The Indiana Chapter of A Kid Again serves children who are facing life-threatening diagnoses and their families by hosting monthly, all-inclusive events, referred to as “Adventures,” such as day trips to amusement parks or baseball games.
The Adventures not only serve as debt-free diversions, but they also provide the opportunity for networking with other families who are going through similar medical trials.
Indy’s Child had the opportunity to speak with the Kirk family, the first family to participate in A Kid Again’s Indiana Chapter. Carrie Kirk, mom to four children — her son, Cameron, has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia — described how the monthly adventures provided her family with a break. She said that getting to know other families, especially other moms in similar situations, helped her feel less isolated. Kirk also loved that Cameron’s siblings were included and could enjoy a day of fun, even when Cameron was hospitalized and couldn’t participate in an Adventure.
Since the Kirks joined in 2018, A Kid Again has served 115 families. We sat down with Katie Pappas, executive director for A Kid Again’s Indiana Chapter, to learn how this organization is trying to help as many Hoosier families as possible.
How did A Kid Again’s Indiana Chapter begin?
A Kid Again began more than 20 years ago in Columbus, Ohio. Our founder, Jeffrey Damron, saw a need for not just one special opportunity for a family, but something that provided an ongoing escape from the reality of never ending doctor’s appointments.
The Indiana Chapter started in 2018. A few passionate volunteers knew that there were families in Indiana that could benefit from A Kid Again. Exploring expansion beyond Ohio, Indiana was the most logical place to start. After meetings with the Child Life Teams at Riley Children’s Hospital and Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, the excitement among their staff provided the assurance that Adventures were a true need among families.
Can you share a special memory that you have of working with the Kirk Family?
I first met the Kirk family at our largest organization-wide Adventure to Kings Island. The Kirks were selected to help open the park that day, and they could not have been more excited. I distinctly remember Carrie telling me that this was the first fun thing they had done as a family since Cameron’s diagnosis. In that moment, I realized the true impact that this kind of diagnosis can have on the entire family.
How can we support your program?
Volunteers are important to the success of our Adventures — they help plan, organize and implement these fun activities. We also need people to help spread the word! Because we do not charge families to participate in any Adventure, we rely on the generous support of individuals and companies in the community.
For more information about A Kid Again’s Indiana Chapter, visit akidagain.org/indiana.