Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Two Fairfield families received some much needed financial assistance for their children’s medical care thanks to Little Superheroes.
Macy Cook, the daughter of Michaele and Tyler Cook, is a first-grader at Washington Elementary School in Fairfield.
She was born at 25 weeks, weighing just 1 pound 8 ounces.
Macy had a heart murmur, right retinopathy of prematurity and multiple hemangiomas and has underdeveloped lungs.
She had difficulty learning to swallow and feeding, which still is a huge struggle in her life.
“Macey has had too many hospital stays, tests and ongoing visits to explain, but is a trouper and our little miracle,” Michaele Cook said.
She was diagnosed with asthma when she was 4 and now uses an inhaler daily as advised by her pulmonary specialist.
Now in school, she has a 1:1 associate with her due to a choking hazard and for safety purposes.
“We've had to educate her and her associate and teachers on the signs for when she needs to use this at school as we've not yet figured out with her specialist exactly how to best treat her lungs as they still aren't fully developed,” Michaele Cook said.
The Cooks have to make regular trips to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City to bring Macy to see a number of specialists.
Little Superheroes provided several air purifying units to Washington Elementary School and gave the Cook family $2,500 to help cover medical expenses.
“Our family is so grateful for their generous donation,” Michaele Cook said. “We’re over the moon. It’s amazing what they did.”
Camden Goodrich, the son of Samantha and Gerrad Goodrich, was born in August with Down syndrome and is on oxygen.
Samantha Goodrich made the decision to close her home day care in order to care for Camden.
“With our baby boy’s new diagnosis of Down syndrome, I am having to make the difficult decision to close my day care and go unemployed to care for his special needs,” she said.
Little Superheroes provided the Cook family with $2,500 to help with their expenses.
Little Superheroes is a Fairfield-based nonprofit that provides financial assistance to families with chronically ill children.
Christie Kessel founded the organization after her daughter, Valerie, was born in 2014 and diagnosed with chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction not long after her birth.
“We rarely slept more than two hours at a time, and it was very hard to think straight,” Kessel said. “Our other two children were in tears every time we had to leave them.
“The financial burden was significant, but our inability to be together as a family was the most difficult of all,”
Little Superheroes awards grants throughout the year and has assisted more than 100 families since the organization was founded in 2015.
Kessel said that grants are based on the needs of families and how many families are reaching out to the organization at any one time.
“We prioritize people who are local, but we’ve helped people all over the United States,” she said. “Lots of times they’ll have connections to local families somehow.”
She added that they get many referrals from social workers at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Little Superheroes has a number of fundraising events throughout the year. In the past, their primary fundraiser has been a Festival of Trees.
The previous success of the Festival of Trees allowed the organization to press pause on it in 2020 and 2021, Kessel said.
“The Festival of Trees has always been really successful above and beyond expectations,” she said. “We’ve taken the last few years off. We’ve been able to do that because it was so successful in the past.”
However, that does not mean that fundraising efforts have stopped.
“We are planning a fundraiser for this fall but don’t have details on it yet,” Kessel said.
Deputy News Editor Andy Hallman contributed to this report.