From left, Drs. Ivy Chupp, Amber Love and Steve Whatley stand with Nicki Wilson, director of family support services at Easter Seals Southern Georgia, and Carol Hollomon outside of Bush Animal Clinic on Thursday with a donation the clinic made to Easter Seals as part of the “Friends of Megan’s House” campaign. The clinic is one of 12 businesses or organizations expected to give to Megan’s House, a respite care home named for the late Megan Hollomon, during the course of the year.
ALBANY, Ga. — Easter Seals’ Megan’s House accepted a check Thursday morning from Bush Animal Clinic on Dawson Road as part of the “Friends of Megan’s House” campaign.
This year, a business can sponsor Megan’s House for a $1,000 donation, which officials says helps to pay for respite care services to families. The group is seeking a business to make the donation each month.
When the staff at the clinic presented the $1,000 check, they became the “Friend of Megan’s House” for the month of May.
“This is our only program that does not have a secure source of funding,” said Nicki Wilson, director of family support services for Easter Seals Southern Georgia. “Without these kinds of donations, we would not be able to keep our doors open.”
Officials say Easter Seals has been seeking 12 businesses or organizations that want to join in the cause by becoming a “Friend of Megan’s House” by making a contribution to Easter Seals Southern Georgia in the amount of $1,000.
Megan’s House is a respite care home for children up to age 17 who have developmental disabilities, autism or are medically fragile that is available to families on a sliding scale fee. It is open for families to utilize anywhere from 24 hours to two weeks per visit and may serve up to two children at one time.
Services in South Georgia are provided in Albany as well as in Valdosta and Waycross, and in Columbus through Easter Seals West Georgia.
It is named for Megan Hollomon, who died unexpectedly in 2003 at the age of 14. She was diagnosed with Partial Trisomy 22 Chromosome Disorder shortly after birth, leaving her mentally and physically challenged.
“Many families cannot afford respite care, so this gives them a break,” said Carol Hollomon, Megan’s mother, at the check presentation. “It is such an honor for businesses to help with Megan’s House. It is an honor to see people in the community give for a good cause.
“They need time away from their families, and their families need time away from them.”
The cost to operate Megan’s House is $100 a day, officials say.
“So far, pretty much everyone has been supportive (of the campaign),” Wilson said. “Most of them have been long-term donors.
“It takes every penny we can get (to keep the doors open).”
Dr. Steve Whatley, a longtime member of the clinic’s veterinary team, said that the decision to donate to Megan’s House came following a presentation Hollomon made to the Albany Kiwanis Club — of which Whatley is a member.
Having a daughter who was born prematurely, Whatley said that the mission of Easter Seals has always been a cause he has tried to support.
“I thought it was a need that had to be fulfilled in Albany,” he said. “It’s one thing when you have difficulty with adults or with natural disasters. When it comes to children, they can’t help themselves.”
Last year, 51 children were served at the three South Georgia locations while 415 days of respite care were provided to families, officials at Easter Seals say.