In 2018, 160,601 babies were born in Georgia. Of these babies, 3% or 4,818 were born with birth defects. Of these, 964 were lost through early death. The 3,854 babies who survive the neonatal period must be cared for either at home or in hospital. There are no other options. Medically fragile children with life-limiting illness require constant home care. Their primary caregivers are their families, mainly parents and siblings. The emotional, physical and mental stress of this everyday care puts tremendous strain on the lives of all those involved. 

Research on caregivers has proven that the long-term stress of caring for a medically fragile child can negatively impact their immune system, as well as lead to early onset of common diseases of aging including dementia, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Association for Psychological Science

Life House Atlanta will provide temporary relief in a warm, inviting atmosphere especially designed for both respite and palliative stays. Here “kids can be kids,” interacting with other children, making memories and engaging in fun-filled activities. Parents and siblings will also find a breather from the routine care of their loved one and will have the time to network with other parents or to take a much needed get-away to recharge. Siblings can also interact with siblings from other families and share the common bond of living with and loving a special child. Families will return home with memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Life threw us a curve ball with Catherine’s severe medical complexities. As a family we pulled together, and made it from one day to the next. Sometimes, from one hour to the next. But I will be honest. It was not easy. And it is still not easy. Catherine will always need 24/7 medical monitoring which makes it very difficult for me to be there for my older two children. Out of necessity, they became very independent. I am extremely proud of them for rising to the occasion, but there are times when I would give anything to spend time with them, go shopping and get my nails done with Cecilia, or go on a hike, or a bike ride with Charles, or even a weekend getaway to get quality rest, recharge our batteries, exercise, do some yoga, and cook healthy, nutritious meals. It is so important that my husband and I take care of ourselves so we can take optimal care of Catherine for as long as we can. Life House Atlanta will help make that possible, and I’m so excited to be part of the effort to make it become a reality for me and my family.
Mary Cota Reed
Parent, Life House Atlanta Board Member
Mary Reed and her daughter Catherine

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