15 February 2006
Many of my readers are probably also reading Phantom Scribbler, who has been doing a beautiful job summarizing the story of Annika, elder daughter of Moreena (who writes falling down is also a gift). Annika--who's not that much older than Curious Girl, around 4.5--was born with a serious liver disease that has already required two transplants, and since November she's been in the hospital in Chicago almost every day (many of those days spent in the PICU). Earlier this month, Anni's parents were informed that she had already used up her health insurance for the year (meaning she has hit one million dollars in expenses already!); the family qualifies for a supplemental health insurance program whose premiums are $3000/month. Moreena's readers have sprung into action, thinking of many ways to help Annika. Andrea (at Beanie Baby) has set up Annika's Internet Insurance Policy, as a clearninghouse for various fundraising ideas (like raffles for some fabulous knitted and other artsy items), and a link to the Children's Organ Transplant Association donation page. Peripatetic Polar Bear had the fabulous notion of a Casserole for Annika campaign, in which people might donate (through COTA) the cost of the casserole they might bring by Annika's house if only they were closer (if you click through to the COTA page, you will find a pull-down menu for 'Donor Designations.' Choose 'Annika Tiede' from the list (it's alphabetical by first name)COTA contributions are tax-deductible and are payable only for qualified medical expenses.
I looked at the COTA page and there are over 200 children registered with this program, which helps patients' families pay for transplants. We've spent a fair bit of time in our local children's hospital with Curious Girl (who had surgery for her feeding tube less than a month after arriving home with us). Every single time I've gone to the hospital with her, I've been acutely aware that while CG is more medically complicated than many other kids, there are plenty of other kids who are much more sick than I hope she'll ever be. Moreena herself has a typically gracious and graceful post in which she ponders some of these same issues. Yet Annika and her family still need help, and it's an amazing thing to see Moreena's readers mobilizing on behalf of Anni. If you're not already reading Moreena, check out her blog for tales of her two amazing girls. And help Anni, if you can.