By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor
Every parent knows that raising children can be costly. But the expenses of raising a special needs child can quickly stretch well beyond any family’s means.
That’s one of the reasons Sultan resident Heidi Dawson partnered with her friend, Kelly Tipple-Moran, to create a not-for-profit organization called The Determined Parents Foundation. They will be participating in their first fundraising event on Monday Sept. 2 in which Tipple-Moran will be paddleboarding from Bothell to Redmond. There will be a celebration at JJ Mahoney’s Irish Pub after the paddleboarding event, and the Redmond restaurant will be donating a percentage of the proceeds to The Determined Parents Foundation.
Both parents of a special needs child, Dawson and Tipple-Moran started their foundation to help other parents of special needs children struggling with the financial burdens of insurance co-pays, deductibles, therapies and equipment that isn’t covered by insurance.
Dawson’s 7-year-old son, Patrick, was diagnosed with a neurological disability called Sensory Processing Disorder. The condition causes sensory signals to be confused and not organized correctly, causing a neurological “traffic jam.” People who have SPD can have issues with anxiety, particularly in social situations; as well as depression, behavioral issues, motor clumsiness, and difficulty learning, and performing regular tasks can be complicated.
What Dawson learned through her own experiences with Patrick is that, after a child turns a certain age, all costs associated with a disorder like SPD must be paid for out-of-pocket. Most insurance companies stop paying for any kind of therapy or treatment for neurological disorders once a child is seven years old. Part of the foundation’s mission is to spread awareness and get all insurance companies to alter this policy.
“They are changing,” said Dawson. “But not quickly enough.”
And some forms of treatment are simply not covered at all.
“We have seen such strides in him with his anxiety in social settings, participation in class and his confidence issues,” said Dawson. “It just breaks our hearts that we had to cut back to only once a month because insurance is done and we can only afford so much.”
Tipple-Moran has a 4-year-old son named Jack who has Cerebral Palsy, a neurological disorder which appears when a child is very young and permanently affects muscle coordination and the child’s ability to move. There is no cure for Cerebral Palsy, but treatments are available to help with the symptoms.
Tipple-Moran pays over $1,000 per month just in co-pays.
“Parents should not have to choose between putting food on the table and a roof over their families head or therapy,” said Dawson.
Dawson and Tipple-Moran are working to obtain their 501C3 status, design their official website and get the word out about their organization. They hope that their own experiences can help other families.
The benefit will also be raising money for the non-profit organization Camp No Limits. Camp No Limits was founded in Maine, and is an organization dedicated to providing camps for children with limb loss. Bothell resident Jenna Powell, who will be paddling along with Tipple-Moran, has a son named Logan who was born without a leg.
JJ Mahoney’s is located at 8932 161st Ave. N.E. in Redmond. The festivities will go from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Additional information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/TheDeterminedParentsFoundation, and donations can be