The KISS Initiative
Established in May 2015, the KISS Initiative helps pediatric stroke survivors via a restricted fund within the Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation by providing financial assistance for therapies critical to rehabilitation after stroke. “In our first two months, we raised more than $12,000 through T-shirt sales and straight donations from supporters,” says Davis.
About The Kiss Initiative:
Though strokes are one of the top ten causes of death in children (affecting teens, children, infants and even babies in the womb) resources are scarce due to lack of awareness, creating financial hardships for families whose children require physical, occupational and speech therapies. “Because these survivors require so many different services, they often run out of insurance coverage, and if they are over the age of three, they are no longer covered by the State of Florida’s early intervention program,” says Davis. “Thus, children are often forced to forgo crucial therapies due to finances.” The KISS Initiative (it stands for Kid and Infant Stroke Support) raises funds to help provide these necessary therapies and maximize the chances of a successful recovery. “Though so much needs to be done in the world of pediatric stroke, this is one area where we can make the biggest change in the shortest amount of time,” says Davis.
The organization’s current goal focuses on enabling stroke survivors to go through a Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) program at a free or reduced cost. The three week intensive program caters to children affected by paralysis or weakness on side of the body, and focuses on casting the functional arm to help patients rebuild strength on the weaker side. “Because the program has proven to be so effective, it is an incredible disservice to turn affected children away from this intensive due to finances, knowing that their motor skills will improve dramatically,” says Davis. But aside from fundraising, Davis and the rest of the KISS team hope for a much simpler result: awareness. “No parent should learn for the first time, when it is his or her newborn in the intensive care unit, that a child can suffer from a stroke, just like an adult” says Davis. “The more awareness we raise, the more successful advocates will be in facilitating the implementation of pediatric stroke guidelines at hospitals across the country. Rapid response guidelines are imperative to ensure that children displaying stroke symptoms upon arrival at an ER are diagnosed quickly and accurately.”