Pam Miklavic knows what it's like to face the long-term challenges that come with caring for a seriously ill child. Her son, now 19, was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 3 years old. Today, he's healthy and attending college, but his road to recovery was bumpy, filled with complex medical care on demanding schedules that often stretched the resources of Miklavic and her husband.
"We were a family with two Ph.D.'s, but found that navigating health care was one of the hardest things in the world," Miklavic says. "There were so many obstacles. We saw that you can have the best critical care in the world, but if you don't have access to that care, it becomes even tougher."
That experience led Miklavic to found the Davies Project
in 2014: a unique service that provides community-based, non-medical support to local families caring for kids with serious illnesses and conditions.
In particular, the volunteer-driven Davies Project provides free transportation for families to clinics and doctor offices for medical care. To date, 23 volunteer drivers transport 53 children and their families to appointments in Greater Lansing. About 70 percent of clients are on Medicaid. Before connecting with the Davies Project, many of the families missed 60 percent of their appointments—simply because they couldn't get there.
"So many of the transportation options out there don't work for these families," Miklavic says. "It's hard to take a bus and do transfers when you have a sick child and its winter."
Miklavic believes the Davies Project is the first service of its type in the country. She says the service is basic and simple and strives to meet the demands of a family whatever that may be. It's an idea she hopes takes hold, continues to grow, and expands to other communities.
"I want the Davies Project to be a resource," says Miklavic. "I want people to know there's an organization that comes to you and says 'we know it's going to be hard, but we're here for you, and you'll come out the other end and be fine.'"
Miklavic works with one part-time family services coordinator as well as a volunteer board of directors. To find out more about upcoming fundraisers or about becoming a volunteer, donor or business sponsor, visit the Davies Project web site here.
Source: Pam Miklavic, Executive Director, the Davies Project
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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