As a case manager at Code of Support and an Elizabeth Dole Caregiver Fellow, I get to meet a ton of resilient people. From the other caregivers I work with to the military and veteran families I assist at COSF, I interact with strong people every day. But, as a mom and caregiver to my husband, I am surrounded by a resilient and strong family.
Earlier this month, I had the honor to speak at the White House as part of the launch of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Hidden Helpers program. As the 2020 Delaware Dole Fellow, my family’s story was featured at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation Gala in 2020. Since then, I have been sharing my caregiver journey and the role that every one of my kids has in my husband Alex’s care. I have 5 kids, and each of them has a specific role to manage Alex’s care.
For that and many other reasons, the Hidden Helpers Program is close to my heart as I have seen the struggles that my kids go through every day. My kids have naturally taken on the responsibilities that very few other children have to face. Their responsibilities range from helping with care and safety matters, soothing emotions, understanding first aid to knowing when their dad has a flashback and where to be safe.
Being at the White House and sharing our story in front of so many people willing to help gives me so much hope for more support for caregiver children like mine. These individuals care for our caregiver children and want to invest in them and their wellbeing. Organizations such as Wounded Warrior Project, Nemours Healthcare, and more than 60 members committed that day to support for them.
One of my personal highlights is knowing that entities such as Esposas Militares Hispanas will translate those documents to reach out to Spanish speaker families like mine. Inclusion is so important to those caregivers and caregiver children who feel isolated, and seeing so many organizations make inclusion a priority gives me some relief.
Of course, other highlights of the day included meeting the First Lady, the Secretary of the Veterans Affairs, the Secretary of Defense, the CEO of Wounded Warrior Project, and Dr. Moss CEO of Nemours Healthcare. Because of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to speak at the White House, I was able to personally thank all these amazing people for their support of this great cause. It was an experience I’ll never forget.