As you may know, my son, Erick, passed away at the age of three. He was a medically fragile child with Cerebral Palsy, mental retardation, a feeding disorder (which required a surgically implanted feeding tube) and a tracheotomy to facilitate his breathing. This meant he needed 24/7 care.
For many years I prayed to know: Why did God keep me here? What is my purpose? What am I supposed to do? Well, prayers DO get answered. In 2006, I figured out my life’s purpose. I found my WHY. In September of that year, my husband, Rosy, and I established The Erick J. Umstead Memorial Foundation, now dba Erick’s Place. We wanted to head up a (501c3) charitable foundation in memory of Erick with the following mission: To provide financial assistance to families and children who are medically fragile.
We also wanted The Foundation to provide annual scholarships to college-bound young men. From there, the vision for the mission grew even bigger and better: we dreamt of building a facility that administers “Day Care” to medically fragile children, allowing their parents to work full-time jobs, knowing their child is receiving the BEST care available outside of the home environment.
Yes, this was a major undertaking, but once I retired from Verizon, I had the excitement, the energy, the time, the creative power and the fired-up passion to MAKE IT HAPPEN! Back then, one of the first steps I took was to write to friends and family for support and, as an Independent Mary Kay Beauty Consultant, vowed to contribute 10% of every Mary Kay sale I made to the Foundation. Then came the attorney, to draw up the necessary paperwork that would establish the Foundation. We commissioned a web designer and selected an accountant to set up the necessary financial tracking systems, etc., so we could collect donations and administer funds.
Our Original Logo!
Thinking back to that time, I see how far we’ve come come AND how far we have the opportunity to go. I welcome your ideas, suggestions, comments and questions as we continue to find ways to serve chronically ill children and their families.
Here’s how YOU can help:
Just look what your gift can provide for the family of a chronically ill child:
$10 ~ Public Transportation
$25 ~ Gas Card
$50 ~ Bag of Groceries
$100+ ~ Registered Nurse Visitation