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Wichitas Littlest Heroes

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services

Mission: The Mission of Wichita’s Littlest Heroes is to encourage and support our medically fragile children who are battling different life threatening medical conditions or diseases. We strive to be present for the whole family physically and emotionally while connecting them with as many free assistive resources as possible to make their journey a little easier and their load a little lighter. Through partnerships with other non-profits, individuals and businesses we help fill the gaps; we provide education, resources, advocacy; and free, fun family activities and celebrations. When others have said “no”; We say “YES”!

Programs: Wichita's littlest heroes (wlh) was started in 2014 by a mother who recognized the need as she battled for her own son through his illness. In january of 2016 wlh became a 501c3 and established a board of directors. Wlh is all about helping families in the wichita area to "live well" while dealing with life-threatening medical conditions their children are battling. Currently wlh provides physical, emotional, and financial support to 325 families with 60 different diagnoses, in wichita and surrounding areas. These families all have children battling a life-threatening medical illness. The goal is to encourage, to lift them up and to help families carry these heavy burdens. One way we do is this is by hosting events where our hero families can come and enjoy a fun-filled time tailored specifically to their children. A time when it doesn't matter if you don't have hair, or if you have scars, or are sporting a trach or a g-tube. No one is going to stare. No one is going to make fun. These kids come together and have a ball! It's so much fun to attend one of our events. You see healthy siblings helping out, an abundance of hugs and "high-fives", happy tears, and screams of delight! Events include the annual ymca luau and cookout with the wichita wagonmasters and a trunk or treat event at the pumpkin patch. Last year 30 businesses opened a car trunk, all filled with goodies for our heroes. In december, the 'cocoa and cookies with santa' event provided every hero and their siblings a gift. Last year santa distributed over 400 gifts with almost 600 people attending, representing over 200 families. In addition to whole family events, we sponsor times just for mom, dad, or siblings. There is something special about getting together with others who really "get it. " even though all the families don't share the same diagnosis, they often go to the same doctors, endure some of the same treatments, travel to the same out of town hospitals/clinics, deal with the same unending paperwork and phone calls and understand the stress that comes with caring for these special kids. Our volunteers make hospital and home visits when our heroes aren't feeling good, often taking with them a hero bag of fun goodies. New heroes receive a t-shirt and hero cape to help them be strong during treatments and procedures. Families also benefit from our organizational memberships at botanica, tanganyika, exploration place, the sedgwick county zoo and (soon) the aviation museum, all of which they can visit with their family at no charge! We believe this strengthens the family by providing opportunities to have fun together. (some sources report the divorce rate for couples with seriously sick kids to be as high as 85% and we want to do all we can to help them stay strong together! )without a doubt, one of the best things about wichita's littlest heroes is the friendships formed with other hero families. To that end, wlh provides a private, moderated online chat forum for families. It is in this forum they share their stories with each other, encourage and support one another, give and ask for advice and just generally "let their hair down. " a personal family example of how wlh makes a difference, one family at a time, occurred at an event just for the moms. The event is an opportunity for moms to get out and mingle with other moms who are walking similar journeys with really sick kids. While there, one mom called attention to how thin "nina" had become. Privately when asked why she had lost so much weight and if her family was struggling financially, she began to cry, saying that she was, in fact, losing weight because while she was making sure her three children were fed and trying to pay the bills, she was going without, sometimes only eating one nutritious meal every other day! When i gently reminded her of the food pantries in wichita she said she knew about them but said, "you have to be able to get there. " this family was so short on money that the husband had been selling blood plasma in order to have gas money to get to work. With all the medical bills, there just isn't enough! This family has a very sick diabetic child and though they have insurance, if they go over their insurance allotment of insulin in a month and have to buy extra, it's now over $200 for one small vial. Their child's blood sugars have been high and unstable lately so last month they had to buy 3 vials on their own until insurance adjusts. That killed their budget but they did what they had to do to for their child. A donor had given some gas cards recently so wlh were able to give one to nina so she can go to the food pantry. We'll be keeping a close eye on this family to be sure they are doing okay. Thank goodness for the mom who noticed, and the donor who made the gas card possible! Donors, through cash and service, have helped us provide wheelchair ramps, remodel bathrooms to make them wheelchair accessible, buy a stove for a family, help keep utilities turned on when families have to choose between paying utilities or paying for treatment for their child, provide gas cards for families that travel out of town for treatment, and so much more. Since the beginning of 2018, we have lost 5 heroes. We will continue to support these families as long as they need us. All "angel hero" families are welcome at events as long as they want to continue. Many of them become veteran parents who help other parents navigate this journey. Since the beginning of 2018, 68 new hero families have been added, primarily coming through referrals from the medical community or word of mouth from member families. Wlh is primarily supported by a group of local businessmen who believe in what we are doing. They have provided operating expenses for the last 18 months and will continue but are gradually cutting back to a new lower level as wlh becomes better known in the community. Referrals from the medical community and other hero families continues the growth in membership. Wlh participates in as many fundraising events as our time and energy allows. Wlh will need an additional $50,000 over the next 12 months to continue providing these programs. The operations budget is relatively small as wlh operates with only two full time employees and a herd of volunteers. Our robust board of directors is hands on, and on hand at many of our events. Our offices, affectionately called "hero headquarters" are in the independent living resource center, and also home to a medical supply swap closet, a lending library, a play room for our kiddos and a volunteer work space. Staff, volunteers and member families assist each other in connecting to relevant community based services. Other services provided include: back to school supplies for over 40 families facilitated 37 of our families 'christmas adoptions' by local businesses who provided for the entire family. Modest financial assistance on a case by case basis, and as finances allow, usually for utility bills and medical travel expenses. 3 bathroom remodels 1 wheelchair ramp 3 educational parent workshops 5 major family events 3 dad events 3 mom events host a medical exchange closet wish trip for a terminal child 700 trips to the zoo 420 trips to exploration place 340 trips to tanganyika more than 40 gas cards to families going out of town for medical appointments 4 hotel accommodations for families out of town for med appointments who couldn't stay at ronald mcdonald house 400 christmas gifts at our christmas party 350 birthday cards 150 superhero capes for new members 50 hospital bags for kids in the hospital and so much more so no family fights alone! The wlh website is www. Wichitaslittlestheroes. Com in addition to a public facebook page.

Community Stories

47 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This has to be one of the best non profits in the country. What they do to help children with life changing illnesses is amazing. I really like the fact that they include all the children in the family for their activities. I first learned about WLH when my church partnered with them for an Easter outreach. WLH is always looking for new ways to bless the families.

1 Heather S.7

Client Served

Rating: 5

I came to this organization after my two sons were diagnosed with a terminal rare genetic illness. They have been my support, my rock. They help our whole family. The family events and passes give us a chance to relax and forget about our struggles, even if it’s only for a little while. I cannot day enough about how great of an organist this is!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wichita littlest heroes have helped me and my family so incredibly much

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wichitas Littlest Heroes is a true community blessing. We've been a part of the WLH family since 2015. They have events for families of special needs kids. Siblings are always a part of the events as they know how a sibling can feel left out when there's a special needs child in the family. They have a great support group for us. When a parent needs diapers, formula, gas card for Dr's appointments they try and provide that to the member. We are blessed to have a Botanica pass, Thank you Botanica Gardens! My Grandson loves it there. They always try and make each event free to families however it is only with donations from the public that can continue to be. Thank you if you are a volunteer, sponsor and/or donator to this wonderful non profit organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

WLH is amazing! Lots of support systems and activities for the families. Very helpful and friendly. Always there when you need someone to vent to and for advise! Great organization!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wichita’s littlest heroes is such a wonderful organization. It has helped out family connect with other families going through the same struggles and giving us opportunities to go to many places around the city through memberships/passes it provides. Not only does it help out medically complex child but it includes her siblings in events and other things as well which we really appreciate!

Melissa Williams G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

They are wonderful even though we are not a big part of the group anymore, they are a great support system and helped us out in the beginning when we needed extra support for our daughter

Jessica B.12

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wichita's Littlest Heroes welcomed us with open arms after our baby was born. As first time parents it was very scary raising a special needs child who has a life-threatening condition. Not only did they help financially with gas money and hotel money when we had to travel out of state for appointments, but they have also been a huge parent support group. We have connected with other parents and have leaned on others when we needed help with medical devices, questions about symptoms, or just needing to vent or cry about something. We are able to stay strong for our hero because we have so much support from this amazing group.

Caroline W.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a parent of a special needs child, the support of Wichitas Littlest Heroes and the community of WLH is nothing short of amazing.

Callie R.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wichita’s Littlest Heroes is amazing! They’ve been through so much with our family and given us so many opportunities that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. The community they’ve built is more like a family unit. No matter what challenge you’re facing, someone has been there and they are eager to help.

Dawn J.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Absolutely amazing people. Everyone makes you feel comfortable and feel like your at home. Welcomed us with open arms

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son was diagnosed with stage 3 Chronic kidney disease in 2013. In 2015, we learned of the Wichita's Littlest heroes and have been a part of this AMAZING group since then. They bave helped not only support me and our family emotionally, but they have helped get our AC running when we didn't have the money and they helped me get teeth so I could get a job!

leap154

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son is non mobile, none verbal, hearing and vision impaired, Has Cerebral Palsy along with many other medical issue. Wichita's Littlest Hero has been a life line it has helped me connect with other parents that have children with similar issue. The administrators and the members are very supportive, and try hard to help other members the best that they can. This support is not only emotional but also financial. They sponsor many get together for the children and families throughout the year. I would highly recommend this group to any families that have children that have fragile medical needs.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

WLH is a great support group, the people in this group are very helpful and non judgemenl. I am raising a special needs child that is now 6 years old. He is biological my grandson,but legally my son. WLH has helped to obtain some of the medical supplies that I need to make my son more confrontable. The members of ''tis group are always willing to step up and help other. They are alway willing to lend an ear to listen to problem with out judging you. This is one of the most helpful understanding groups that I have ever belong to. I will continue to recommend this group to anyone that has a child with special needs, this is a wonderful supportive and loving group. They will step up and help in anyway possible that they can.

Amanda C.14

Client Served

Rating: 5

Without the support from WLH our family would be alone and isolated in the wild roller coaster of experiences that come with having a child with a life threatening illness. Bri and Bev are there for all of us every step of the way, no matter the day or time.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wichita's Littlest Heroes came into the picture within a week of my sons heart crisis beginning. They helped us give our children Christmas, helped us with things like Pediasure and school supplies. They gave my son his first 1 year birthday card ever. They continue to do anything they can to help us thrive as a family and they are absolutely invaluable.

Carlene L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

WLH is the best organization I know. The emotional support. The little things like a care bag when my daughter has to endure long test. A ogization that supports the whole family where my heros siblings matter just as much. Where all my kids can be around other familys like ours.
Basic school supplys.

Vanessa H.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

It’s been such a blessing being a part of Wichita’s Littlest Heros. Everyone is so nice and willing to help out. We’ve gone to multiple events and have received financial help when we needed it the most. Our daughter was scheduled for 2 separate appointments in Colorado a week apart (they couldn’t schedule them closer together and we wanted to be home over Christmas). Those appointments we had somewhat planned for what we had no idea was that within 2 weeks she would be having her third open heart surgery. While she was in recovery I read that the organization helped a few families a month financially to help meet the Hero’s needs. I applied and thank God we were one Of the families blessed that month. It helped us out tremendously. We are forever great full!

ValorieE

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is the most loving and welcoming group for children and families. Acceptance and help for who you are and your child's diagnosis is SO needed and that's what Wichita's Littlest Heroes is all about. There are activities for all ability levels and groups to help with your child's specific needs. Plus friends to pray for and with you at some of your scariest, darkest times and they're there to celebrate every milestone no matter how small-it's big for your child. We've made some lifelong friends-that turn into family. We appreciate WLH for their love and support.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

We LOVE being a part of Wichita's Littlest Heroes! The love and acceptance of our son has been an amazing part of dealing with his disability, but being included has opened up new friendships and opportunities we wouldn't have had otherwise. We enjoy sharing fun, prayers, activities and support with other who understand. We are blessed to be a part of Wichita's Littlest Heroes! ♡

Courtney R.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

WLH is the best organization I know. They have helped our family in so many ways as my son fights. Just being an amazing support system to even financial help this organization has really blessed our family.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wichitas little heroes is a fantastic organization allowing our medically fragile children to be able to do things they wouldn't ordinarily get a chance to do. We love the events that are set up like the Luau, Christmas with Santa, Trunk or treat and many others. Our hero, my 7 year old grandson, Jaiden has a genetic micro deletion that has caused club feet, aortic dilation and slower learning and speech development along with many other issues. He loves going to activities from WLH where all of the other kids have different and very similar problems. The family support in this group is fantastic. The fact that we can all talk and know we're not the only ones going through all of the crazy medical issues,Drs, school and ordinary daily life is extremely helpful. WLH are amazing advocates for all of the families involved. WLH acquires memberships to places like the zoo, Tanganyika, Exploration Place, Botanica Gardens and several museums. These kids and their families more often than not would not be able to to go to these places because they are expensive. Thank you WLH for making life so much better. We love you!

Allicia G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wichita littlest heros helped us get supplies for our home after it flooded, in order to get my daughter who is terminally I'll back into our home as quick as we could. Our home owners insurance failed us but wichita littlest heros saved us!

Melanie G.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

When hospitals visits happen regularly, and medical bills leave finances tight, being a part of Wichita's Littlest Heroes is such a blessing! It's a group filled with love and support among families. The events allow our family to connect with others who "get us" and offer opportunities we might not be able to experience otherwise. We are so thankful to be a part of Wichita's Littlest Heroes.

Kristin Barb M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

WLH's are AMAZING! This group has become like friends then family! Going above and beyond to help any way they can. To offering moral support and just an ear to lend. I can personally say that this group has has helped our family as far as resources for my child to helping with improvements around the home! Thank you so much from our family!

Alexandra K.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter is in this group and the love they show for the child and their siblings I cannot put into words, this group is amazing and the founders have a heart of gold. They show each and every child they are loved.

Teresa C.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

In the past nine years, with multiple diagnoses and interventions, and numerous organizations involved in my son’s life, Wichita’s Littlest Heroes has been the only organization that has produced a truly tangible impact on my son’s life.

Even though Chris has multiple disabilities , I can always rely on a fellow hero parent to provide insight on what we are going through at that moment.

Not only do they provide opportunities throughout the year to experience things my son would not get a chance to do, they also visit Chris when he is stuck in the hospital - yet again .

TiahandSean S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Fantastic 100% dedication to the families and kids

1 Britney K.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I actually have 4 kids with special needs. Two of them being life threatening.

Wichita's littlest hero's is a great group to be a part of. They hold events that our whole family is actually welcome to.

They help provide monetary resources to families who desperately need it while balancing hospital life, family life, and work life.

They also help families with resources for instance my son has an ailment that makes walking long distances really painful for him but because he's physically capable of walking insurance would not pay for him a wheelchair so WLH helped us secure one and even that alone made such a difference in my son's quality of life I can't even begin to tell you.

I sincerely hope that you should never need this organization but trust when I say if you ever did you would find in invaluable to your families quality of life.

Picture of my two heroes.

Kristin P.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We have been with WIchita's Littlest Heroes now for just over a year. It has been an amazing group and the smiles I see from all the events they do manage to do are far beyond what I would expect. They always do what ever they can for all children involved in the heroes family!
They help with everything from school supplies ( which can be donated by so many people) to formula and diapers.

Debra Anne J.

Client Served

Rating: 5

A wonderful organization for children with terminal and lifelong diagnoses. My hero (epilepsy warrior) finds this organization to be loving, kind, supportive, and fun. They do outings where families can come together without judgment and be themselves. When you need a shoulder everyone in there and supportive. My son even got to do a photoshoot as his favorite super hero last year (2018) and he's still talking about it. As a parent I love the support and nonjudgment as well as the advice given often.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This group of wonderful people have lifted me from the depths of despair and celebrated with me on the sunniest days. When I had little to no prescription formula for our hero they stepped in and even made my Heros brother feel he was special or even a simple hey how you doing when I needed it the most. Their support has helped me be at my best to take care of my heroAnd a sibling love Bri and Beth couldn’t of made it without you guys

Client Served

Rating: 4

We are a family that is involved in this organization. It’s been hard for me as a mom to be able to ask for help or find a friend to confide in that actually knows what we are going through. I’m tired of the same old “I’m sorry”. That’s all people say when you mention your son has special needs or has health complications. You’re supposed to be strong at all times. You’re supposed to just trust doctors because they have the medical degrees, not you. I don’t have to fill those shoes with this group. My son can find friends that are similar in abilities. My other kids make friends with kids that know what it’s like to have a sibling that is different. My husband and I can break down, ask for help and be real. These other parents are not just parents, they are our friends. Real friends that know when you are broken and stressed. Know when you can’t keep your eyes open anymore. Even just a quick coffee or lunch because it’s been that bad of a day, week, month, or year. This has become our second home.

Sarai F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We’ve been part of Wichita’s Littlest Heroes from the beginning. We’ve watched it grow and succeed. We’ve seen the things they do to help our families and we’ve been helped by them multiple times. They visited us while our Lilly was in the hospital to the fun family get togethers that our family couldn’t finically do without WLHs. This is an amazing organization. The medically complex/special needs journey can be a lonely one but with WLHs by our side we know we are never alone and we always have someone there to talk to.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

We love Wichita’s Littlest Heroes!! When no one else understands the countless doctors appointments, therapy, hospital stays, testing and special needs this group understands. Everyone supports one another. It’s like a big family ❤️❤️

Cassidy B.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been a hero for about a month now-we havent been able to take advantage of everything quite yet but I absolutely love seeing the way WLH helps families like mine!

Courtney E.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This group has given us relief and hope as we continue our journey with our medical heroes. We finally have people who understand what we are going through and to get advice from.

Megan S.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wichita's Littlest Heroes impacted my and my sons lives from its very conception. It took my son, who was scared, and surely felt alone, and gave him a community of friends who understood what he was (is) going through. This, above and beyond anything else, is what this group does for us- and it's what we needed most.