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Saving Stella: The importance of the WHAS Crusade for Children

One Crusade family, who also happens to be a part of the WHAS-TV family, learned the hard way how important the Crusade is.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Chances are, you know someone who's benefited from the WHAS Crusade for Children. In its 66-year history, it has raised more than $190 million for children with special needs.

One Crusade family, who also happens to be a part of the WHAS-TV family, learned the hard way how important the Crusade is. Stella Ibrahim was born six weeks early, when doctors realized something wasn't right with her heart. The day was Nov. 20, 2019.

"Basically, her aorta was pinched, like a kink in a hose, preventing blood flow," Stella's father, Foad Ibrahim said.

"There was a transport team from Norton Children's waiting in the wings waiting to whisk her off and it's in that moment you're like, oh my gosh, this is really happening," Stella's mom, Allison Ibrahim said. "It was a week before we could even hold her."

For the next six weeks, Norton Children's became a home away from home for the Ibrahims.

Credit: The Ibrahim Family
The Ibrahim Family

"We had some really scary days in the NICU," Allison said. "You've never seen so many lines and tubes in a baby, or at least, that's what we thought until she got out of surgery."

Stella spent five weeks in Norton's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, one of the many areas of the hospital that's benefited from the WHAS Crusade for Children, receiving $600,000 in grant money just last year. Some of it went directly into the medical and surgical units that kept Baby Stella's heart pumping.

"How can we feel about having this level of care here? It's no exaggeration, they saved her life," Foad said.

For years, Allison's worked in sales for WHAS11, just steps from the Crusade office.

Credit: The Ibrahim Family
Baby Stella and mom Allison

"I've been lucky to volunteer with Crusade," she said. "It's something really big at the station and we all get very excited for. I knew it from that end of things. Being on the side as a parent in these facilities, really emphasized and brought home the importance of what Crusade does."

Today, Stella's happy and healthy.

"Knowing how close we came to not having her, we really cherish every second we have with her," Stella's dad said.

Credit: The Ibrahim Family
Baby Stella

Her parents promise to bring her back as a future Crusade volunteer, giving back to the community that's given so much.

Learn more about the WHAS Crusade for Children Below:

The 67th annual WHAS Crusade for Children is Aug. 8 and 9.

One-hundred percent of your donation helps special needs children.

The WHAS Crusade for Children has raised $190 million dollars since 1954.

The Crusade for Children has helped children in ALL 120 Kentucky counties and 50 southern Indiana counties.

An independent volunteer board of clergy decides what agencies receive grants; no one from this TV or radio station has any say in that.

Due to the increasing need, the Crusade is able to fund just one-third of its annual grant requests.

A gift of $50 provides a week of speech therapy for a child.

A gift of $100 provides vision screenings for five special needs children.

A gift of $200 provides voice recognition software for a child who can’t use a keyboard.

How can I donate?

Go to WHASCrusade.org and click on DONATE.

NEW THIS YEAR: Text CRUSADE to 50155.

You can also use PayPal, Venmo and CashApp.

Click the donate button on the Crusade’s Facebook page.

And tell Alexa, “Hey Alex make a donation to the WHAS Crusade for Children.”

Scan the QR Code on your TV screen to donate directly from your phone.

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