You know the saying that “what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger”? Well, I’m quite certain, I have to be “strong enough” by now. Our lives have been a bit of a roller coaster over the past few years. We were blessed with the news of twins after a long struggle with infertility. However, in 2010 they were born prematurely. Our little girl, Raegan, was small but mighty and came through the NICU with only a few hiccups. Our little boy, Avery, had a very rough course in the NICU. He had a brain hemorrhage on day three that caused many complications. But he fought for his life and they both came out of the NICU in three months. As you can imagine three months in the NICU aren’t cheap. Couple that with a job loss during the recession & Avery’s ongoing medical bills and we found ourselves in quite the financial predicament. We tried everything we could to stretch that dollar but try as we might, it would only go so far. After failed attempts with medical grants and hospital accountant payment plans I truly felt like we were drowning and about to hit rock bottom. That’s when a sister came to my aid. At 2013 District II DLC, I had the pleasure of sitting beside Mrs. Kathryn Peddy Goddard during our closing session. She was there presenting on behalf of the Alpha Delta Pi Foundation. We were talking about life and she reminded me of the Clasped Hands Fund and explained how she had seen countless stories where this was the hand up that sometimes we all need. I applied for and received the Clasped Hands Fund Grant in May of 2013.
Since receiving the Clasped Hands Fund Grant, the twins are doing well. They just celebrated their 5th birthday. Raegan is full of life and will be in Kindergarten in the fall. Avery has still had his share of medical events because of his diagnosis of cerebral palsy and epilepsy but presently he is in special education preschool and working with many doctors and therapists which help keep him happy and healthy. We also got the huge surprise of another baby. We were blessed with a baby boy, Carter, in April of 2014. Of course he couldn’t let his brother and sister be outdone, so he had to have a stay in the NICU as well. He had a congenital heart defect and intestinal disease which both had to be repaired with a few surgeries over the past year. However, he has done well and completes us as a family of five.
What a difference two years can make! We are now medically debt free. I can say with complete confidence that this would not have been the case without the help of my sisters and their willingness to donate to the Foundation. The Clasped Hands Fund saved our family from a financial crisis.
~ Nicole Barbour Castle, Zeta Psi—University of North Carolina, Greensboro
Nicole is just one of more than 100 alumnae who have received a Clasped Hands Fund Grant since it began in 1993 to provide emergency assistance to alumnae who find themselves in financial distress. For many years, gifts to the Clasped Hands Fund were recognized with a silk violet tied to attendee nametags at Convention; a violet appliqué. “Violets for My Sister” is now an annual tradition during both Grand Convention and Leadership Seminar, and we are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support for the Violets program this year. The Foundation is thrilled to announce that you have contributed a record-breaking $47,025 to the Clasped Hands Fund this year, an increase of more than $13,000 over our best-ever year! Thank you to all of the sisters and friends of Alpha Delta Pi who supported Violets for My Sister this year; you are truly making a difference in the lives of our sisters and showing that We Live For Each Other.