The lives of critically ill children and their families are often day to day and may be full of uncertainty. In that time of hardship, people need other people—for support or help, maybe even for just a smile. That is when Give Kids the World is there. With a welcoming Village to stay at, and a ceiling lined with gold stars representing all whom they have helped, the organization gives critically ill children and their families a place for happy memories and repose from their everyday world.
Eileen Sayeski, Resolution Manager at Gallagher Bassett, has firsthand experience with Give Kids the World and all that they do for families going through tough times. Her son Michael was diagnosed with a brain tumor at just two years old. For two years, he had periodic MRIs to monitor the tumor’s development, and then between the ages of 4 and 5, Michael underwent chemotherapy.
At the time, Eileen’s family lived in Florida, but her extended family was scattered across the country. The separation certainly magnified Michael’s situation, as Eileen and her family were essentially on their own. That is, until Give Kids the World lifted her up while she gave all that she had to help her child.
Eileen and Michael connected with the organization Dreams Come True to grant their “wish,” which led them to visiting Give Kids the World. So, Eileen, son Michael, daughter Heather, experienced Give Kids the World Village for a week’s visit in July 2004.
While there, they went to Disney World and participated in activities at the Village itself, and Eileen noted how special and memorable the experience was for the whole family. “During that time, we were unsure of what was going to happen with Michael. I didn’t know if we would be able to make memories in the future. When I look at the scrapbook of our trip, the priceless memories continue to embrace me.”
Lifting others up is what draws Gallagher Bassett to sponsor Give Kids the World. GB’s employees have offered their time, talent and support throughout the years. For GB, it revolves around the emotion and purpose of helping people.
Eileen is certainly one of the Gallagher Bassett employees that loves to give back to Give Kids the World. Since her family’s trip in 2004, she has volunteered at the Village, brought her daughter’s Girl Scout troop there, run the Gingerbread 5k twice, and donated when possible. She considers her contributions as “paying it forward” for families who face the challenges that come with supporting a critically ill child.
“You never know when someone in your family is going to be hit by something life threatening. It doesn’t have to be cancer or tumor. It can be anything, and you never know when that’s going to happen,” Eileen says. “Working for an organization that believes in supporting organizations, like Give Kids the World, is important to me.”
Nearly two decades have passed since Eileen’s family visited the Village, but the memory of the time spent there stays fresh in their minds, and Eileen takes comfort knowing that her company cares for others outside of its work.
“If we show that we care about other people and other things, that we want to give back to our community, I think that’s super important,” Eileen says.
Gallagher Bassett has sponsored Give Kids the World in 2021 and is coordinating virtual volunteering opportunities for its employees across the country. For Eileen, she plans to continue supporting the organization when she can, especially through the work of GB. Her son Michael is now 22 years old, living in Florida, and his gold star still remains on the ceiling of the Castle of Miracles at the Village.
If you would like to donate or discover volunteer opportunities, visit the WCI Gives Back website.