Her 9-year-old daughter Camille was born with severe medical problems and was sent home from the hospital, expected to die shortly.
“She was supposed to die, so we took her home in hospice care,” Bass said. “Nine years later, here we are.”
Camille has a molecular brain malformation causing seizures and cerebral palsy. Bass said it has been a difficult journey, in terms of her daughter’s needs and medical costs.
“One year, we had over $1 million in medical costs,” she sad. “When you have a severely medically involved child, … cost is just overwhelming. There are so many things these children need and it’s very difficult to be able to put out $10,000 for this and for that.”
The Vinings-based foundation annually provides nearly 500 severely medically fragile children in Georgia with specific equipment prescribed by doctors but not covered by medical insurance. Bass is the honorary chair of the foundation’s celebration called Travel With Us Around The World, set for Saturday at the Georgia Aquarium.
“The event is our signature and largest event that raises money for our children,” said Carolyn Polakowski,” the foundation’s executive director. “We have a very focused mission of supporting medically fragile children in Georgia.”
She said they help provide everything needed for the children to “safely navigate through their day.” Kids’ illnesses include cerebral palsy, spina bifida, mitochondrial disease and other genetic disorders and brain injuries.
“The common thing with all these kids is they need specialized equipment,” Polakowski said. “Most kids are lower income and their primary source is Medicaid.”
Bass said, “When you have a child that is severely medically fragile, you cannot do it alone.”
Camille’s first piece of equipment was a bed.
“She doesn’t speak and can’t move herself. She is totally dependent. We needed a bed where she was safe,” Bass said. “She has seizures … and the average hospital bed has holes in the side rails. She can get caught there.”
The bed they needed was $10,000, and Fragile Kids gave the family a grant toward the purchase of the bed.
“This event is huge for us. … The more donations we get in, the more grants we can get to kids,” Polakowski said.
The fundraising goal is $175,000, she said. The internationally themed party includes dinner, a silent auction and live entertainment from The Torsades, Harmony: Atlanta’s International Youth Chorus, Off Broadway Kid’s Theatre Group and Atlanta Belly Dancers.
If you go:
o What: Fragile Kids Foundation’s Travel With Us Around The World party
o When: Saturday at 7 p.m.
o Where: Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker St., downtown Atlanta
o Tickets: General admission is $125 and VIP is $250
o Information: www.fragilekids.org