A Rosie Place bringing holiday cheer to medically fragile children

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SOUTH BEND, Ind.—It’s a place where love, care and fun live.

Indiana’s only licensed not-for-profit “A Rosie Place,” is 15+ years in the making and is unlike any other facility for families and children in the country.

It’s a place where parents in any county in the state can bring their child who are medically fragile, to receive top of the line care from registered nurses to meet their everyday needs, all for free.

“The stress of raising a health child is incredible. So, imagine the stress of raising a medically fragile child who needs medical intervention for everyday living,” A Rosie Place Director of Community Engagement Mark McGill said. “If you have a medically fragile child, you have one job. To keep that child healthy, keep that child happy. Let us do the rest.”

Medically fragile children need daily, around the clock care by trained caregivers, and require the use of therapies and specialized high-tech medical equipment to sustain their lives.

Kids who enter the facility have a wide variety of different special activities they can interact with, all of the equipment they need, and they can even choose which of 6 unique bedrooms they can stay in for up to 10 days!

But most importantly, they’re around a group of other kids to help them interact and build friendships, that they otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to do.

“One of the greatest stories that just kind of encompasses what we do; we had two children here a couple weeks ago. One in a wheelchair nonverbal, and other one was a little less medically fragile. We got a call from the less medically fragile child’s mother and said ‘listen my son met a friend,’ let’s says his name was Bobby, ‘we were wondering if Bobby can come this weekend and have a sleepover at your place with Joe.’ We called Bobby’s mom, not really realizing they made a connection, and we said ‘hey listen we were wondering if you could come this weekend Joe wants to have a sleepover with Bobby.’ The woman started crying and she said ‘how does this happen? No one has ever called my child for a sleepover before,’” McGill said.

Director of Community Engagement, Mark McGill, started his position at “A Rosie Place” just last year.

“When the opportunity arose to join “A Rosie Place” for children, we had a 3-hour meeting and I took a tour and met the kids and said ‘I’m all in.”

And quite a year it’s been. “A Rosie Place,” had to make major pandemic adjustments, and briefly had to close their doors due to the severity of what the nation and our state was facing. However, that didn’t stop them from making life a little easier for these families.

“We asked the parents ‘look what do you need, how can we help you?’ And they said ‘man we have parent teacher conferences, we’ve got doctors’ appointments, we’ve got to go to the grocery store…can you do a day stay?’ So, we began on Tuesdays and Wednesdays having day stays here through the pandemic, and kept those as we hopefully come out of the pandemic,” McGill said.

The pandemic did, however, leave behind a crucial, lingering need.

“We are hoping Santa brings us a bunch of nurses. Nursing is tough right now and they are the true heroes,” McGill said.

But despite it all, nurses at “A Rosie Place” make it their mission to provide exceptional care, and to create a world of “yes” for families and the children.

The organization is a gift that keeps on giving, and hosts special events throughout the year for families and children. Staff rang in the holidays with a Christmas parade, something they do annually, but drive -thru style to be safe.

Santa visits, dancing reindeer, goodies, toys, and much more, all for the kids.

And not a single child or parent is seen without a smile on their face.

“It’s just amazing. Man, it’s a privilege. Not that I ever have a bad day, but if I do, I come upstairs from my office for 5 minutes with these kids. These kids are so blessed that they think they’re blessed, these families are blessed, they are so happy. It’s just, it really is an absolute…it’s just changed my life. It has really changed my life to be here. It’s put my life in perspective just to save a marriage, save a family, give the kids the experience of a lifetime."

For more on "A Rosie Place," and how to get involved you can click here.

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