Charlottesville Nonprofit Helps Families With Children in Medical Care Find Housing
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Families with a child being treated at UVA can often face long hospital stays and high medical bills. Lilypads is working to give those families a free and safe place to stay to help bring some relief.
The nonprofit is named after Lily Koym, who was just four months old when her parents were told she had a rare, often fatal congenital heart defect. UVA was unable to treat her, so the Koym family was sent up to Boston Children's Hospital.
"We knew that staying in a hotel in Boston was going to be a huge financial burden, so we were put in touch with an organization up there that has host homes," said Jennifer Koym, who was inspired by that act of kindness and founded Lilypads.
The nonprofit works with families in Charlottesville to put up parents who need a place to stay while their children are being treated at UVA Medical Center. Lilypads volunteer Natasha Lawler says working with Lilypads is an easy way to give back to those who need it most.
"There's nothing worse than having a sick child and its super stressful and you can really make a huge impact by helping a family during a really vulnerable time," Lawler said.
Potential hosts only need a dedicated sleeping space, bathroom, and be able to pass a background check to qualify to work with the nonprofit. Hosts are also not obligated to provide any food or meals for the families.
"We just really wanted to pay it forward and these families are going through one of the hardest times in their lives and we just wanted to help take care of them and take some of the [financial] burden off their situation," Koym said.
As flu season approaches, Lilypads is looking for more host homes. If you are interested in volunteering, click here.