Caiden’s Hope is a wonderful organization, based right here in The Woodlands, that assists the parents of premature babies. In addition to dealing with the daily fears, tears, and stress of loving and caring for a premature newborn, many parents face unexpected travel expenses because their tiny infant requires specialized care that isn’t available close to home. Below is our interview with Wayne Keller, the Executive Director of Caiden’s Hope Foundation.
What first inspired the launch of Caiden’s Hope?
Jennifer Call, the daughter of my longtime friends, Eddie and Terry Call, in Ventura, California, was pregnant with her first child, when she went into labor at 7 months. Her son, Caiden, was born 5 days later and immediately transferred to the Mattel Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles where he remained for two months.
The medical staff were not optimistic about his condition, telling Jennifer, “Don’t get too attached. He isn’t going to survive past his two month birthday.” God had different plans.
Caiden is now 6 years old, and although he has many medical issues, his life experiences have already touched multiple families. It was the family’s difficult travel experiences after Caiden was transferred that led to the formation of Caiden’s Hope Foundation. They had to book and pay for long term hotels, driving between home and the hospital weekly, etcetera.
How is Caiden doing today?
Caiden is doing well, but he is facing a long road ahead. He is now in preschool and is progressing in the right direction. He is facing another surgery in early 2016.
Why is providing travel arrangements to parents of NICU babies so impactful?
The parents are overwhelmed with the daily medical conditions of their newborn. Some infants remain hospitalized for weeks and even months before their bodies are strong enough for them to be released. The parents are bombarded with unexpected costs for everything from daily trips to the hospital, to eating in the hospital cafeteria every day. Our being able to provide a break from these costs is a much needed respite from the stress they face daily.
How many families has Caiden’s Hope helped so far?
275 families in 26 states and Canada.
What’s one of your favorite success stories from a Caiden’s Hope beneficiary?
A family living in Iowa traveled to Denver, Colorado to visit family during the Christmas holidays. While in Colorado, mom went into premature labor and delivered her son. After being released from the hospital, the family returned to Iowa due to work and school responsibilities for their other children.
Caiden’s Hope assisted the family with their weekly travel needs (primarily gasoline purchases) as they drove from Iowa to Colorado each weekend to visit their son. He was hospitalized for over 100 days and mom and dad did whatever they needed to visit their son. In the 100 days he was hospitalized, mom got to hold her son 3 times.
What are some ways people can help Caiden’s Hope over the holidays?
Caiden’s Hope is holding four, possibly five, events in October, November, and December. People are welcome and encouraged to participate in these events, invite their friends and family, and you can also donate through our website at www.CaidensHope.org.
- Saturday October 17: Caiden’s Hope is one of the 5 worthwhile charities benefitting from the Texian Heritage Festival in Montgomery, Texas.
- Saturday November 7: Caiden’s Hope will be participating in the Conroe Shakespeare Festival.
- Thursday November 19: Kendra Scott Jewelry in The Woodlands will be hosting a special event and donating 20% of their sales to Caiden’s Hope.
- Tuesday December 8: LoneStar Internet Radio is hosting the 2nd Annual Caiden’s Hope Internet Radio Telethon on http://www.irlonestar.com at 7pm.
There is also the possibility of a live country music show in December in The Woodlands. Stay tuned at www.CaidensHope.org for event invitations and updates.