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Love in Action: Teamwork Helps 2-Year Old Thrive

There are plenty of blessings to go around in the story of little Janay and the large, loving Carter family of Richmond. Janay had a bit of a rocky start in life. Not long after her birth she developed severe eczema and asthma. But she now is an active two-year-old, thanks mostly to two very dedicated grandparents, the Rev. James and Doretha Carter, and the CHIP of Greater Richmond staff. “She’s on a lot of medications, but she’s a normal two-year-old, into everything,” Janay’s grandfather said recently.


Concerned about his granddaughter, Rev. Carter took her to a primary care doctor not long after she was born. She was immediately hospitalized, and the family was informed that Janay would require a lot of special care. It was during November 1999, while Janay was in the hospital, that the Carters were referred to and enrolled in CHIP. Janay’s mother, Jamie, lives around the corner from them. Since their daughter was working and overwhelmed caring for Janay’s three siblings, James and Doretha stepped in to help. With CHIP’s support they were able to provide in their home the care that Janay needed. As Janay’s health has stabilized, their daughter Jamie has been able to share more of the care for her daughter.


CHIP home visitor Barbara Baker recalled that early on "Janay had a real bad case of asthma, and she had eczema on her arms, face and stomach. The child was miserable. She needed all these treatments at home and she had many, many doctors' appointments." Janay also was found to have a number of food allergies, including wheat, eggs, milk and peanuts.  "These foods affected both the asthma and eczema," CHIP nurse Cathy Smith said, so they needed to be totally eliminated from the baby's diet. "It's been a complex case," she declared.


Genuine teamwork is the best way to sum up how the Carters and the CHIP staff have worked together to help Janay. Cathy provided the Carters with help and advice regarding the specialized diet that Janay requires. She also provided education and advice on how to manage Janay’s asthma, how to recognize wheezing and other signs of childhood asthma, and what can trigger asthma attacks. “The nurse was there regularly, checking on the baby,” said Rev. Carter, adding, “Anything that was needed she would point out to me, and she would come back later to be sure everything was okay.“


One of the family’s major issues was transportation to Janay’s many medical appointments, which CHIP often provided. In addition, either Barbara or Cathy would go by the Carters’ home after Janay’s medical appointments to follow-up. Given the particularly complex and expensive requirements of caring for Janay, the staff helped the grandparents with budgeting and dealing with the logistics of daily living. CHIP also helped the family get allergy-proof covers for Janay’s mattress and pillow and an air-conditioner to improve the indoor environment during hot weather.


As a result of this partnership, Janay’s health has improved significantly. “You can’t even hear Janay wheezing now,” said Barbara, appreciatively. “Her lungs are clear. Janay doesn’t go to the doctor every week like she used to.” Cathy concurred, “Janay has been stable for a while now. She does real well.  She’s now able to spend more time with her mom, Jamie, and her brothers and sisters.”

The partnership remains an effective one. Rev. Carter recently praised the CHIP staff. “They operate from the heart,” he said. In turn, Barbara and Cathy commend the grandparents’ dedication and hard work and how the entire family has pulled together. “The Carters were very welcoming, very open to advice and help,” said Barbara. “They’ve really been hanging in there with Janay.” Cathy added, “They are a neat family, very loving and been hanging in there with Janay.” Cathy added, “They are a neat family, very loving and supportive.”

It’s obvious that all who have been involved in this relationship have grown and benefited – most of all, two-year-old Janay.