DALLAS - A Dallas mom fought back from her own life-threatening illness, and she's now using her experience to address a significant need in the healthcare system.
Soon, some Parkland patients will have access to free childcare while getting treatment.
This is great news for parents going through a very difficult time.
Annie's Place will be a drop-in childcare center for a limited number of patients to start providing care for children up to 6 years old.
But organizers expect it to grow because they know the demand is there, as there are parents who often miss appointments because they can't find a sitter.
“We are so excited to see the actual building coming to life,” Natalie Boyle said “We are going to have four childcare rooms that are split out by age.”
It doesn't look like much now right now, but a stone's throw from Parkland Hospital, a new drop-in childcare center is taking shape.
“We can't fix what's going on with them health-wise, but what we can do is take one stressor off,” she added.
Boyle understands what parents go through, after her own health crisis.
“I lost it in the parking lot, and I was sobbing and trying to figure out what I was going to do with my children,” she recalled.
Her twin girls were 18 months old at the time.
“The first thing was when my doctor told me that I had to have my entire colon removed and it was going to be a year of being disabled,” she said.
Her friends and family could help care for her kids.
But she soon realized, when her friend Annie Nace was diagnosed with colon cancer, that not everyone had the same resources.
Boyle started raising money to help pay for Nace's childcare while she went to treatment.
Soon after, Mommies in Need was born. It’s a non-profit providing free in-home childcare for mom's facing a health crisis.
“If you are in a radiation treatment, you might be there every single day for six weeks,” Boyle explained.
Now, Mommies in Need is partnering with Parkland for Annie's Place, in honor of Nace who, lost her battle in 2018.
This appears to be a first of its kind hospital childcare drop-in center.
“It's shocking to me that this doesn't exist,” Boyle said. “The number one comment that I get when I talk about what we are doing here, is why hasn't someone done this before.”
Boyle said she’s just happy she’s able to help out.
“To be able to have something like this that comes out of the worse period of my life and have something that's going to help so many people, it's really, really special to me and my family,” she added.
Annie's Place is scheduled to open this fall.
Parkland is providing the space and covering the overhead, but Mommies in Need will run it.
It will also keep offering in-home childcare service for those who need it.