It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world and changed our sense of normal. But for one Central Florida mother, “normal” changed for her family in June 2019.
It was then that Timidigi “Timi” Tadawei faced a harrowing diagnosis: her 2-year-old daughter Christabel was diagnosed with stage two kidney cancer. Living in Nigeria at the time, the family spent several frustrating months trying to find the right care for their daughter’s diagnosis.
Finding Hope at Nemours Children’s Hospital
Then, in September 2019, Timi, Christabel, and a 4-year-old sister, left Nigeria to seek better health care and treatment options in the U.S. They settled with family in Central Florida, and it was there that Timi found hope at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Lake Nona, Medical City.
Jump forward to March 2020 and the entire world was turned upside down with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to relocating internationally to find the best care for their child, Christabel’s family also had to endure the unprecedented stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Christabel still had six more months of chemo treatment and Timi found herself in need of additional resources to get by. She found help through the dedication of a Nemours social worker, and support made possible through the Nemours Patient Impact fund.
How the Nemours Patient Impact Funds Helps
Funded by the generosity of corporate and private donors, the Nemours Patient Impact Fund provides funding for vital services that directly enhance and support the patient and family experience at Nemours Children’s Hospital, including but not limited to: insurance and medication support, meals and transportation, translation services, chaplain services, and technology advancements.
What may come as a surprise, more than 70% of patients at Nemours Children’s Hospital are Medicaid recipients or uninsured; and many of these patient families have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including Timi’s family.
Even with months of added pandemic fears, strict safety protocols, and the necessity for personal protective equipment, nothing could dampen the happy celebration when Christabel, now almost three-years-old, got to ring the bell to signal the end of her year-long cancer treatments in August.
How the Community Can Support the Cause
The pandemic has changed each of us, and it’s changed the way that nonprofits connect with the community to raise vital funds to help patients like Christabel.
The annual Nemours fundraising gala is known as one of the best parties with a purpose, but this year the on-going effects of the pandemic have required Nemours to think differently. Instead of a black-tie affair in a beautifully decorated hotel ballroom, Nemours is bringing the celebration directly into the homes of supporters through the Nemours Health Care Heroes Virtual Celebration.
The virtual celebration premieres live on Saturday, November 7, and is co-hosted by Joey Fatone (*NSync, Dancing with the Stars) and Nancy Alvarez (WFTV Eyewitness News anchor).
This interactive and engaging online experience will feature stories of hope and healing; combined with exciting entertainment from Dance It studio’s ballroom dancers, and musical performances from local band Audio Exchange, and Alyssa Raghu, Top 8 Finalist on American Idol (2018).
While the virtual celebration is free to stream, viewers can take advantage of virtual tickets for the event that include ready to heat meals from Publix Aprons. Funds raised from virtual tickets, event sponsorships, and donations during the event benefit the Nemours COVID-19 Community Response Fund and the Patient Impact Fund to provide exceptional care to more families and patients like Christabel.
Save the Date!
Nemours Health Care Heroes Virtual Celebration
When: Saturday, November 7
Time: Pre-show at 6:30 p.m., Main event at 7:00 p.m.
Price: Registration to watch the show is free, Virtual tickets begin at $150.
For more details about the Nemours Health Care Heroes Virtual Celebration, including how you can be a hero for a child or family at Nemours, visit the official event website: www.nemours.org/nchgala