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Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation Helped Replace Baby Items Lost in Flood

September 29, 2022 Posted in: Stories of Giving  2 minute read time

Chelsey Dunn remembers the day she pulled up to her home in Jackson, Ky., and seeing her home being flooded with water. 

“I jumped out of the car and started running through the water,” she said. It was later than normal because she was helping clients for Kentucky River Community Care, where she works, find shelter. When her husband Dexter arrived at their home, his primary concern was getting her away from the river water.

She was eight months pregnant at the time. Her home was badly damaged. They lost nearly everything they had bought for the baby except for the crib, which Dexter put on barstools so it wouldn’t be damaged before he went to help rescue elderly neighbors using kayaks to navigate the flood waters in the small town.

“At least we got all of our neighbors out and they were all safe,” Chelsey recalled.

It was only a few weeks later on August 18 that Chelsey gave birth to the baby boy, who they named River Slade in recognition of the turmoil they had been through, at Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph East. While “he made everything better when he got here,” Chelsey said, the couple knew they’d be without the things new parents need.

Dunn Family

At least they thought they would be.

Before mom and baby were discharged, nurses came in to ask them what they needed for the new baby. A little while later, they came back with items a new baby needs, including diapers, bottles, a baby bath and stroller, purchased through the Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation’s patient assistance fund. 

“It is through the generosity of donors the Foundation is able to provide much-needed support to our patients during their time of need. The flooding has impacted not only our patients, but also our employees. We wanted to help provide comfort for their new bundle of joy,” said Leslie Smart, CFRE, president, CHI Saint Joseph Health Foundations.

“They were just amazing to us,” Chelsey said.

It wasn’t just the donated items, she said, their exceptional care came before she even came to the hospital.

Shortly after Chelsey discovered her home had been flooded, she called her OBGYN, Dr. Amy Baker with CHI Saint Joseph Health - Obstetrics and Gynecology in Lexington. Both of her daughters were born at Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph East, and she was determined to have her new baby at the same place.

“From the start, after the floods, Dr. Baker had someone in contact with me to make sure I was doing OK,” Chelsey said. “She kept checking to see if I needed anything.”

Now home with the baby and his siblings – sisters Lillian, 13, and Braylee, 8 – the Dunns are working to get their lives back to normal, as are many whose lives have been in upheaval since the flooding.

Dexter, a Marine Corps veteran who works as an accountant with Tempur Sealy International in Lexington, is working every day to rebuild their home, a slow go because of the demand for supplies in an area with so much need. Chelsey’s parents’ home was also flooded and the couple has helped to clean up that house as well. 

“Everyone is just desperate to stay in their homes,” Chelsey said. 

The Dunns, like many of their neighbors, have received help from Aspire Appalachia, a nonprofit organization that helps people and animals in eastern Kentucky.

That assistance is helping them to work toward some normalcy – getting their home back, getting the kids back in school, going back to work.

“We really appreciate everything everyone has done for us,” Chelsey said. “It’s giving me hope that we can rebuild.”

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