Denise Johnson: Josh Cares - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Denise Johnson: Josh Cares

As a parent we hate when our children are sick.  Could you imagine having a child with a chronic or critical illness, having to stay in the hospital for weeks at a time?  How would you handle all your other responsibilities like other children, work, and home?

Children's Hospital is lucky enough to have a non-profit organization called Josh Cares. Josh Cares mission is to provide comfort and support along with companionship to seriously ill children that have to stay in the hospital for long periods of time, when the parents cannot be with them.  Josh Cares is the only program of its kind Nationwide.

Josh Cares was inspired by ten year old Josh Helfrich. Josh had a bike accident and suffered from a traumatic brain injury.  Josh's parents where by his side every moment, but noticed that there were many children who didn't receive a single visit the entire time they were in the hospital with Josh. After Josh passed away, his parents the Helfrich family along with the Pierce family started the Child Life Fellowship Program.  The goal was to ensure that no critically ill child have to face feeling alone, afraid and abandoned during their long hospital stay.

Josh Cares has professionally trained Child Life Specialists that stay with these children giving them someone to trust that will bring them comfort so they won't feel alone or abandoned during their long hospital stays.  The Specialists communicates with the families on the daily condition of the child, which provides comfort for the parents as well.

There are currently six Child Life Specialists who provide friendship and comfort to hundreds of children at Children's Hospital.  They love on them, read them stories, play games, cards, or just hold their hands during scary or painful procedures, this lets the children know that they are not alone.

A local family that benefits from one of the Josh Cares Specialist is from Versailles, KY. Versailles is two hours away from Children's Hospital.  They have ten children with no relatives close for support. Their youngest son Zeke was born with a serious medical condition and at the age of 2 and a half years old has been in the hospital 175 days of his life. He has many more surgeries to go and his mother said that his medical condition will never improve and that she couldn't do it without the support of Josh Cares.

If you would like to find out more about Josh Cares go to their website: www.joshcares.org

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