Hosted by Sharon Rose-Vaznis of WCSH Channel 6, the Robbie Foundation held its Second Annual Give-a-way Celebration Saturday, March 1, at the Morrison Center in Scarborough.
Approximately $10,000 in adaptive equipment, therapy treatments, and funding for special education and programs was awarded to disabled and special needs children from across the state.
Keagan Southworth, 8, of Norway, received a weighted blanket, vest and noise canceling headphones, supplies her mom, Karen LePage, would not have been able to purchase on her own.
“These items cost hundreds of dollars,” said Lepage. “There is no way I could have done this on my own, and these things will be so helpful for Keagan.”
The Scarborough-based foundation raises money for children and young adults with disabilities to purchase adaptive equipment and therapy treatments that are not covered by insurance.
“We received $34,000 of requests this year, but could only fund $10,000 worth,” said Robbie Foundation Founder and President Lynn Gierie. “These are not frivolous wants; these are medical needs that are not being covered by insurance.”
Melissa Brown’s son Silas, 2, suffers from spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy and the alternative therapy conferences she attends with Silas are vital to his development. The treatment, however, is considered experimental and not covered by insurance. The conferences can cost close to $8,000. She was granted $1,000 at Saturday’s Celebration for her family to attend such a conference in July.
“We took Silas to an intense therapy conference last year,” said Brown, with tears in her eyes. “It was the first time he said ‘Mama’ and the first time he crawled. It was a year’s worth of therapy in a week and it made a huge difference.”
Robbie Foundation board member Linda Bonner says these stories are why she supports the foundation.
“This is a huge need in Maine,” said Bonner, a speech pathologist at the Pine Tree Society. “Just seeing the look on the recipients’ faces, and what it does for them and their family is enough to say, ‘this is why we do this.’”
To date, the Robbie Foundation has given away nearly $70,000 worth of items to special-needs children throughout the state.
“We hope someday we can be the organization for Maine children to come to for these needs,” said Gierie. “There is a large amount of needs for these families that are just not covered; our goal is to give back to the community. We welcome partnerships with businesses, individuals and anyone that will come and walk beside us in this mission.”
Story by Heidi Hamblen | See full story at www.keepmecurrent.com