Even in the best of times, living with NF is a struggle for most families, and COVID-19 has likely exacerbated those struggles. While looking to assist families in alternative ways, we created our B Kind Program. B Kind provides relief to NF families struggling with COVID induced expenses/needs in the form of food assistance, and medical and educational needs.
B Kind has provided assistance to families through food security, a laptop for online schooling, hotel funds for out of state surgeries and appointments, school supplies and uniforms, and rent assistance during the pandemic.
B Kind Recipients
Shanoy and Micah
Micah is a 6-year-old boy who loves the outdoors, playing with cars, and LEGO’s. He’s funny and enjoys goofing around a lot. In 2017 everything changed…
While on vacation to the U.S. from Antigua, Micah suffered a severe asthma attack, which caused him to be hospitalized. His family history was taken, and they noticed and inquired about Micah’s freckling. Two months later, after their return to Antigua, Micah was officially diagnosed with NF1. Shanoy had to make the impossible decision to leave her two daughters and family behind and move with Micah to the U.S. for treatment that is not available in their home country.
“Micah is suffering from inoperable tumors growing all over his body. He also has a heart condition, seizures, scoliosis, and other life-threatening issues due to his NF1. It breaks my heart to watch my son go through pain every day, and I have decided never to stop fighting for him. I’ll fight with my last breath to keep him alive and healthy for as long as I can. He’s such a sweetheart and wishes one day to be a doctor himself. His love for life gives me the strength to push on each day.”
Upon arriving in Connecticut, Shanoy and Micah moved from homeless shelter to homeless shelter until Shanoy, while doing odd jobs, saved up enough money to rent an apartment. As expected, Micah’s treatment at Yale is very costly, and finding permanent employment during a pandemic has been impossible. When we were introduced to Shanoy, she was very worried they may again be forced to return to a homeless shelter.
B Kind has provided them with rent assistance for the next three months to ensure Shanoy and Micah have a roof over their heads for the holidays.
“I am so happy and grateful. Micah is as happy as I am when I told him that we are going to be here for Christmas. Thank you for helping us to stay in a warm home for a longer time. God bless you and your foundation.” – Shanoy
The Picarello family had been struggling financially due to COVID slowdowns. They turned into a single income family and were concerned about providing school uniforms and school supplies for their four boys for the upcoming school year. The Picarello’s have two boys with significant medical issues including Nicholas, eight, who has NF1 and heart disease.
B Kind supplied all four boys with school uniforms and provided an Amazon gift card to help purchase school supplies.
“There have been many days of crying and worrying on my part. As a mom, you know what your kids need and to worry about not getting what they need is the worst feeling a parent can have. I am floored. I never in a million years expected this all and from the bottom of my heart, I can tell you that this is so unbelievably appreciated and needed. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” – Cristina Picarello
Jeremiah cannot work because he’s blind from an optic glioma and is struggling with loneliness due to required social distancing. Jeremiah’s father is also unable to work during the pandemic and family financials are especially tight. Jeremiah drives four hours every month to go to Duke Medical’s NF clinic in North Carolina, the closest medical center that can treat him.
B Kind provided the hotel stays at Duke Medical Center and a gas card to assist with Jeremiah’s drive for four consecutive months.