This year, the Chicago Polar Bear Club is honored to support
two incredibly deserving families:
The Drew Family
Cynthia Drew, a resident of Evanston IL, has a lot of people depending on her. She is a loving matriarch, and is unshakably dedicated to her family. "Miss Cynthia", as she is known among friends, clearly has no limit on what she would do for her family.
Unfortunately, Miss Cynthia and her family are on the brink. She has been unable to work since 2015 due to a heart condition stemming from a heart attack. Despite this setback, she has continued to provide care for her large and loving family. This includes constant care for her niece, Tamika, who has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Scoliosis. Tamika, who is wheelchair bound, requires numerous visits to the doctors and specialists - a service Cynthia loving provides. Miss Cynthia's sister, Patti, her daughter Shannon, and her granddaughters, Alexis and Matayla, also currently live with Miss Cynthia. Additionally, Cynthia’s other daughter, Amber, depends on Cynthia to help with transportation and daycare for her four-year-old son, Legend.
On top of her many responsibilities caring for her immediate and extended family, Cynthia’s apartment for the past 15 years is now in foreclosure. As a result, she has been forced to relocate and by January 2018 she must find new housing for herself and all those that depend upon her. Unfortunately, this comes with increased housing costs, along with the additional security deposit, moving fees, etc.
All in all, we see Miss Cynthia working hard to care for her family and keep them together. With the help of your donations, our goal is to provide financial support to Miss Cynthia to help her provide a safe and loving home for her entire family.
The Hambrecht Family
Alaina Hambrecht and her family have been through a lot over the past few years. Her husband Erik, their daughter Olive, and their son Callum, share a story of enduring love in the face of adversity.
Callum was born with Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES), a rare food allergy. As a result, Alaina and Erik need to be extremely cautious about the foods and other allergens that Callum is exposed to. Now two and a half years old, Callum’s diet is limited to only forty foods. In fact, until this month, Callum had never eaten in a restaurant. Because of his nutritional needs, Callum needs to nurse often, so as a result Alaina must limit her diet as well. When adding up the cost of Callum's restricted diet along with the frequent visits to doctors and specialists for his care, and a number of other medical ailments that come along with FPIES, the expense for Callum's care is incredibly high. Further, in order to meet the needs of Callum's care, Alaina has been unable to work, leaving Erik as the sole breadwinner. All of this results in a long list of expenses which the Hambrecht's have been challenged to cover on their own.
In addition to managing Callum’s medical conditions, Erik Hambrecht, a military veteran, has also had residual issues from his time in the service. As a result, the family works tirelessly, together, to understand and manage the emotional and financial complications that this has caused.
Though they are in a difficult position, Alaina and Erik are still optimistic. Callum’s diet is slowly expanding and their family was able to take a small vacation to see the childrens' grandparents. On the day that our team first met the Hambrecht family, Callum even had his first ice cream (which he reacted well to)!
All in all, we see a family working hard, yet struggling to make ends meet. With the help of your donations, our goal is to provide financial support to the Hambrecht family to help them maintain Callum’s strict diet, to help cover a portion of the numerous medical bills this family faces, and to show this family the support of their community while they manage the physical and emotional health of their family.
For families like the Drew's and Hambrecht's, the Plunge is life-changing.
With your help, we are making a difference in the lives of real families.