Where the Funds Go
The mission of UNC Dance Marathon is to overcome childhood illness by providing major support for the medical, surgical and emotional care of the patients and families served by North Carolina Children's Hospital.
This year, in addition to our four ongoing grants, UNC Dance Marathon has made possible the following nine new grants that directly benefit the patients and families of N.C. Children’s Hospital:
6 Children's Young
The sixth floor of N.C. Children’s Hospital is where patients of a variety of conditions stay for long and often repeated hospitalizations. These visits lead to a lot of stress and expenses for food and parking for the caregivers. This grant will provide 10 sleeping pads, 365 days’ worth of parking vouchers and one piece of exercise equipment for caregivers of pediatric patients on the sixth floor of N.C. Children’s Hospital. The availability of these resources will improve the emotional and physical well-being of caregivers by providing a more comfortable sleeping option, making exercise more accessible and alleviating some of the financial burden.
Camp Carolina Trails
Camp Carolina Trails is a 6-day overnight camp, which provides diabetes education to adolescents. Campers learn how to control their diabetes as well as the value of a balanced diet with the help of dieticians. They also have fun, participating in activities such as hiking, swimming and canoeing. UNC-DM will fund travel expenses and tuition for two campers who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to attend the camp. This is the fourth year UNC-DM has assisted Camp Carolina Trails.
Children's Supportive Care Team
In 2011, UNC-DM awarded a grant to the N.C. Children’s Hospital to help design and implement the Children’s Supportive Care Team, a team meant to improve the quality of life of seriously ill patients and their families. Pallative care service emphasizes symptom management, psychosocial support and decision-making support. With a grant in 2013, UNC-DM will continue to fund the committee. Its early success has demonstrated the importance of this program.
Feeding and Dysphagia Team
The N.C. Children’s Hospital Feeding and Dysphagia Team is the only one of its kind in the state and one of very few in the country. This team of specialists works with patients who have failure to thrive, weight gain, growth issues or restricted diets. Team members help patients by maximizing nutrition and the feeding experience. This grant will fund two fully-outfitted high chairs, which are important to provide the correct support, posture and stability for patients.
Hematology and Oncology Recreation Therapist
This year, UNC-DM will fund part of the salary for a recreational therapist in the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology division to provide supportive and educational services for families. These services will improve the quality of life for families. With this help from UNC-DM, the division will be able to expand programs such as an adolescent support group, an expressive photography project and the Carolina Pediatric Attention, Love, and Support (CPALS) student volunteer program. In addition, it will be able to start family nights and school-age child/sibling support groups as well as to establish relaxation stations for patients and families.
Newborn Critical Care Center (NCCC) Parent Support Luncheons
The Newborn Critical Care Center social workers and case managers have hosted weekly parent support luncheons for the past several years. The luncheons provide parents the opportunity to take a break, get much-needed nourishment and meet other parents who have children receiving care in the NCCC. Because parents are often isolated from their family and/or support system, they greatly benefit from connecting with other parents on the same journey. This year, UNC-DM will help fund the luncheons.
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
This grant will help patients and their families in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in regards to comfort and communication. This year, UNC-DM will fund two digital recorders, 10 noise machines and 10 dry erase boards. The digital recorders will allow family members to listen to important discussions with the medical team when they cannot make it to the hospital. The noise machines will help patients sleep better so that they can recover from their illnesses. In addition, the dry erase boards will help patients communicate with family members and doctors when they cannot use their voice because of medical reasons.
Tracheostomy and Gastrostomy
UNC-DM will help with the discharge education for parents of infants/children with tracheostomy or gastrostomy tubes who are patients at N.C. Children’s Hospital. In particular, this grant will fund four infant CPR manikins. These manikins will help teach parents infant CPR before their children are sent home from the hospital.
Beacon Child Evaluation Clinic
The Beacon Child Evaluation Clinic helps children at N.C. Children’s Hospital who are victims of child sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect. The clinic performs medical evaluations and ongoing mental health treatment for these children. UNC-DM will help fund educational and healing materials for children and caregivers/parents of children seen at the clinic. These materials include books, toys and games.
The For the Kids Fund
This fund covers costs not covered by insurance or Medicaid that families may not otherwise be able to afford along with their child’s hospital bills. The fund allows families to focus on caring for their child instead of worrying about everyday financial burdens. Social workers within the N.C. Children’s Hospital allocate the funds to families on an as-needed basis. Based on private conversations with families, social workers are able to determine where to disperse the For the Kids Fund. In addition, they released an application so that families who were not in direct contact with the social workers could also access the fund.
Parents Night Out
A grant continues to fund this program, which aims to provide families in N.C. Children’s Hospital with a free hot meal once a week. Parents often use PNO as a way to leave their rooms and interact with other parents. However, if a parent does not wish to leave his or her child’s side, UNC-DM volunteers also deliver the meal. UNC-DM funds and sends volunteers to PNO half of the year while Volunteer Services provide funds and services for the other half of the year.
Healthy Steps Program
Now in its fifth year, this program allows Healthy Steps expert Karen Wysocki to spend time with parents after the doctor leaves the room. She answers any questions families may have ranging from the details of potty training to when a child should be eating solid foods. Wysocki hands out information packets she created that explain each stage of childhood. UNC-DM committee volunteers play "Dance Dance Revolution" and read with kids and families waiting in the General Pediatric Clinic waiting room.
Ronald McDonald House
For the second time, UNC-DM awarded a grant to the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill, a home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill or injured children receiving treatment at area hospitals. The House is a lifeline of hope, providing access to health care, physical comfort, financial relief and emotional support to families in crisis. Since the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill opened its doors in 1988, it has provided 130,000 nights lodging to more than 30,000 families from all 100 North Carolina counties and beyond. UNC-DM is pleased to partner with an organization that provides such crucial support to families benefiting from NC Children’s Hospital’s exceptional medical care. The grant will continue to help expand the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill.