Connor’s House Provides Respite For Families [AUDIO]
In his 8 years of life, Connor Scott Millard was forced to tough out a myriad of medical issues until his premature death in 2007.
What's so great about the Garden State? Tell us using the form at the end of this story.
The experience of caring for and losing a child with life-shortening illnesses led parents, Scott and Deb, to lend a hand to families dealing with similar circumstances. They formed Connor's House in 2009.
Scott says they decided to launch the charity "out of a recognition of the needs that families, who have children with life-shortening conditions face, and trying to create a better reality for them."
In just a short time, the non-profit has helped over 75 families, while currently supporting another 50. They've also raised over $300 thousand in money and donated professional services.
Connor's House seeks to help families of children with complex health care needs by creating a community of support that can: assist with care coordination, promote fun, relaxing, memorable activities, provide respite care in a home-like setting, assist in management of distressing symptoms and offer meaningful support services for the entire family for as long as necessary.
It's all part of the overall goal "to better support these families in the community, to keep the families in tact, to keep them outside of the hospitals."
While the experience has been rewarding for Connor's parents by helping these other families and honoring their son's memory, it's not always easy.
"It forces us to continually confront some of the hardest days of our lives," he explained, "So it has its blessings and its curses."
Having gone through that difficult time offers Scott and Deb a unique perspective to share with these other families.
"We're just very thankful that we have the opportunity to do that, and that we've had that experience to be able to provide them support and help during those days and hours," Scott said.
The charity's long-term vision is to have a facility to serve as that temporary respite and provide support services, from diagnosis through bereavement.
Because of that goal, the group has arduously fund-raised to make their own facility a reality.
Connor's House will hold its annual Halloween fundraiser called Colors for Connor on Saturday, October 27th at the Evolution Gym in Bridgewater.
Scott is also running in a series of races to raise awareness and money for the cause.
More Good News
Gilda's Club Northern New Jersey recently opened a location in Newark for children dealing with cancer. The four-level, 4,000-square-foot center features recreational facilities for patients, their friends and relatives. Named after comedian Gilda Radner who died from cancer in 1989, Gilda's Club allows cancer patients to join others battling the disease to both give, and receive the benefits of love and laughter through the program. To learn more, visit them online.
Hiring Our Heroes
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Hiring Our Heroes program has been a big success. Since its inception in March 2011, more than 260 hiring fairs have been held nationwide, with nearly 11,000 veterans and military spouses gaining employment. To learn more about the program, visit their website.