Former Family Gives Back
Former Family Pays it Forward with Billboard

Louie was born in 2016 with suspected mitochondrial disease and a constellation of subsequent medical needs.  Before the age of two, Louie had multiple hospitalizations, over 30 outpatient appointments, and still did not have a definitive diagnosis.

One of Louie’s complications is his inability to regulate his body temperature, making the heat of a typical Philadelphia summer just too much for him to bear. The older electrical system in the family’s Northeast Philadelphia row home kept blowing fuses, which meant Louie was confined to his small, but cool, bedroom.

Seeking a creative solution to this issue, their social worker reached out to Fred’s Footsteps for help. Our Grant Advisory Committee (GAC) reviewed the application, and after discussion, approved the needed electrical work to upgrade their home. In addition, they approved mortgage support to cover the extra finishing work that was sure to come up once the upgrade was completed.  The GAC also added a gift card to cover the purchase of new, energy efficient room air conditioners to cool the entire downstairs!  That summer, Rose sent us an email:

“We have not blown a fuse once during this heat wave while using the new air conditioners! There isn’t enough gratitude that I can express on behalf of our little family towards Fred’s Footsteps.”

Louie’s family stayed in touch over the years and, last Christmas, five years after we assisted them, they reached out to tell us they made a donation to Fred’s as part of their gift to Louie’s teachers and therapists. In a full circle moment, one of his teachers shared this sweet gesture with her husband, who happened to be a founding member of the GAC who originally funded their request for help.

But the story does not end there! Earlier this year, Louie’s mom, Rose, came across a contest through Keystone Outdoor Advertising to nominate a nonprofit for their Local Legends Program where they donate billboard space.  Rose nominated Fred’s and we were selected!  For the past month, Louie and his family have been on billboards all around the area, promoting the work we do in the community.

I really don’t know how we could have gotten through that period of life without Fred’s Footsteps support. All of you do amazing work every day, and gave us much needed hope when we were drowning in hopelessness.”  

We are grateful to this former family for keeping us in their hearts, and for the awesome team at Keystone for putting our mission front and center. Drive safely, and keep your eyes peeled for a familiar face next time you’re out on the roads!