Claire’s Place Expands COVID-19 Emergency Fund, Work Proudly Program

Claire’s Place Expands COVID-19 Emergency Fund, Work Proudly Program
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The nonprofit Claire’s Place Foundation announced that its COVID-19 Emergency Fund and Work Proudly Program, helping people with cystic fibrosis (CF) and their families during the pandemic, are being extended into 2021.

These programs provide critical financial assistance and support flexible employment for members of the CF community affected by COVID-19

“I am so proud of our team and supporters that quickly jumped in at the onset of the pandemic to provide emergency funds to families with CF,” Melissa Yeager, executive director of Claire’s Place Foundation, said in a press release

“To date, we have helped 1,039 individuals, giving over $46,500 for daily essential needs,” Yeager added. 

Because CF damages lung tissue, people with the disorder are advised to take special precautions to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19, a disease that primarily affects the lungs. These extra safety measures can limit safe employment opportunities, leading to loss of income and other financial burdens for them and their families.

Claire’s Place launched the Emergency COVID-19 Fund in March to help cover the cost of basic needs, like food or medication, during the pandemic. Financial assistance from the fund is distributed in small grants to individuals with CF and their families or caregivers.

To qualify, applicants must receive a referral from a doctor, nurse, or social worker. Referrals are being accepted through Jan. 1, 2021, or until the emergency funds are exhausted. To learn more about this fund and how to submit a referral, go here.

The organization established the Work Proudly Program in August, with the goal of providing training and ongoing career support to CF patients and caregivers. This pilot program offers 15 adults training necessary to become certified in a marketable skill for flexible, work-from-home careers, and help in acquiring work-at-home equipment like computers and headsets. A referral from a social worker is necessary; more information is here.

“We created the Work Proudly Program to provide certificate training and the equipment needed to gain and maintain meaningful, safe, remote employment for adults with CF and caregivers. The program has attracted an overwhelming amount of supporters, top grants and a waitlist of participants. We look forward to expanding it in 2021,” Yeager said.

One participant, Derek, said of Work Proudly: “I feel this program is perhaps the best way to empower the CF community. I’ve never heard about a CF program like this.”

Claire’s Place Foundation was founded in 2011 by 13-year-old Claire Wineland, with the goal of supporting children and families affected by CF. Claire, an activist and author who lived with CF for 21 years, tirelessly carried out that mission until her death in 2018. 

“This year was unprecedented territory for us all and I know Claire is so proud of how her legacy, the Claire’s Place Foundation, has adapted to meet the short-term and long-term needs of people with CF due to this pandemic,” Yeager, Claire’s mother, said.

“As we look to 2021, we are excited to celebrate our 10th anniversary and make it another impactful year, whatever the world throws at us!” she added.

Aisha Abdullah received a B.S. in biology from the University of Houston and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Weill Cornell Medical College, where she studied the role of microRNA in embryonic and early postnatal brain development. Since finishing graduate school, she has worked as a science communicator making science accessible to broad audiences.
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Patrícia holds her PhD in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases from the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, The Netherlands. She has studied Applied Biology at Universidade do Minho and was a postdoctoral research fellow at Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon, Portugal. Her work has been focused on molecular genetic traits of infectious agents such as viruses and parasites.

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Aisha Abdullah received a B.S. in biology from the University of Houston and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Weill Cornell Medical College, where she studied the role of microRNA in embryonic and early postnatal brain development. Since finishing graduate school, she has worked as a science communicator making science accessible to broad audiences.
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