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Denver7 Gives: There With Care helps parents whose children are battling life-threatening illnesses

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Posted at 4:58 PM, Mar 16, 2022

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DENVER – There With Care, a local nonprofit that helps support families with kids who have life-threatening illnesses, is asking the community for financial help.

“When a family’s child is diagnosed with a critical illness, one parent has to quit their job,” said There With Care founder Paula DuPre Pesmen. “So, by bringing families food and cleaning supplies, gas assistance, all the day-to-day things, emergency rent... we try to lift those challenges off their plate so they can be with their kids.”

But DuPré Pesmen says it’s been harder to help families as There With Care tries to navigate the economic challenges brought on by the pandemic and rising gas prices.

“The last two years have been really challenging. We've seen a huge increase in the need with families, we had a 28% increase last year. And the number of families we serve will probably reach 1,000 families this year,” DuPré Pesmen said. “Also, we haven't been able to have our events in-person for the last two years, and a lot of our community events that would normally help us throughout the year have been canceled. So we're really hoping that this year, we can start to engage again with our community and bring people together to help others.”

On Wednesday, Denver7 donated $5,000 from the Denver7 Gives general fund to There With Care.

“It's going to help tremendously,” DuPré Pesmen said.

DuPré Pesmen says one family the donation will help is Makaela Harmon’s family.

“I came here on vacation in December from Kansas City to visit my in-laws and ended up with pre-eclampsia,” Harmon said.

After three weeks in the hospital at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Harmon’s baby, Maverick, was born and weighed just a little more than one pound.

Harmon was discharged and went to Castle Rock to stay with her in-laws. She drives 30 miles everyday to spend a few hours with her son.

“Even if it's snowing… I usually stay from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 in the afternoon,” Harmon said.

Aside from inclement weather, while on short-term disability, Harmon faces other roadblocks.

“My pay is less because I’m on short-term disability... my husband, he only comes about every three weeks and I've had my parents come, but the support for me isn't necessarily all here,” Harmon said. “Gas prices in Kansas are only like $3 a gallon. So compared to here, the cost of everything is increased.”

There With Care has been making sure Harmon can continue her daily trips to see her son.

“We've been getting groceries from them every week and then also the gas cards," Harmon said. "We get a $50 gas card every month."

DuPré Pesmen says the Denver7 Gives donation with help There With Care provide more support to Harmon.

“We've only been able to provide about one week's worth of gas and she needs more. She's not able to work and she needs to be with her baby. And this is going to help us be able to make sure that more families can be at the hospital every day with their kids," DuPré Pesmen said.

To learn more about There With Care, click here.