The power of giving is the most gracious and selfless acts that one can perform. We often feel that participating in charitable causes must come with extended time, donated monies and long winded fundraising but that’s not true. In each of us, lies a philanthropist and this comes with the daily gift of caring. Whether it’s donating coats to your community church or raking the leaves from your elderly neighbor’s front yard—it is the thought that manifest the act.
Carrie and Terry Meghie learned another level of giving when they were caring for their ill son, Jackson Chance at Lurie Children’s Hospital over three years ago. Jackson spent most of his young life in the Intensive Natal Unit where his room was transformed into a nursery to create an environment of home and comfort. His parents never left his side and at 10 months old, he died. Their cherished son was no longer with them.
Carrie recalls the days she and her husband spent with Jackson. “He was very sick but he was such a happy baby. We had so much joy with him while he was in the hospital. Because we were with him everyday, we turned his hospital room into a nursery. We were so blessed to be there with him everyday,” she said. “While we were there, we realized how many babies were there alone without their families. They didn’t have the support that Jackson was able to have. It quickly became clear that the cost of parking and transportation was a real obstacle for parents and families. We wanted other families to experience that same kind of joy while they are in such a scary situation so we eliminated that burden for them.”
So, without hesitation, the Meghies established the Jackson Chance Foundation. The foundation created the NICU Transportation Program to partner with hospitals and alleviate the transportation expenses of all families each and every day their child was in the NICU. Prior to the NICU Transportation Program, monthly or daily parking passes did not exist, and families did not have access to in and out parking privileges.
Most of the families have babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and establishing the Jackson Chance Foundation allows them to spend more time with their critically ill baby.
After Jackson’s death, the foundation was established in 2013 and in order to raise funds to support the program, they decided to host the 1st Annual “Playing it Forward” Ping Pong Ball Tournament at the Hard Rock Hotel. Each year, the fundraiser has become a fun and successful ‘Who’s Who’ of Chicago celebrities and tastemakers coming together to play a competitive game of ping pong with professionals.
As a father, Terry put himself in the shoes of other parents going through such a hard and challenging time. “In large part, we recently expanded which opened up our reach. In the beginning, it was me and Carrie, our friends, family and business colleagues to help spear- head this mission. With the help of social media and various media opportunities and community outreach. This foundation is dear and near to us and it’s a small sacrifice in bettering the lives of critically ill children.”
Carrie also oversees the operations of Becker Ventures, a multi-million dollar real estate investment company. She is most proud of running the Jackson Chance Foundation and the pouring of support from every part of the country. “The response has been overwhelming. We will hit the $1 million mark after this fundraiser. Our goal was to raise $20,000 the first year,” she said, “Once word got out, the donations and support started pouring in. The emails and calls we received from families who are so thankful and articulate the impact the program has had on them, just make me feel proud to be Jackson’s mom. He inspired this.”
This year will be the 3rd Annual, Playing It Forward, Ping Pong Ball Fundraiser, taking place on Thursday, October 29th at the Hard Rock Hotel and it features a virtual auction with amazing items and Art Smith among the celebrity chefs. People are welcome to visit the foundation’s website to sign up for the auction, purchase tickets or make a monetary donation if they are unable to attend.
With the Jackson Chance Foundation growing and finding ways to assist other urban area hospitals who have parking challenges, it’s never a challenge for Carrie and Terry Meghie to give when Jackson enters their mind. Never taking for granted the gift of life, the couple has a second son. Carrie reflects on her blessings. “In my mind, I view the foundation as a way of taking care of Jackson’s legacy, like I would have taken care of him if he was still with us today.”
For more information on the 3rd Annual “Playing It Forward” Ping Pong Ball Tournament Fundraiser: www.JacksonChance.org