How to help
The Kids Equipment Network needs gently used equipment, money
and volunteers to help fill more families' needs. Families who need
equipment can complete an application at www.tken.org.
Getting into a bathtub shouldn't be a luxury for kids. Neither
should getting from point A to point B. But for some families with
children with special needs, insurance companies draw a hard line
that leaves no room for things that make life easier.
Such arbitrary coverage decisions that affect the kids he
encounters frustrate Tim Caruso, a physical therapist at Shriners
Hospital for Children in Chicago and president of a local charity,
The Kids Equipment Network.
"There's a lot of people out there who go without things that we
take for granted because they don't have insurance or funding to
pay for specialty items for their child," Caruso says.
So he and others put their frustrations to work by creating The
Kids Equipment Network. It refurbishes gently used equipment. So
far, the group has helped more than 100 kids like 17-year-old
Kelsey Rozema, who received a light-weight manual wheelchair. The
chair, declined by insurance twice as "duplicate medical
equipment," is giving her more freedom to be a normal teenager and
also is helping make her stronger and more independent, her mom
"It was a wonderful, wonderful thing," says Rozema.
Caruso, who also works in private practice, says he sees so many
"We as a group are in a position to significantly change
someone's life for the better," Caruso says. "It's about the
greater good; it's about giving someone the ability to be
independent in the world that they live."
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