Imagine having a sick child, and dealing with thousands in medical bills at the same time.
As the health care debate rages on in Washington, people in Shreveport are taking action, helping children with cystic fibrosis.
A fundraiser at the fairgrounds today will benefit the Hilman House. The center helps families afford lifesaving treatment.
The Hilman House relies on donations to support cystic fibrosis patients, but tough times have money tight and people fighting to keep services. Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins spoke with a mother who says the home keeps her child alive.
Meet 3-year-old Kolten. While he looks like any happy kid, he suffers from an incurable, genetic disease.
Cystic fibrosis causes his tiny body to make thick mucus that could keep him from breathing.
“You just want to give him the best childhood, when he's sick and constantly in the hospital having blood drawn. Like most children, he's always got a smile on his face even when he's in the hospital," mom Rebecca Simms says.
The Simms family drives from the Ruston area to visit doctors in Shreveport every month.
Everyone stays at the Hilman House. It's a homelike place for CF patients and their families to live and eat for free, while undergoing treatment in Shreveport.
Families like the Simms, also get help from the center with bills not covered by health insurance.
On average, cystic fibrosis patients pay $10,000 to $250,000 a year in medical costs. “If we didn't have places like the Hilman House, you'd have to pay a hotel. Some people don't have the money. We'd have to miss a doctor’s appointment because we can't afford to come," dad Steven Simms says. “It has kept him alive. “I've got my home away from home. We could go there refresh, take baths, eat, anything we needed," Rebecca Simms says.
About 200 volunteers, like Scott Boswell, help run the Hilman house. The center relies solely on donations. Boswell says the economy has corporate giving down. They're organizing more fundraisers to keep help here. “I've been fortunate to do things in my life to help, help out." Boswell says your support could gives kids like Kolten a chance.
Anyone can donate or volunteer at the Hilman House. Visit its website for how to help.