Jess’s Moment

After the birth of their third child, Jess was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She experiences attacks, where the condition gets noticeably worse, followed by times of recovery where symptoms improve.  Her husband, Thom, works full time to support their family, while Jess does what she can to take care of life at home.

The youngest two children had their own set of health concerns. Between the two, they have likely spent more time in hospitals than most adults. Seizures are not uncommon to them, nor are sudden trips to the ER. These boys have trouble sleeping and eating, they are developmentally delayed in their motor skills, and are challenged in areas of sensory and emotional/behavioral regulation.

Older sister, Callie, has a clean bill of health. But with dad working so much and mom needing extra help, she ends up being responsible for more than her parents want her to be at age 14.

Last year, Thom and Jess made a difficult decision to move away from their hometown, so Thom could take a job that paid more, though it was an overnight position. Without the support of friends and family, stress and responsibilities were wearing everyone thin. Prescriptions and doctor appointments were a constant in managing the physical health of this household but did little to address the high stress levels everyone was experiencing.

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While the parents certainly deserved a break to catch up on their own self-care, their greater concern was to give Callie more freedom to enjoy being a 14-year-old, away from the heavy weight of life at home. Unfortunately, Jess wasn’t able to maintain the home without help, especially with Thom’s opposing work schedule. So, getting a break for Callie meant finding reprieve for the parents as well. They had no friends or family in the area, and even when they claimed openings at a local daycare, they were unable to use the services due to cost. At this point, just one day of needing to only focus on the needs of themselves instead of everyone else would do a world of good!

A home health aide suggested the family look into Respite Services with Bridges of Hope; a safe, no-cost, regularly scheduled respite childcare for families with mental health or behavioral challenges in Crow Wing County. They immediately qualified for the program, and even though provider availability was very low at this time, Jess was able to secure a monthly placement with the provider they had set up childcare with before. Now, whatever circumstances life throws at them, this family of five at least have scheduled time to look forward to each month to take time away for themselves.

Your support helps send a message of hope to people that have nowhere else to turn during crisis. In 2017, Bridges of Hope arranged 286 Respite placements for 49 families. Thank you for helping build bridges in the Lakes Area!

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