I Felt Helpless

Nov 20, 2018

At UCP’s 2018 Golf Classic, we asked Claudia Romero to share her story about the value of UCP Family Respite to her family.

“The short answer is: UCP Family Respite means a lot to me. The long answer requires a little background,” says Claudia.

Claudia had a difficult labor and delivery with her youngest son, Alec. At the young age of four hours, Alec began having seizures that didn’t seem to stop. An MRI showed a massive brain hemorrhage and the prognosis was not good.

Alec and Claudia

Alec and Claudia

Claudia felt helpless as she watched Alec fight for his life. After two weeks in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), doctors recommended taking Alec home to cherish the remaining moments of his life. The doctors had done all that they could for him. It was very likely that Alec would not make it to celebrate his one month birthday.

Sixteen years later, Alec is a junior attending a special day class at a high school in Rocklin, CA.

He has an infectious laugh, is good natured, and loves to play at the water parks, and he loves hamburgers. He also has many challenges. As a result of the brain hemorrhage, he is legally blind, nonverbal, developmentally delayed, and has seizures and mild cerebral palsy. Things could be much worse. Nevertheless, there are daily routines and challenges at our house that don’t exist in most other households,” says Claudia.

At the age of 16 years old, most teenagers are learning how to drive, dating, discovering their talents, and preparing for college. At the age of 16 years old, Alec requires assistance to take a shower, learning communication and social skills, and working on basic living skills. Alec needs as much care and attention as a small child. Parents who are also caregivers of their child with specials needs are exhausted by the end of the day, especially after a day at work. They need a break.

Some teenagers with special needs, like Alec, require just as much supervision and assistance as a child. It’s not easy to find a qualified care provider for an individual with special needs. Fortunately, UCP Family Respite provides qualified care providers to care for Alec when Claudia needs a break.

I have been extremely blessed to have had UCP Family Respite for over 10 years. I have been even more fortunate to have the same two ladies come each week for over 6 years. UCP Family Respite has allowed me to take much needed breaks from caregiving,” said Claudia.

Respite care allows parents to take care of household chores or spend quality time with friends without having to worry about their child. Claudia says, “Sometimes after a tough week, I will use my respite time to just go to my room and enjoy a couple of hours to read and unwind knowing that my son is being well cared for while I recharge my batteries.”

“[UCP’s] support means that parents like me have the opportunity to be refreshed and recharged. [UCP’s] continued support means that parents like me don’t have to shoulder everything alone and that they can get a much needed break in order to carry on. Thank you.” says Claudia.

Claudia presented her story at the UCP’s 2018 Golf Classic held on September 19 at Whitney Oaks Golf Club in Rocklin, CA. The 28 golfers and donors were moved by her story and gave her a standing ovation. Doug, CEO and President of UCP Sacramento, thanked Claudia for sharing her story and told 28 golfers that the $30,000 raised will provide 577 families with a 3 hour respite session. Thank you to our generous golfers.

Do you know a family living with an adult or child with developmental disabilities including autismepilepsyintellectual disabilityDown syndrome or cerebral palsy?  UCP Family Respite UCP Family Respite is a great resource for families raising a child with developmental disabilities. Respite care is a proven prevention technique that not only protects a caregiver’s health and well-being, but prevents out-of-home placements and reduces the risk of abuse or neglect.