The Children's Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center

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In memory of her daughter, a local Pittsburgh mother has created three funds to assist families with children in the Pediatric Specialty Hospital of The Children's Home of Pittsburgh and Lemieux Family Center. A check presentation ceremony will take place on Thursday, July 28, 2011 at The Children's Home.

The Children's Home of Pittsburgh

The Children's Home of Pittsburgh is a non-profit organization that promotes the heath and well-being of infants and children.

April Kalic's goal is to create a sense of hope and security for the families in need of loving support and encouragement.

On June 3, 2011, April Kalic of O’Hara Township gifted $12,000 to The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center in memory of her daughter, Madison. The contributions will support families with children in the Pediatric Specialty Hospital and those parents and siblings staying in the Lemieux Family Center. The donations will be broken down into "Madison’s Memory Box fund," "Madison’s Tricky Arm fund," and the "S.A.M. fund,” named after April's three daughters, Alexis, Samantha and Madison. Each fund will provide short-term support to families and financial assistance to alleviate the small stressors and inconveniences of an extended or unexpected hospital stay. A formal presentation will take place on Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. to present The Children’s Home & Lemieux Family Center’s CEO, Pamela Schanwald, a check to start the funds and begin assisting families.

“April Kalic's goal is to create a sense of hope and security for the families in need of loving support and encouragement,” said Pamela Schanwald, CEO of The Children’s Home & Lemieux Family Center. “The three funds all have a thoughtful purpose and a strong message of hope.”

April has endured many ups and downs in the past several years after losing her 6-year-old daughter Madison to a rare inflammatory neurological disorder. Madison was experiencing multiple seizures and her mother would eventually find out she had Rasmussen Encephalitis, a rare inflammatory neurological disorder characterized by frequent severe seizures and loss of motor skills and speech. Madison underwent a Hemispherectomy, which involved an operation on half of her brain, to counteract the disorder. After the surgery, Madison worked hard at rehabilitation, where she made amazing improvements, such as being able to walk and pronounce single words after only two weeks. “It was a miracle,” said April. “When I asked her if she could hear me, she responded right away.” The months following Madison’s surgery were filled with re-training and rehabilitation, leaving her mother, April, grateful and ecstatic. April hosted several fundraisers to raise money for Madison’s recovery and ended up collecting just short of $12,000 in donations. April had the loving support of her family and friends to help raise the funds that will result in assisting many families. Sadly, Madison’s seizures reappeared and April was faced with the difficult choice of whether or not to place Madison in a children's hospice program. Prior to that decision being made, Madison died. “Madison was a lively and vibrant child who loved life,” said April. Madison’s motto was a famous Annie quote: “The sun will come out tomorrow.”

After Madison’s passing, April was inspired to help other families who are going through similar life-changing experiences. “No one knows the true pain of losing someone you truly love until it happens to you first-hand,” said April. “The small expenses can build up while taking care of a sick child, making the situation stressful and harder to handle. From one parent to another, any assistance in time of need is so much appreciated. Never forget to pay it forward when you can help another in their time of need.” April chose this saying to be the slogan for her donation and the platform of her life. Each fund has a unique and different purpose, whether it is a form of transportation or groceries for the families that are staying away from home. Madison's Tricky Arm fund is to help cover the costs of transporting a family member who does not have sufficient means, so that they can be with the family and provide support during their stay at The Children's Home & Lemieux Family Center. Madison's Memory Box fund provides memory boxes to families, including hand and foot impressions, a scrapbook, and a memorial brick on The Children's Home’s Garden pathway. The S.A.M. fund provides funding for everyday stressors on families, including almost forgotten utility bills, lawn care, pet boarding, child-care for siblings, or any other small things that can weigh heavily on the minds of parents. A special check presentation will be held on Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at The Children's Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center.

About The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center

The Children's Home of Pittsburgh, established in 1893, is an independent, non-profit licensed organization that promotes the health and well-being of infants and children through services which establish and strengthen the family. These programs include: Adoption -- serving infants, birthparents and persons seeking to adopt, Child’s Way® -- a pediatric extended care center serving medically fragile infants and children, and a 24-bed Pediatric Specialty Hospital -- infant and pediatric units that provide short-term transitional care from hospital to home for those who are technology dependent and who may suffer from life threatening illnesses.

Photos and videos will be available upon request.

Interview Opportunities:
·         Pam Schanwald, CEO, The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center
·         April Kalic, Mother of Madison and creator of the three funds to assist families.

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