Families given hope, thanks to H.O.P.E. Foundation

Ayden Markum and his family can enjoy life thanks in part to the help of the H.O.P.E. Foundation.
Ayden Markum and his family can enjoy life thanks in part to the help of the H.O.P.E. Foundation.

You want to talk about being put through the ringer, worrying yourself sick and losing sleep?

Not long ago, Chris and Ashley Markum’s newborn son, Ayden, arrived 14 weeks premature. Sadly, the baby suffered from a brain injury and experienced seizures. Meanwhile, Liam Byars was born at 28 weeks and has battled pneumonia and West Syndrome since, even requiring 50 hospitalizations.

As you might imagine, hospital bills mounted. Fortunately for the families, in stepped the H.O.P.E Foundation, which provides financial and emotional support to families whose children are battling pediatric emergencies.

Part of their support is because of your support of the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper, which is proud to have the H.O.P.E. Foundation on board again this year as one of its 46 charities.

The tournament, a PGA Web.com Tour stop in August in Springfield, has generated almost $12 million for local children’s charities in 25 years – including a single-year record of $1 million-plus last year. And here’s your chance to help again.

Liam Byars smiles despite being in and out of the hospital the past few years.
Liam Byars smiles despite being in and out of the hospital the past few years. He was born 28 weeks premature.

“The H.O.P.E. Foundation was a real blessing to have them help offset medical expenses,” Chris Markum said, explaining the family would drive back and forth from West Plains to a Springfield hospital daily. “It could have been 100s and 100s of dollars out of pocket just for a month’s supply.”

SUPPORTING THE PCCC = SUPPORTING CHARITIES

Buy a $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket and all the money goes to your favorite charity -- and you also could win this 2015 Ford Mustang.
Buy a $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket and all the money goes to your favorite charity — and you also could win this 2015 Ford Mustang.
  • HELP H.O.P.E. FOUNDATION: The non-profit covers unforeseen expenses of families whose newborns and toddlers require enormous medical support. Call 417-316-3216.
  • FOR GOLF FANS, WIN PRIZES: The purchase of a $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket serves as a four-day tournament pass, but it’s better than that. You also are entered to win daily prizes during the tournament as well as grand prizes of $10,000 and a 2015 Ford Mustang.  Contact the local charity of your choice, simply because they receive revenue directly from those TLC Property Charity Sweepstakes tickets marked with their names.
  • BUSINESS SPONSORSHIPS: Businesses can support the PCCC through various sponsorships, such as the daily newsletter, website or through several events such as a dozen Pro-Ams. Additionally, restaurants, clothing stores and entertainment stops and such are asked to donate a gift card with at least a $25 value in the name of your charity of choice to benefit them in the Golf Ball Charity Auction. You also can contact the PCCC staff at 417-887-3400.
  • WHEN, WHERE: The tournament is Aug. 7-17 at Highland Springs Country Club, with the pros playing beginning Aug. 13.

About H.O.P.E. Foundation

The Markum family
The Markum family

It’s probably easiest to let the families tell about the H.O.P.E. Foundation, in their own words.

For Ashley Markum, the foundation’s help lifted a weight off her shoulders. She and Chris also are parents to Isaiah, Eliza, Asa, Asher and now Ayden. In order, their ages are 9, 8, 5, 3 and 2.

“When Ayden was born, my wedding ring could fit on his foot,” Ashley said. “He’s a tough little guy for sure. He’s been through so much. The H.O.P.E. Foundation has been a real blessing.”

For Desiree Byars, mom to Liam, the foundation came through tremendously. Liam has undergone a number of medical diagnosis. But …

“Don’t let all his challenges get you down, though. Despite all the hospitalizations and road bumps, Liam is almost always smiling and laughing. He loves being around people and especially loves water,” said his mom, Desiree.

She went on, noting that Liam was hospitalized throughout October and that the family was nearly evicted from their home, as they fell on financial hard times.

Liam Byars' family appreciates the H.O.P.E. Foundation's support.
Liam Byars’ family appreciates the H.O.P.E. Foundation.

“This was the first time in our lives that we’ve faced eviction, and it scared us,” Desiree said. “Just when we were ready to give up hope and started trying to figure out where we would move to, the H.O.P.E. Foundation came through for us and paid our rent, allowing us to stay in our home. Since then, our family has been able to get back on our feet, financially, but we will forever be grateful to the H.O.P.E. Foundation for their generosity during a bleak time. Thank-you hardly seems like enough to convey our gratitude!”

The H.O.P.E. Foundation began five years ago and has helped 150 families by offsetting costs such as medical travel, vehicle repair, rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, funeral expenses and more. In essence, the foundation steps in when other organizations and insurance companies are unable to.

Overall, the H.O.P.E. Foundation serves the following Missouri counties: Barry, Christian, Dade, Dallas, Dent, Douglas, Greene, Hickory, Howell, Laclede, Lawrence, Oregon, Ozark, Phelps, Polk, Pulaski, Shannon, Stone, Taney, Texas, Webster and Wright.

“PCCC has aided in our mission by allowing us the opportunity to participate in an event that not only helps raise money for our organization, but so many other local children’s charities,” said Mary Beth Hankins, Family Services Officer for the H.O.P.E. Foundation. “We share a common goal: to help the children of our community. We have had the opportunity to network with these organizations and let them know we are here to help. Our organization’s continued growth has been deeply impacted by the PCCC, and we are very fortunate to have formed this partnership.”

Mom of special needs child: Camp Barnabas ‘greatest place on Earth’

Kris Presley's son, Chance, has greatly benefited from Camp Barnabas.
Kris Presley’s son, Chance, has greatly benefited from Camp Barnabas.

Ask about Camp Barnabas – a Purdy, Mo., ministry geared toward kids with special needs and chronic illnesses — and Kris Presley cannot say enough.

Which is understandable. Her son Chance, a 16-year-old with special needs whom she calls “medically fragile,” has benefited greatly from his stays there.

“I’ve said many times that it’s the greatest place on Earth,” Presley said. “He doesn’t stay anywhere else. That’s how big camp is for him.”

How big?

“He’s non-verbal so he can’t tell you how much he loves going. But he won’t stop watching their videos (after attending). He wears them out,” Presley explained. “We have to order new ones. And he hums along.”

Which is why the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper is proud to call Camp Barnabas part of its team again this year. The tournament, a PGA Web.com Tour stop in August in Springfield,  has raised almost $12 million for Ozarks-area children’s charities – including a record $1 million last year.

Camp Barnabas is among 45 charities this year, and here’s how to throw your support to help kids like Chance:

SUPPORTING THE PCCC = SUPPORTING CHARITIES

Buy a $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket and all the money goes to your favorite charity -- and you also could win this 2015 Ford Mustang.
Buy a $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket and all the money goes to your favorite charity — and you also could win this 2015 Ford Mustang.
  • HELP CAMP BARNABAS: The non-profit Christian ministry focuses on fun activities for kids with special needs and chronic illnesses. Call 417-476-2565.
  • FOR GOLF FANS, WIN PRIZES: The purchase of a $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket serves as a four-day tournament pass, but it’s better than that. It enters you to win daily prizes during the tournament as well as grand prizes of $10,000 and a 2015 Ford Mustang. You can also call the PCCC staff at 417-887-3400.
  • TICKET REVENUE GOES WHERE: Contact the local charity of your choice, simply because they receive revenue directly from those TLC Property Charity Sweepstakes tickets marked with their names.
  • BUSINESS SPONSORSHIPS: Businesses can support the PCCC through various sponsorships, such as the daily newsletter, website or through several events such as a dozen Pro-Ams. Additionally, restaurants, clothing stores and entertainment stops and such are asked to donate a gift card with at least a $25 value.
  • WHEN, WHERE: The tournament is Aug. 7-17 at Highland Springs Country Club, with the pros playing beginning Aug. 13.

About Camp Barnabas

At Camp Barnabas, special needs kids receive a ton of attention in a fun environment.
At Camp Barnabas, special needs kids receive a ton of attention in a fun environment.

If you think about it, it’s incredible the way charities become a reality – and how they’re inspired. Cyndy Teas and her husband Paul launched Camp Barnabas after witnessing a young girl unable to attend camp.

Lauren Hauschild attended the Kanakuk Kamps for several summers but was diagnosed with cancer in 1992, when she underwent chemotherapy and ultimately lost a leg.

Still, she soldiered on. In camp 1993, toward the end of Lauren’s stay, she expressed that she just wanted to be a normal kid at camp. Asked what she envisioned, Lauren put it this way:

“Everyone would be in a wheelchair or on crutches. No one would care that your hair was missing from chemo,” Lauren said. “It would be easy for anyone to do all of the activities of camp. Cancer wouldn’t isolate you – it would unite you – and when you came home, you would be loved.”

In 1994 and 1995, the Teas rented a Kanakuk facility and hosted a camp for children affected by cancer or blood diseases, and their siblings. A year later, they purchased Soaring Hawk Camp near Monett and soon Camp Barnabas opened.

It's all smiles at Camp Barnabas.
It’s all smiles at Camp Barnabas.

In March 2015, the final $115,000 of last year’s $1 million was awarded. Camp Barnabas was awarded $4,500, a sum that will go toward improvements to a sensory room. The room is used as a quiet area for the camp’s children with autism.

In other words, Camp Barnabas puts its PCCC donations toward the campers.

“We have so many ongoing expenses, the extras are hard for us to purchase,” said Krista Adams, director of development for Camp Barnabas. “But the extra things are what make the camp fun. It allows us to do things we normally don’t get to do.”

For the Presley family, saying thank-you isn’t enough. You see, Kris adopted Chance when he was young and the medical outlook appeared tenuous, and then Camp Barnabas came into their lives.

“When I adopted Chance, he was 4 ½, and I was told he probably wasn’t going to live to be 5. He turns 16 (this) week,” Kris said. “I didn’t think of letting him go anywhere. He’s medically fragile.

“But I talked to Camp Barnabas, and they assured me he would be OK.”

Through Camp Barnabas, Kris and Chance have beaten the odds.
Through Camp Barnabas, Kris and Chance have beaten the odds.

The camp has medical teams on site – perfect for Chance, who requires a feeding tube. Their good work with him and others led Kris recently to launch their own non-profit called Chance in Charge. A fundraiser led to two $12,000 donations, including one to Camp Barnabas.

“When I dropped him off (the first time), I stopped in the middle of the road and wanted to get him,” Kris said. “I didn’t, which was the best thing I ever did for him. At camp, he’s just normal. In the real world, people would wonder what’s wrong with him and stare at him. He’s just Chance at camp.”

A great place indeed.