Every year, One For the Kids selects a special family in need to benefit from the annual cocktail party. This event is a night filled with fun, prizes, music, great food, and an even greater cause. This year’s host family is the Cuiching family from Lemont. The Cuiching Family was chosen out of several families due to their extreme circumstances and truly heart-breaking story.
Kyle and David Cuiching have two small children, Ellie who is 7 years old and Jake who is 6 years old. Before this past year, the family was largely focused on Kyle’s Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The medical bills alone for her daily treatment can easily reach over 2,000 dollars a month. In January of 2011, the family was dealt another devastating blow. Ellie, their oldest child, fell ill and the doctors were unsure why.
Ellie’s symptoms began as headaches, which would only hurt in the mornings. Ellie would complain of pain in her head when she woke up and Kyle would keep her home from school. Yet, by the afternoons Ellie was out of bed and playing. Kyle thought maybe Ellie was having problems with friends at school and was just pretending to be sick, so she could stay home. Since this is a common situation with children, Kyle would try her best to get Ellie up and out to school.
When the complaints seemed to become more frequent and Ellie began to look very tired and affected by these pains, Kyle took her to their family practitioner. The physician recommended that they get an immediate CAT scan that day. The scan uncovered their worst fears; Ellie had a tumor. A day after bringing Ellie to her physician, she was at Children’s Hospital for a nine-hour surgery. The tumor was the largest the operating doctor had ever performed surgery on and it took up over half of her brain. It was the obviously cause of her headaches.
The surgical team was able to remove about half of the tumor in the first surgery. A few days later they went back in to remove the rest. Unfortunately two percent of the tumor was not removable due to its location. In the last few months they have discovered that Ellie is in need of 12 more months of chemotherapy, since the tumor is fast growing and has returned. She has recently also gone in for a third surgery to remove the new growth; a racquetball sized tumor.
These devastating circumstances alone would crush even the strongest of person’s spirits. Yet, this is merely the beginning of their tragic story. Ellie’s mother Kyle, who has MS, has had to forgo treatment lately due to medical costs for Ellie’s surgeries. They fear Ellie will reach her life-time deductible on David’s (her father’s) health insurance plan soon. This means they will have to begin paying much of the costs out of pocket. As it stands they have spent over five hundred thousand dollars on surgery and have gone into over one hundred thousand dollars in debt due to medical bills.
In recent months their son Jake has been experiencing some trouble coping and has been diagnosed with sensory integration. This is a neurological disorder that affects his ability to deal with change. This is often seen in autistic children, but Jake has not been diagnosed with autism. He is very sensitive to transitions, which makes even the simplest daily tasks, such as going to school, a very real struggle.
The family also bought a new house recently. Only to find out the lot is positioned in such a way that the garage and living room floods during thunder storms. This has led to a large mold problem and the living room is no longer inhabitable. David has extreme allergies to mold and it causes his eyes to become very swollen. The living room had to be sectioned off and divided from the home using plastic tarps to keep the mold from circulating.
Every time it rains, Kyle and David have to hurry outside and stack up sand bags around their driveway to make sure the flooding does not get too bad. Being on a tight budget, they saw this new home as a blessing. It was on sale for an affordable price in a nice part of Lemont, but and the previous owner disclosed nothing about the flooding issue to them. One For the Kids as been looking into legal options for the family to obtain some means to fix their home problems.
This Cuiching Family is in much need of our help and support this year. As it is our 20th anniversary year, we would like to do more now, then ever before. One For the Kids has set goals in an effort to up the anti for this family and really take some financial burden from them. Ellie and her family have been receiving a lot of support from the Lemont community and we are striving to make this impact even larger by branching out to our friends around Chicago to spread the word. Every family has its struggles, some more than others. This is true. As a community members and an organization, it is our mission and duty to help those that can no longer carry the load alone. This family’s story has touched our hearts and gotten us all motivated to raise some money and help a little girl and her family. We hope you feel the same way.
For ways you can help visit our cocktail party link. Tickets are for sale now as well as raffle tickets to win prizes at the event. Donations are welcome and sponsorships are available at all different financial levels.