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A Rosie Place for Children providing respite care for Indiana families

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SOUTH BEND, Ind.—At 18-months-old, Alexis Hicks was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Her grandmother, Mary Conely, has been her caretaker for the last 22 years.

“We knew something was wrong but she just wasn’t hitting the marks that a child does developmentally,” Conely said.

Conley now cares for Hicks, who is a quadriplegic, 24 hours per day.

For the hours and days when Conley cannot be at Hicks’ side, A Rosie Place for Children steps in, to provide the care her grandaughter needs.

The one-of-a-kind facility opened in 2011 on five acres of land in South Bend. It serves families not just in Michiana, but across the entire state of Indiana.

“It started from the ground up. We started figuring out what do these kids need? What would be fund for them to come here and how can we provide that safe haven? How can we comfort the family that their child will be here safely?” said Michaeleen Conlee, an administrator at A Rosie Place for Children.

The 10 bedroom facility has trained nurses and staff that have helped families of nearly 2,000 medically fragile children.

Tiel Bishop, A Rosie’s Place’s CEO, imagined the house out of a need to take care of her own child.

“We call them sleepovers. That’s what we call them here. They come here for three days, five days, 10 days. We really just design everything about what the parent needs,” Bishop said.

Bishop says that everything in place for the children who stay there is a sensory experience.

“We look at it like how many experiences can we give them? How many wow factors can we give them in their stay here, and that’s our goal,” Bishop said.

The first-ever Nolan's Menkes March at Potawatomi Park on Saturday, June 8 will benefit A Rosie Place for Children.

The march is named for a Granger boy who is battling Menkes Disease. It will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.


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