The Chwalik Family Fisher House Story
The Fisher House Foundation, and my participation as a runner with Team Fisher House at the MCM10k helps our military in numerous ways. I became a Champion for Military Families in 2012, running my first marathon with Team Fisher House at the Marine Corps Marathon. They promised me more cowbell. They inspired me beyond words....and got me to the finish line of my first (and second) marathon in 2012 (and 2013). I was not able to run with the team in 2014 due to hip surgery, but I was back in 2015, ready to be a Champion for Military Families again, by running the 10k. I go back every year. I was once asked what my ties are to the military and why I run for the Fisher House Foundation. My answer: I am an American citizen who wants t support the militray who protects my freedoms to run and to live a life i love. I've never been inside of a Fisher House, though through the team, I've met many who have stayed in a Fisher House. I can assure you, your donation is appreciated by many, and will certainly be used to HELP those who need the services offered by the Foundation. The team has also given me a certain appreciation for cowbells--when I'm not running, you'll often find me volunteering at local events, ringing my Team Fisher House cowbell. Keep reading to hear the story of just one of hundredes of faimilies who have receieved support from the Fisher House Foundation.
Senior Master Sergeant Richard (Joe) Chwalik was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries suffered during a deployment to Afghanistan. But it was the birth of his son, Jeremy, that brought Fisher House into his life.
When Jeremy was born, the Chwaliks were a dual-military couple stationed in Ramstein, Germany. His mom, Erika, knew there were going to be complications when he was born, but not the extent. The base hospital wasn’t equipped to deal with Jeremy’s two congenital heart issues, a club foot, and Down syndrome. He needed specialty pediatric care that meant leaving his dad and brother in Germany, while he and his mom came back to the States for his medical treatment.
Within hours of his birth, Jeremy and his mom were on a military cargo plane headed to Washington, D.C. After settling Jeremy into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Erika headed to the Fisher House.
This would be the first of many stays at a Fisher House for the Chwalik family, as little Jeremy received treatment as a newborn, and again four years later when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“Since Jeremy’s birth five years ago, the Fisher House has been a saving grace when we least expected it,” said Erika. “Fisher House allows you to have a normal life in an abnormal circumstance.”
You can help military and veterans’ families, like the Chwalik’s, feel that sense of normality when they need it most, during a medical crisis.
Donate with confidence: Fisher House has received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator 15 years in a row and an A+ rating from CharityWatch/American Institute of Philanthropy.
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