Providing financial help to families of children with rare illnesses
CTV Calgary Staff
Published Wednesday, October 8, 2014 2:14PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 8, 2014 3:12PM MDT
Alberta’s health care coverage assists many, but there are instances where our youngest, most vulnerable citizens, are left out in the cold.
Doug Cabral became aware of the issue when a family member had a child with a rare illness and the treatment was not covered. Cabral witnessed the impact the financial burden had on his family.
“My grandfather Chuck Hogan had expended a lot of his time and resources over those two years, trying to make ends meet for the family,” recalls Cabral. “I realized there are a lot of families out there that can't get funding that early to help them out through what's the most important struggle of their life.”
Following the child’s death at the age of two, Cabral created the Sarah Faith Hogan Memorial Foundation in memory of his little cousin.
Rachael O'Neill and her husband have a son, Enzo, who has an extremely rare condition.
Rachael says the family had used up nearly all of their savings buying a very expensive formula for Enzo before they learned of the Sarah Faith Hogan Memorial Foundation.
“We were paying between $2,000 and $3,000 a month for formula,” said Rachael. “Both my husband and i had taken a substantial amount of time off of work.”
Doug Cabral says it can take a long time for government funding to kick in for children like Enzo and that's where the Sarah Faith Hogan Memorial Foundation helps.
“When they come to us and we go through our nominations committee, talk to the doctors, social workers, establish need, and how we can best help them,” explains Cabral, “we're able to help with those things right now.”
The O'Neill family has come very close to losing Enzo and, at times like that, nothing else matters and that includes going to work.
“We absolutely could not have been able to drop everything if we didn't have the support of the Sarah Faith Hogan Memorial Foundation,” said Rachael.
The foundation’s largest funding source is its annual Calgary Get Your Hearts On gala.
“Next year's gala is February 7th,” said Cabral. “We've called it the roaring gala with a splash of red. “It’s at Fort Calgary and it'll be a 20’s-30's theme.”
All of the money raised will go to help families of children undergoing medical treatment.
For all he does for families facing huge expenses because they have young children with rare illnesses, Doug Cabral is this week’s Inspiring Albertan.
With files from CTV's Darrel Janz