For Mo and Jacob McCue, their baby girl, Bailey, is the light of their lives.
Soon after she was born this spring, the family realized that Bailey’s head was misshapen, making her face appear oblong, and that physical therapy was not going to be the answer.
After a consultation, they found out that she would need a helmet. Bailey needed a cranial helmet to fix the condition, which is called plagiocephaly.
“If you don’t correct it when they are young, it can lead to issues when they get older, like vision issues, jaw alignment, plate issues,” Mo said. “There is a whole list of things that could be issues if you don’t get it corrected.
“We’re not worried about the aesthetic, we are worried about the issues in the future.”
With the help of the St. Luke’s Magic Valley Health Foundation, the family was able to purchase a helmet for Bailey.
“We were super grateful that the Foundation had the funds and were able to help us,” Mo said.
Mo, who works at St. Luke’s as the anesthesia coordinator in the operating room, was initially unaware of the grant through the Children with Special Needs fund.
After applying and being accepted, the Foundation helped to pay for the helmet, which is custom made. It puts pressure on the two spots that have been outgrown and then her head fills in the rest to make “the perfect little shape.”
Mo said Bailey, now almost 6 months old, is doing great and adjusted well to wearing her helmet.
“There was a transition period to ease her into it,” Mo said. “On an hour, off an hour, after Day 5, she was in it full-time. She wears it (about) 23 hours a day. We take it off for a few hours at night.”
Mo said a lot of parents will get their child’s helmet painted. The McCues chose a clear helmet for Bailey to be able to see her progress, and deck it out with cute little bows every day. Mo laughs when making sure to note the bows match Bailey’s outfits.
At a recent doctor’s appointment for Bailey, the family found out that she may be out of her helmet very soon, and much quicker than they were originally told.
“If all goes as planned, she’ll get her helmet off the day before Halloween,” Mo said.
In 2006, St. Luke’s Magic Valley Health Foundation established the Children with Special Needs fund to provide financial support for special equipment, therapy, travel assistance, family counseling and respite care for medically/developmentally disabled children up to age 18 with specific needs who are not eligible for funding by insurance or other medical assistance. The fund does not provide payment for deductibles, co-pays, etc., when insurance coverage is available, and is limited to $1,000 per child per year.
Over the past few years, more than 400 children have received help through the program. Grants have paid for speech therapy, social skills, occupational and physical therapy, learning and communication technologies, orthotics, physical corrective equipment and hippotherapy.
For more information on St. Luke’s Magic Valley Health Foundation click here or call (208) 814-0070.
Michelle Bartlome is the public relations manager at St. Luke's Magic Valley.