Fresno non-profits fundraise for children with disabilities

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Two Fresno non-profits are taking action to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs.

"Here in the Valley, I work from Modesto to Bakersfield," said Able Advocates founder Katrina Schoenwald. "We've helped over 2,500 families."

These are families who have a child with a disability who is in need of temporary medical equipment while waiting for their permanent one.

Sarah Ruiz's son was born with spina bifida. She remembered waiting years for her insurance to approve his medical equipment.

"You want them to succeed in however the manner, and when something like authorization stops you from that, you have to find other resources," Ruiz said.

She found that help through Able Advocates' free lending closet.

"He's not walking at the best he can because that's just part of his diagnosis," said Ruiz. "He is where he is, and it has to do with the equipment that we were able to get from here."

Ruiz is also part of the non-profit Blended Families, which is teaming up with Able Advocates for a fundraiser for Disability Awareness Month.

For every dollar donated, Blended Families will match the donation. Funds will go straight to repairing medical devices or purchasing new equipment.

Ruiz and Schoenwald said they have not received any donations all month, and the need is great.

"I know families that hold their children in the shower, or they get in the bath with them," Schoenwald said. "To have a bath to actually do that, it's crucial."

Schoenwald added the benefit of the medical equipment is even greater -- helping a child's development.

"If you miss that opportunity, you're going to have a harder time in life," she explained.

Donations can be made on the Blended Families website, or through Venmo at @blendedfamilies21 or PayPal (Blended Families Inc).

Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.