Giving Back: CORE Family Updates

Children

CORE, Children Of Restaurant Employees, is the official charity of Nightclub & Bar and gives us all the opportunity to give back to our own. A 501(c)3 charitable organization funded by donations from individuals, food and beverage operators, distributors, suppliers, special events, CORE supports the children of food and beverage employees. These families are dealing with life-altering circumstances and need our help.

Keep reading for three heartwarming CORE family updates!

Oscar and Felix Montgomery - CORE family updates

Oscar and Felix Montgomery

Year of Grant: 2016

Connection to Industry: Oscar and Felix’s father works at the Dizzy Rooster in Austin, TX

CORE Grant Details: CORE helped pay for a new handicap-accessible van that will allow Melanie and Travis to safely transport Oscar and Felix

Oscar and Felix were born in 2015 to a mother who was addicted to heroin and methamphetamine. The twins were adopted by Melanie and Travis Montgomery, who decided to keep the boys despite their significant health issues. Oscar is almost completely blind, has malformed feet that will require surgery so he can walk, and has no protection reflex, so he’s unable to keep himself upright. Felix is also blind, and has Poland Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and Epilepsy. Up until recently, Felix had multiple seizures a day, and is expected to have severely delayed development.

Update: Core has a wonderful update on Oscar and Felix Montgomery, now both 1 year old. Felix is more than 165 days seizure free, something that his doctors thought would never happen. His awareness is highly increased, and he laughs and coos. With extensive at-home therapy, Oscar has been able to improve his vision so that he can at least somewhat see very bright colors and shapes, and has gained enough muscle strength to be able to take a few steps at a time while his parents hold his hands and his weight. Both boys are generally two of the happiest children CORE has had the honor of knowing. The Montgomery family recently moved from their Texas home to start an incredible trip around North America with the twins, taking advantage of whatever time they have with them so that they can see the Grand Canyon, Disney World, and so many other incredible places. The Montgomery family will continue treatment and therapy for both boys, and CORE and Nightclub & Bar look forward to following their journey.

Aniston, Dylann and Kennedy Gienapp - CORE family updates

Aniston, Dylann and Kennedy Gienapp

Year of Grant: 2016

Connection to Industry: Aniston’s mother works at a Cracker Barrel in Chattanooga, TN

CORE Grant Details: CORE sent Aniston an iPad to help her develop her communication skills and is sending the family to the 2016 KdVS gathering in Columbus, OH

The Gienapps live in Tennessee, where dad John works as a police officer and mom Cortney works at Cracker Barrel. Aniston has Koolen-de Vries Syndrome (KdVS), an extremely rare and virtually unknown genetic disorder. It is so rare that only 1 in 32,000 children have a chance of being affected. KdVS was discovered in 2006. The syndrome was named after Dr. David Koolen and Dr. Bert de Vries, two doctors from the Netherlands who have been on the forefront of the discovery and research of this condition. Children with KdVS face myriad physical ailments, including seizures, kidney failure, heart problems, low muscle tone, and auto-immune disease. Some children afflicted this syndrome have delays in physical growth, learning disabilities, and speech development. Aniston hasn’t had a seizure since March 2014 and participates in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy at Stellar Therapy Services. Thanks to the caring, dedicated staff at that facility, Aniston is walking and learning verbal communication skills and sign language to help her communicate.

Update: All of the Gienapp girls have all started school again, and the family is currently figuring out the best therapy for Aniston going forward. CORE sent the family to the annual Koolen de Vries (KdVS) Syndrome Conference in Columbus, OH, in July where they met with other KdVS families and medical experts. Since so few people in the US have been diagnosed with KdVS, this conference is incredibly important and serves two vital purposes: it’s a meeting place and support forum for KdVS families, and also a research and medical community for KdVS professionals. Families are able to share experiences and stories with newly diagnosed families seeking comfort in learning what may lie ahead for them. The families are also able to remember KdVS children who have gained their angel wings. Meanwhile, medical professionals (including Drs. Koolen and de Vries) can gain knowledge from the largest gathering of KdVS children available. Now that the conference is over, CORE will work with the Gienapp family to help pay for Aniston's therapy this year as they try to figure out insurance coverage moving forward.

Finn and Rhys Abbott - CORE family updates

Finn and Rhys Abbott

Year of Grant: 2016

Connection to Industry: Finn’s father worked at Intermezzo Cafe in Dunwoody, GA

CORE Grant Details: CORE paid for four-and-a-half months of rent for the Abbotts, sent diapers for both boys and formula for Finn, and will be taking the Abbotts on a shopping spree in May 2016

The Abbott Family lives in Georgia and dad Anthony “Ant” Abbott has worked at Cafe Intermezzo in Dunwoody, GA, for nearly 4 years as a manager and bartender. Recently, Ant started experiencing dizziness that forced him to take time off of work while he’s in and out of doctors’ offices. Finn was born on December 10th, 2016 and spent only 10 days at home before having to return to the hospital, where doctors discovered a congenital heart defect (CHD). Finn had heart surgery and spent three weeks in the hospital recovering while Beth and Anthony learned about his CHD diagnosis and what care he’ll need going forward. Fortunately, 2-year-old Rhys was able to stay with family and friends while Finn was recovering. Finally, Finn was able to go home with his family. Beth and Ant learned how to care for Finn’s needs without the help of nurses, and being home presented its own challenges as Finn had a strict 3-hour feeding schedule and a feeding tube.

Update: Lauren and Emily of CORE had the pleasure of meeting the Abbott family in early May of this year when they traveled to Atlanta, GA, to film the Abbott family's story (available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9ChZxXy3m4). After the filming was completed, they took the Abbott family to Target to buy clothing, toys, and necessities for Finn and Rhys. The duo then helped Anthony and Beth bring the items home and unload them. CORE is thrilled to report that the Abbotts have been doing well since they visited them! Finn has been doing well with increases in feeding volumes (he still has an NG tube), but unfortunately hasn't been able to pass a swallow study yet. Still, he's been able to start eating green beans once a day, which is the start to his success with solid foods. The Abbotts will also start OT/PT to help make sure he's on the right track for hitting his physical milestones. Right now, Finn has gotten rolling over down to a science, so it's only a matter of time before he’s able to hold himself up and begin to sit!

Become a CORE Member in 2016

There's never been a better time to start your membership with CORE, and 2016 is your year to get involved! With a variety of sponsorship levels and the opportunity to support CORE through individual donations, promotions, and so much more, it's easy to start your CORE membership! Email Executive Director Lauren at [email protected] for more information.

To see a list of our current members, visit their website.

Interested in Other Ways to Support CORE?

You can refer a family, become a COREporate member or event sponsor, host your own promotion or event to benefit CORE, or become a CORE Ambassador and spread awareness for CORE’s mission! For more information, visit www.COREgives.org.