Bingo night Friday to help parents of children with rare birth defect

A Danville mom is using her experience -- a daughter born with a rare birth defect -- to raise awareness and money to help out others with the same trouble.

Elizabeth Nelson's daughter was born with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH), which occurs in one of 2,500 births; only 50 percent survive. To help out other families with CDH babies, Nelson is holding a charity Bingo Night this Friday, Oct. 1 at the Alamo Women's Club, 1401 Danville Blvd.

After a tough start, with stretches in the hospital, Nayeli Faith Nelson, is now doing well.

"She'll be two next month -- she's a miracle baby," Elizabeth Nelson said.

But during those first days, trying to stay near Nayeli at U.C. San Francisco, the Nelsons learned first-hand about the problems that families face when dealing with CDH babies.

"While we were there we became aware of the financial burdens," Elizabeth Nelson said. She explained that her family was turned down by Ronald McDonald House because they live a mile too close to the hospital to qualify for a stay. Luckily, she and her husband Shane found friends who let them stay at their apartment during those first critical days.

"We started thinking about all the children, how they have to go in an out of the hospital. That's where we came up with this idea," Nelson said. "We were talking to other fundraisers, (and) bingo seemed to be fun and a family event."

So, Friday is a night of bingo, with prizes donated by local merchants.

For $25, players get four games of Bingo, along with food, water, soda and a raffle ticket. Extreme Pizza of Alamo, Drake's Brewery of San Leandro and Starbucks donated the food and beverages. Doors open at 6 p.m., and Nelson said about 100 people have promised to come, but added there's room for 150 people at the Woman's Club, and that more are welcome.

The Nayeli Faith Foundation became an official non-profit last May. In addition to bingo, Shane Nelson has held two charity hockey games that have raised more than $3,000.

Although she described Nayeli as a miracle baby, Nelson recently learned she's expecting again -- this time with twins. She's due in March, and while she said she's a little worried, she's also been told the likelihood of another CDH baby is slim.


Posted by Derek, a resident of Danville
on Sep 30, 2010 at 12:03 pm

We had to stay just a week, renting a three bedroom unit down Parnassus from UCSF, and while it seemed reasonable at the time (especially by compare to some of the obscene hotel prices in SF and other large cities), staying for months would have made a serious dent in our bank account.
Our daughter had surgery at UCSF and is doing fine, but I have to wonder- if you two Danville residents had trouble, imagine being an actual poor person. Someone who could never dream of living near here. My hope is that your non-profit will look toward helping actual low income parents, not residents of wealthy areas like Danville. I'm sorry if I seem snide and I do wish your daughter well. People need to understand that long term survival figures are typically calculated by stats from all 50 states. UCSF has doctors who are much above the curve in congenital defect repair, be it heart or other body parts, and I am quite sure their success rate is well above 50% for the children they treat. So every parent would like to improve their child's odds, no matter where they live, by getting to the best surgeons.

Posted by Colleen, a resident of Danville
on Sep 30, 2010 at 5:51 pm

What a great idea! My oldest son(now 3) had two surgeries at UCSF and we were so happy to be in such capable hands with some of the best surgeons and students around. I wish you luck at your event.

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