FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Hannah Detlefsen is the inspiration behind Hannah's Helpers. The four-year-old was born with a rare syndrome.
"She's definitely inspired us to get out in the community. And if we're having issues and we have struggles going to visit places like the zoo or children's museum, we know other families are as well," said Jeff Detlefsen, Hannah's father and CEO of Hannah's Helpers.
The non-profit focuses on supporting families, nurses, and health care providers of special needs families.
It started in 2019, serving 300 Christmas Eve meals to hospital patients and staff and has expanded from there.
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A recent trip to the zoo during the pandemic spurred a new idea.
"While we were there, she needed to be changed, and she's now over 40 pounds and almost four feet tall. She's extremely tall for her age, and she just can't fit on those baby changing stations anymore," Detlefsen said.
So Detlefsen decided to start fundraising and gathering support for an adult changing table. The group is also raising money for another table for the zoo's expansion.
Their work has spanned multiple Valley cities.
"We just received funding from a generous donor for a hydraulic adult size changing table in the Children's Storybook Garden & Museum in Hanford, and that got ordered two days ago," Detlefsen said.
Volunteers have helped sew "pillowcases for hope" to make hospital stays brighter for pediatric patients.
Detlefsen says they've seen many people rise to the occasion to help make a difference when they ask for items, such as the changing tables.
"Everybody we talked to at all the different locations said 'I didn't know this was a thing. I didn't know this was needed.'" he said. "As soon as they realized how simple it is, how big of an impact it would make on families, they're always on board."
Their family is now helping others get access, one project at a time.
The adult changing table will be installed in the zoo in the coming weeks. For information on how to donate, volunteer, or provide a suggestion, you can go to the Hannah's Helpers website.
Hanford family helps others with special needs
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