JUPITER, Fla. — The diagnosis of a life-threatening illness rocks anyone’s world, much less the lives of parents who have children faced with such a fate. A special nonprofit called “Chasin a Dream” works to lighten the load of local families who face this.
Lori Griffith, a Jupiter resident and former nurse, started the organization to help with needs that slip through the cracks for children battling cancer, heart disease, cystic fibrosis and other life-threatening illnesses.
“To pay the rent, to pay your car payment, your utilities. It just is virtually impossible and a lot of people go bankrupt so we assist with that. We assist locally. That’s a big part of what we are. We keep everything local, Palm Beach and Martin counties,” said Griffith.
Griffith says it is all about locals helping locals. Taking that notion to heart, a group of locals, members of the Admirals Cove Club, just donated $15,000 to Chasin a Dream. The Admirals Cove Foundation chooses a handful of charities to donate to every year. After getting to know Griffith and her nonprofit, they chose to increase the $5,000 donation she applied for to $15,000.
“The members heard the stories of the families and saw everything they were doing and when Covid 19 came around, they knew they were in more need then they were previously. And they really felt the need to step up and go and assist these families,” said Rebecca Divine, the Executive Director of Admirals Cove Foundation.
Ariel Wallace’s son Grayson, 4, was recently diagnosed with a very rare blood disease called hypereosinophilic syndrome. There is no cure for it and only about 60 people worldwide have been diagnosed with it. Wallace was present for the check donation from Admirals to Chasin a Dream. She says Griffith and the nonprofit group literally saved her.
“I was kind of spiraling out of control because I didn’t know how to cope with it and she just kind of swooped in. She became the friend, the helper in so many ways and kind of just grounded my feet,” said Wallace.
Chasin a Dream helps to provide basic needs but even more than that, emotional support to families navigating a devastating diagnosis. On top of the anxiety that can bring, COVID-19 has magnified the fear and anxiety.
“They need to be focused on taking care of their children and saving their children’s lives. They don’t have to be worried about paying rent or putting food on the table and food has become a major issue of what we’re helping people with as well,” said Griffith.
Part of the donation made by Admirals Cove members will also help give another little, local warrior a proper funeral. Jayleesa, 5, went in for open heart surgery and was home recovering when she started to feel sick again. She passed away after being readmitted to the hospital last week.
“That’s another part of what we do. It’s the horrible part of what we do. We have a program called ‘Forever Faith’,” said Griffith.
Before her death, Jayleesa was able to open dozens of cards made and sent by locals after Griffith put out a request for them to be sent since Jayleesa loved getting mail.
The needs are big and they are small and there are many ways you can help. Visit https://www.chasinadream.org/ for more information.