Annie’s Angels is proud to announce that as of January 2017, Lucas’ Helping Hands fund has become Lucas’ Helping Hands Advocacy Program.
Lucas’ Helping Hands Advocacy Program’s mission is to provide educational, emotional, and financial support to families and their children struggling through a life-threatening disease, illness or disability.
Lucas’ Helping Hands fund was created in honor of Lucas, a young boy living in Rochester. The fund was started to raise money for a special bed for Lucas to keep him safe at night. From there, the family continued with multiple fundraisers each year to help not only Lucas but also other families with some of the specialized medical supplies needed. The fund has helped local families with gas cards, electric bills, strollers, adaptive clothing, medical supplies, and more.
“I know first-hand the struggles that come along with raising a child with special needs,” says Heather Donnell, Lucas’ mom and founder of Lucas’ Helping Hands. “It takes a lot of strength, patience, dedication, love, and unfortunately a lot of money.” Heather also knows how unbelievably lonely and isolating raising a child with special needs can be. “I want for Lucas’ Helping Hands to be able to provide the emotional and educational support that it requires to live this life successfully. I want families to know that they are not alone in this great big world. That someone else out there is struggling to face the day too.”
Heather decided the best way for her to reach those families was through an advocacy program. Lucas’ Helping Hands Advocacy Program’s mission is to provide educational and emotional support to families of children struggling through a life-threatening disease, illness or disability.
Lucas’ Helping Hands will help families find resources when they don’t know where to turn for assistance. Heather’s personal experience and education has given her the tools and knowledge that she will share with other local families. Family resources include local area agencies that provide services to children with developmental disabilities or that help answer questions that arise when faced with needing additional supplies or equipment that you don’t need for a typically developing child or adult.
Heather believes that the best way to help families facing challenging times is to connect them with others experiencing the same challenges and build relationships. Lucas’ Helping Hands will provide information to connect families with local support groups so no one feels alone. “Support groups let parents know that before they can care for their child sufficiently they first need to care for themselves,” she says. “It is easy for someone to say “I understand how hard this is for you” but for a family to meet someone who truly understands because they live it too is invaluable. It’s okay to be in “survival” mode for a short while, but then you need to live!”
Lucas’ Helping Hands Advocacy Program enhances Annie’s Angels mission
to help local families that are struggling financially through life
threatening diseases, illnesses, or disabilities by connecting neighbor
to neighbor, friend to friend, and business to business. The program
will unite Angel Families and provide emotional and educational support
after life changing events so they can get back on their feet and
support themselves financially, physically and emotionally. Families can
move mountains if you put them together!