Tag Archives: fundraising for medical bills

Meet Help Award Honoree Team Libby Judge

Each year at HelpHOPELive’s annual signature fundraising event, HelpHOPE-Live It Up!, we honor community heroes who prove why our mission matters with the Help, HOPE and Live awards. In 2015, we’re also giving out an Advocacy and Volunteer of the Year award.

This year, the Help award will go to Team Libby Judge for excellence in fundraising.

On March 15, 2014, Libby Judge, a West Chester, Pennsylvania mother and grandmother, was in a car accident that left her paralyzed from the chest down. After the injury, Libby’s family learned they would face medical and related expenses estimated to cost between $500,000 and $3 million throughout Libby’s lifetime. Libby and her family faced an immense burden emotionally, physically and financially. Fortunately, their community stepped up to meet that burden with unyielding love and powerful fundraising assistance.

Libby Judge family HelpHOPELive

Libby Judge (center) pre-injury with her family.

Friends and community members who had played tennis and golf with Libby volunteered to serve as team members of a fundraising campaign in her honor. Coordinating with HelpHOPELive, “Team Libby Judge” quickly drafted an appeal letter to the community at large to jumpstart fundraising efforts on her behalf, and managed to secure an initial donation within the first 24 hours — and the outpouring of support continued from there and hasn’t faltered.

Team Libby Judge

Team Libby Judge members Chuck Walsh and Laura and Joe Santoleri.

Team Libby Judge planned to hold the first major fundraising event in Libby’s honor at a favorite local pub, featuring food and drinks, a silent auction, multiple raffles and a live musical performance. Team members created an event flyer, auction item solicitation letter and online event registration page with support from HelpHOPELive.

Libby Judge bracelet HelpHOPELive

Team Libby Judge devoted themselves to supporting Libby through fundraising.

The members of Team Libby Judge truly committed themselves to fundraising, explained HelpHOPELive Fundraising Coordinator Joni Henderson: “It was their early morning job. For at least an hour and a half each morning and throughout the afternoon, these families did everything they could to ensure the fundraiser would be a success.” And it was.

On June 6, 2014, over 600 members of the local community gathered to show their support. The event exceeded expectations, raising more money than the organizers had hoped for. Instead of resting on the success of that first fundraising effort, Team Libby Judge continued having regular meetings to make plans for additional fundraisers, including tennis tournaments, a jewelry open house and a percentage of sales night held during a popular annual holiday shopping event in Libby’s area.

Libby Judge Live It Up event HelpHOPELive

Team Libby Judge coordinated auction items for the first fundraising event in her honor.

Libby Judge Live It Up event HelpHOPELive 2

A collage at the first annual fundraiser recognizes Libby’s life and loved ones.

In addition to contributing their time and energy to event planning, family and friends also helped with a house renovation project that added an accessible addition to Libby’s home. “Team Libby Judge went above and beyond,” said Joni Henderson. “No one understood the magnitude of their reach in the community until these events began to come together. They changed Libby’s life with their actions.”

Libby Judge spinal cord injury fundraising HelpHOPELive home renovations

Team Libby Judge helped renovate Libby’s home to improve accessibility.

Over a year post-accident, thanks to the groundwork established by Team Libby Judge, family and friends continue to come out in droves to show their love and support for Libby and her family as they heal from her 2014 spinal cord injury.

Libby Judge

Libby and her family continue to heal with support from Team Libby Judge.

On October 16, 2015, HelpHOPELive will recognize Team Libby Judge with the Help award for excellence in fundraising. We thank these special individuals for their time, energy and compassion.

help-hope-live-it-upThe Help award will be presented to Team Libby Judge at this year’s HelpHOPE-Live it Up! benefit on October 16.

A Bolt Out Of The Blue: Ethan’s Story

For the friends and family of Ethan Kadish, the phrase “a bolt out of the blue” is much more than an expression. It’s a description of a day that changed their lives forever.

Ethan was an all-American student who loved hitting home runs and performing in the school play. In June of 2013, Ethan was playing outdoors at a summer camp in Indiana when a lightning bolt launched at him out of a clear blue sky, leaving him with a traumatic brain injury that altered his world in an instant. Ethan now depends on nursing care, a wheelchair and a feeding tube. He cannot speak or purposefully move his body without assistance.

HelpHOPELive Ethan Kadish lightning injury

Image source: http://ow.ly/OWisC

Today is the second anniversary of Ethan’s injury. We spoke to Jen Smilg, a close friend of the Kadish family, to learn more about Ethan, the strength of his support network and his family’s limitless resilience.

How did you learn about Ethan’s accident?

One of my three sons, Ethan Smilg, is close in age to Ethan’s brother, Zakary. My husband and I became close friends with Ethan’s parents after our children met, and we became each other’s emergency contacts. I received the phone call from the Emergency Department in Indianapolis.

Ethan Kadish HelpHOPELive lightning injury

Image source: http://ow.ly/OWxUT

How did Team Ethan emerge as a community support network?

Another close family friend developed Team Ethan as a way to organize the delivery of meals, hospital visits and overnight stays. Ethan’s accident brought our faith-based and local communities together to support the Kadish family. The community is still coming together all the time to support his recovery. A small group of us remain on call to stay with Ethan when he is hospitalized. We all just do what needs to be done.

Today, there are not only events orchestrated by close friends and family but also spin-off fundraising events by supporters who have heard about his condition, with 100% of the proceeds donated to HelpHOPELive in Ethan’s honor. We have inspired others to raise awareness and fundraise for HelpHOPELive to support his family’s expenses.

Everywhere you look there are people connecting with Ethan’s story and making an effort to bring hope and relief to his family. Dan Nichols, a well-known Jewish musician, attended the summer camp where Ethan was injured. He reworked an acoustic version of his song and prayer, Chazak, to dedicate to Ethan. Amy Bennett and her husband, Rabbi Jim Bennett, are both involved with the summer camp where Ethan sustained his injury. Amy created beautiful bracelets and has donated several thousands of dollars from bracelet sales directly to HelpHOPELive in honor of Ethan.

Ethan’s Little League Team organized home run derbies to fundraise and his middle school held bake sales and donated the proceeds to his HelpHOPELive campaign. Every little bit helps, from major fundraising events to local lemonade stands.

bracelets Chazak HelpHOPELive Ethan Kadish

Image source: http://ow.ly/OWxUT

How did Team Ethan respond to the expenses associated with his injury?

Ethan’s family faced the financial burden of his treatment head-on. There are so many elements that must be managed, from overnight care to rehabilitation, education and transportation. His family continues to fundraise for these needs through HelpHOPELive, and they draw both financial and emotional support from the community.

HelpHOPELive gave us the essentials and we took it from there. Many of Ethan’s supporters have stepped up to donate their time as well as their financial resources.

Ethan Kadish Team Ethan HelpHOPELive injury lightning

Image source: http://ow.ly/OWxUT

What sort of therapy does Ethan participate in?

Ethan takes part in daily physical therapies, occupational and speech therapy in his home and at a local rehabilitation center. There have been small victories.  Ethan smiles and laughs when he hears music. We’ve mourned the Ethan we used to know and we are now embracing the new Ethan. Ethan’s peers have been very accepting and embrace his new identity.

Ethan Kadish physical therapy rehabilitation lightning injury HelpHOPELive

Image source: http://ow.ly/OWxUT

Has Ethan’s injury created a need for greater advocacy or safety precautions?

Raising awareness about the bolt out of the blue phenomenon is definitely important, and so is lightning awareness. Weather stations should take precautions to warn local citizens about these dangers, and individuals should respond to dangerous weather appropriately. However, I strongly believe that fear and terror are not appropriate responses. My kids and Ethan’s siblings have continued to return to the summer camp where Ethan was injured. The camp is their community away from home, and this accident should not stop them or any other camper from experiencing that.

There have been quite a few recent news stories about people being struck by a rogue bolt from a blue sky.  These sorts of stories provide an opening for community support and family connections that can be incredibly meaningful. I think connecting with families who have gone through similar situations would be a powerful resource.

Ethan Kadish brother family lightning injury HelpHOPELive

Image source: http://ow.ly/OWisC

How did Ethan’s injury impact his family?

The term “bolt out of the blue” sums it up: his family still remains unsure of what the future holds for Ethan. Most doctors have never even encountered a lightning strike survivor. The uncertainty is tough to deal with, but everyone keeps going.

At social occasions people will almost always ask the question, “How are Ethan’s parents doing?”  My answer is, Scott and Alexia’s life is what it is, filled with the ups and downs and constant change of parenting three children. Life threw them a curveball and they are all adapting as any parent or family would.

Ethan’s family has had to learn as they go because his condition is so rare. They probably know more about brain injuries and the effects of lightning now than almost any other family out there. They know advanced medical terms cold. All of his family members have become advocates for his care and recovery.

Ethan Kadish hospital HelpHOPELive injury

Image source: http://ow.ly/OWisC

Jen Smilg manages the Team Ethan official website as well as the associated social media accounts.

Ethan and his family face
lifelong expenses associated with his injury. Visit Ethan’s HelpHOPELive Page to learn more about his medical needs and how you can help.

How To Share Your Campaign Page On Social Media

Over 70 percent of people who use the Internet also use social media. 28 percent use social media on their smartphones every day!

Use this guide to share your HelpHOPELive Campaign Page on Facebook and Twitter.

How to share your Campaign Page on Facebook logo

  1. Go to your HelpHOPELive Campaign Page.
  2. At the top right, you will see a Share My Page section with social media icons.
  3. Click on the blue Facebook icon. Facebook icon
  4. A new tab will open up [see image below].
  5. You may have to login to your Facebook account to proceed.
  6. Add information in the empty box. For example: I need a kidney transplant to survive. Can you help?
  7. Click on the Share Link button at the bottom right.

campaign page HelpHOPELive Facebook help


How to share your Campaign Page on Twitter logo

  1. Go to your HelpHOPELive Campaign Page.
  2. At the top right, you will see a Share My Page section with social media icons.
  3. Click on the light blue Twitter icon with the white bird on it. Twitter icon
  4. A new tab will open up [see image below].
  5. You may have to login to your Twitter account to proceed.
  6. You can either keep the Tweet as it is or make changes to it. Make sure you keep the URL in the Tweet! [see image]

campaign page HelpHOPELive share Twitter help tips

7. You will not be able to send out the Tweet if you exceed the character limit. You’ll see the number of remaining characters printed in gray at the bottom right of the Tweet.

If the number turns red, you’ve exceeded the character limit and will need to cut down the length of your Tweet to post it.Add hashtags or @ users if you want to.

[***see below if you’re confused about these terms.]

8. Click on the Tweet button at the bottom right.

Anatomy of a Tweet: The Basics

tweet example hashtag @ how to user twitter

  • A hashtag (#) is used to identify the topic(s) of your Tweet. When you share your HelpHOPELive page, you could add #HelpHOPELive or #fundraising or #hope to your Tweet. Anyone who searches for either of those terms on Twitter might see your Tweet.
  • If you want to reach out to a particular user or organization in your Tweet, use the @ symbol to “tag” that user.
  • WARNING! Not all users use their real name as their account name in Twitter. For example, HelpHOPELive is on Twitter as @HelpHOPELiveorg. You can search for a person or organization in Twitter ahead of time to find out what name to add after the @ symbol in your Tweet.

If you need additional help sharing your Campaign Page on social media, reach out to us on Facebook or on Twitter!