Parenting Win of the Week: A Kid Again

Creating moments of small joy can make a big impact.

Boy in wheelchair and girl in in amusement arcade

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Boy in wheelchair and girl in in amusement arcade

Photo by: dmphoto

dmphoto

This time of year can be a lot. A lot of parties, a lot of gifts and just a lot of running around. It’s also a great time of year to reflect and realize that not all families have the privilege or ability to do any of these things.

When I was first introduced to the organization A Kid Again, I knew I wanted to learn more. A Kid Again aims to give some normalcy to families that have kids with a life-threatening illness through in-person events like trips to theme parks or virtual events like boxes of magic with a Zoom magician. They have sporadic chapters across the country with the hope to be in every area eventually.

We have close friends who live in this reality each day. They have an amazing group of friends and neighbors who rally around them (and they have an incredible family) but the rollercoaster they ride each day is unique to those who have a child with a life-threatening condition.

Organizations like this, and others that provide for families like this, are important and their impact immeasurable.

We spoke with Kathy Derr, one of the founders, who started the organization after she lost her son to brain cancer.

How did this get started?
In 1992, our oldest son was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. We went through all of the stresses — fighting with insurance, trips to the hospital, etc. We were blessed to be surrounded by love and support with my other kids always having something to look forward to. While my son was going through treatment I never had to cook a meal, surrounded by so much love and support. He was granted a wish, we went to Disney with the best memories, but we found that once the wish was over we didn’t have the next thing to look forward to and it’s always so important to have something to look forward to when going through something like that.

Christopher passed away in August of 1992 and we started to volunteer with Special Wish (the wish-making organization) but knowing how important it was to continue offering special moments, we partnered with Jeff Damron and Poe Timmons to start A Kid Again, knowing how important it is to give hope and something positive to look forward to.

How does it work?
We provide hope, happiness and healing. We take care of everything for the family so they don’t have to worry about any logistics. We also include siblings in what we do.

Adventures where we have a chapter (currently in around 11 regions), those experiences are in person so they can be everything from a theme park to a sporting event. We serve families from birth to age 20.

We set up dates and families can pick and choose what they want to go to (ideally once a month so there’s always a next one.) They can attend some or all of them. We plan everything and pay for everything. We generally provide a meal so families can sit down with one another, bond and support one another. They’ve hosted 85 in-person events across the country with the hope to do many, many more.

If you are in an area where we don’t have a chapter, we can serve you with an adventure in a box. It is mailed quarterly to these families. It’s a different theme each quarter and just a nice way to let them know someone cares. We have done a magic kit with a box of tricks along with an instruction video on how to do them. We’ve done art kits, special Lego kits, tie-dye, etc. A variety of things to make it appealing and friendly for all.

A Kid Again has served more than 11,000 families nationwide.

How do we get involved?
If you are a family with a child that has a life-threatening illness, you can fill out a short online form for enrollment.

Volunteers are essential to an organization like this so if you are close to a local chapter, they’d love some help. You can see the volunteer opportunities [on our website].

You can also donate to A Kid Again's holiday fundraiser (or any time of year!) to help them provide for these kids and families.

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