On Saturday, July 23, a Tori’s Angels benefit event was held for 3-year-old Logan Erickson, who was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot with a Complete AV Canal Defect, a congenital heart defect. Taking place at the Grimes Community Center on Main Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the event included children’s sports physicals, a silent auction, as well as a free lunch.
A non-profit corporation, Tori’s Angels helps provide financial assistance to children with life-threatening medical conditions. The foundation helps raise funds for families enduring stacking medical bills, and additional assistance from Tori’s Angels can range from travel expenses to treatments, insurance co-pays and deductibles, and other medical expenses.
According to a press release from Tori’s Angels, Foundation President announced at Logan’s event that “the fundraiser is the highest dollars-per-person that we’ve ever done.”
The Erickson family first heard about the foundation through friends, all of whom later redirected her to the foundation’s chairman, Bill Ridgley. Logan’s mother, Sarah, gave Ridgley a call to talk about Logan’s story and they later were accepted.
“We started talking about it and we got an application rolling and once we were accepted, it was amazing to have something that sounds too good to be true, be real,” Sarah Erickson said. “It was absolutely amazing.”
The family moved to Dallas Center when Sarah was pregnant with Logan, and is currently the mother of two other children, ages 6 and 9. To date, Logan has had five open heart surgeries and multiple other procedures, according to Sarah. The family often travels to Iowa City and the University of Michigan for Logan’s procedures.
With both the financial assistance and help from child organization, Tori’s Angels Foundation, Erickson has been able to receive surgeries, have his family present despite lengthy distances, and develop relationships with volunteers from all over Iowa.
Ultimately, they provide the family with a peace of mind, Sarah says.
“They took Logan on while we were in Michigan and they’ve carried us through,” Erickson said.
Tori’s Angels currently supports 23 children and has sponsored a total of 29 since its start in 2010. The foundation was named “Tori’s Angels” after Tori Heckman, a child from Guthrie Center, needed a heart surgery in Boston.
“They did a fundraiser in our local community in Panora and not only did they send her there for three weeks, but they had enough to start the foundation,” said Jackie Wicks, Grandmother of Tori Heckman and Tori’s Angels volunteer. “It’s run by volunteers and staffed by volunteers.”
The foundation helps children ages birth to 19 years old from Iowa and must have a life threatening medical condition. Volunteers for the organization reaches to the hundreds, Ridgley explained.
“A lot of the kids parents start to get involved, a lot of grandparents are highly involved,” Ridgley said.
The first step to become involved in the foundation is to call Ridgley, he explains.
“They [parents] have to call me and talk to me on the phone so I can explain exactly what we do and don’t do,” Ridgley said. “We just pay for things related to the child’s medical care and expenses.”
The foundation pays the service providers directly as a way to make it easier for the family.
In the past, Tori’s Angels has helped family members fly back and forth from California to Iowa for a month straight while Hazel Roy, a child born with Tetralogy of Fallot, endured heart surgery.
“The why is simple if you look at their faces,” Ridgley said.
Donations for Tori’s Angels can be mailed any time to the foundation’s chairman, Bill Ridgley, at 4677 Panorama Dr, Panora IA 50216. To learn more about the program or request an application, Ridgley can be contacted at at firstname.lastname@example.org or 712-249-6423.