When a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, it not only takes a toll on the child, but the whole family will feel the impact. Parents often have to adjust their work schedules and will have financial challenges trying to make ends meet. They may also struggle to pay for healthcare while trying to survive. One woman, Autumn Strier, took action decades ago, helping such families to not only survive but be able to thrive.
“There is an economic burden that comes when children are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness,” explains Autumn Strier, chief executive officer and co-founder of Miracles for Kids. "Our mission is to try and help offset that, relieving some of the financial burdens with our programs so parents can focus on their family during these difficult times."
After putting herself through college and earning degrees in political science and public administration in nonprofit management, Strier co-founded Miracles for Kids. She has led the nonprofit organization from humble beginnings in 2004, from an employee contribution program to now a significant resource with many programs that help families in crisis throughout Southern California. Today, Miracles for Kids provides financial aid, shelter, basic necessities, counseling, and other long-term stability services for 2,000+ families with children battling over 150 life-threatening illnesses or conditions. She continues to bring meaningful change for those in need, and has raised nearly $43 million within the last 18 years.
Miracles for Kids is located in Orange County, California, but helps families beyond those borders. The organization provides financial support to families when one of the children has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), congenital malformations, deformations, and chromosome abnormalities are one of the leading causes of death among children ages one to four. For children ages five to 14, cancer is one of the most common causes of death. They also report that around 4% of children under 18 are not covered by health insurance. Even with having health insurance, the out-of-pocket costs for premiums, co-pays, and deductibles can cost families thousands per year.
"The last thing families should have to do when faced with their child having a life-threatening illness is to worry about how to pay bills or purchase necessities," added Strier. "We have worked hard over the years to build four core programs that really help our families survive; such as paying bills, offering counseling, providing housing and basic necessities.”
Miracles for Kids has just launched a fifth program that provides long term stability called the Pillars Stability Program. It is designed to help families with a critically-ill child achieve long-term stability. The program helps members of the family develop three key areas of support: Education, Financial Literacy, and Employment.
Miracles for Kids relies on the assistance of volunteers, financial donors, corporate partnerships, community programs, and more to serve these families. To learn more about what they do and how to get involved, visit the site at: https://miraclesforkids.org/