Kiwanis Club of Mecklenburg reinvigorates fund to support pediatric care

One child at a time

The Kiwanis Club of Mecklenburg is built around a simple motto: improving the world one child at a time. The club has worked to deliver assistance to children and families for 60 years and counting. A few years ago, an opportunity presented itself that the club has pursued to this day.

Around 2006, the club began working with a member who happened to be a pediatric oncologist. He introduced the club to a young girl battling cancer, and her family could not afford treatment.

“She had what would have been a death sentence,” said Matthew Hagler, director of community outreach. “For us, it was possible to provide some medical assistance that would save her life, and we did just that.”

The experience soon inspired the club to deepen its commitment to pediatric cancer patients and the Kiwanis Pediatric Cancer Fund was created. Members worked together over the next couple years and raised more than $300,000. The club engaged with what is now Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center to support women and children battling cancer, and the effort that was started many years ago has evolved to meet the needs of pediatric patients.

Today, the project has new life again and an expanded mission. The new Kiwanis Fund has been created to provide financial assistance to children and families at Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital, regardless of diagnosis. The fund was developed after several discussions between Novant Health Foundation and the Kiwanis Club.

“Novant Health Foundation has been extremely supportive and willing to do anything they can to get this rolling again,” said Nancy Petty, club president. “I feel very pleased and very blessed.”

The fund is designed to complement Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital’s affiliation with other organizations by providing for pediatric health needs, ranging from medical bills to additional medical support services families might need at home.

“For instance, if a child is diagnosed with diabetes and they're ready to go home, but their parents don't have the money to buy enough insulin and supplies until Medicaid or insurance takes effect, we can approve immediate funding to allow the child to go home,” Petty said. “We’re looking forward to finding children to serve. We have the money in place, and we’re ready to go.”

The fund is intended to be as inclusive as possible and to serve as many children as possible.

“There are so many needs you don’t realize go on in the home when a family has a child with a pediatric illness,” Petty said.

Providing aid to local families continues to inspire club members. Hagler has been a club member since the early 2000s. He remembers being approached by a Kiwanis member who spread the word about the club everywhere he went.

“Everybody wants to give back to the community in some capacity,” Hagler said. “The Kiwanis club was my way at the time. My wife and I love their approach, helping people internationally and locally, and that’s what we do here. We help children whenever we can.”

Today, with the generous support of donors, the Kiwanis Fund is working with social workers and Novant Health team members to identify children in need. Kiwanis is ready to step up and improve the world one child at a time.

“The healthier our community is, the better it is for everyone,” Petty said. “A healthy world is a good world.”

About Kiwanis

The Kiwanis Club of Mecklenburg also supports children through other programs as part of Kiwanis International, a nonprofit organization with more than 500,000 members. Some of these programs include K-Kids, Key Leader and Key Club, each of which are service organizations for elementary, middle and high school students, respectively.

Now, you have the opportunity to serve one child at a time.

Donations to the Kiwanis Fund provide children and their families with crucial, financial support during pediatric illness. Make your gift today.

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