by Mary Anne Ruddis

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are approximately 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States. That’s a lot of people doing a lot of good with only the well-being of others as the bottom line.

In the Spokane Valley, Elevations A Children’s Therapy Resource Foundation was founded to address a very specific need for a very specific population. Elevations provides funding for children with special needs to receive therapy services and home therapy equipment. Proven therapies can determine the trajectory of these children’s lives. By providing funding for the overwhelming out-of-pocket costs for therapy and home therapy equipment, Elevations fulfills its mission to help children with special needs reach their full potential.

Parents are in the difficult position of either rationing their child’s care by skipping services – the equivalent of cutting medications in half – or going deeper into debt. Elevations was founded to bridge the financial gap so that every child who could be helped by therapy would receive the services and support they needed and to help alleviate the tremendous financial stress that families feel.

Kelly Lynch, Elevations board president and physical therapist, recounts why she invests so much time and resources for these children and families. “I helped found Elevations because I was frustrated with “the system” and I wanted to help families get their children what [they] needed sooner rather than later. I couldn’t stand to see windows of opportunities slip by as a child grew but didn’t have the resources they needed to thrive during that growth. Elevations is a means to help children and families right when they need it most, whether that is funding for continuing therapy visits or a specific piece of therapeutic equipment to use at home. I love that I can be a part of saying ‘yes’ to a request that will most certainly benefit a child now, allowing that child to thrive as they grow.”

Elevations marks its 10th year anniversary this year and over that time has provided 727 grants totaling $519,569 to families to help pay for copays, deductibles, uninsured and under-insured services for speech, occupational, physical, and other therapies as well as home therapy equipment. This past May Elevations awarded $39,512.00 for 60 grants with two more grant cycles this year. Application information can be found at elevationsspokane.org/apply-for-help.

One of our newest board members, Julie German-Murrey, brings a wealth of experience to her new role. Julie’s daughter Rosalie (Birdie) had an extremely rare condition with a deletion on chromosome 5. Rosalie received multiple therapies and services.

Rosalie German-Murrey

As Julie explains: “Even with insurance, the costs for Birdie’s treatments were astronomical. Some of the therapies weren’t covered by insurance, and some of those that were covered had a cap on the visits. We have a very high deductible insurance plan, so by the time we’d meet our deductible, we’d also be at the visit cap for some of the therapies, thus meaning that we paid for essentially all of those therapies out of pocket. … In addition to the cost of the therapies and activities, there were all of the specialized therapy toys, therapy swings, climbing structures, modified eating utensils, compression clothing, and anything else that we thought might help Birdie make progress. None of those items were covered by insurance. … All of this to say that we learned of an amazing local organization called Elevations. … We were recipients of several Elevations grants, and we were asked to be a part of a video project … about … our journey with Birdie. This video was filmed on October 11, exactly one month before Birdie died. Having this video is a gift, and while losing Birdie is excruciating, the experience of being her parents and the perspective that we gained is such a gift as well.” You can view Julie’s video at elevationsspokane.org/about/testimonials.

Julie has joined Elevations board because she knows that her family’s story is not unique. “There are many local families who are trying to do the very best for their children and they’re faced with expensive medical bills, therapy costs, equipment needs, etc. … Elevations helps to fill the gap by providing funds to families who need them and by having a straightforward and streamlined process to apply for grants.”

Elevations’ largest fundraiser of the year is the Ghost Ball on October 29. The Ghost Ball is Spokane’s premier Halloween Costume Ball and features a live and silent auction, costume contest, dancing, heavy appetizers, and a fun night that supports children with special needs in our community. For more information, visit www.ghostball.org. It may be July but it is never too early to start planning your Halloween costume!

Follow Elevations on Facebook and look for the Ghost Ball event for exclusive first-look ticket sales. You can also sign up for the Elevations newsletter at www.elevationsspokane.org/newsletter-signup.

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