Compassionate Care Program Puts Families of Patients in the Driver's Seat

Carolyn and GunnerTwo year old Gunner Munoz has thick jet black hair, big brown eyes, a milky complexion and is one tough kid. He's been through three brain surgeries, diagnosed with epilepsy and while now seizure-free since last March, he previously experienced up to 300 seizures a day. Today he's on steroids, weighs 63 pounds and his current car seat pinches him. Gunner needs a new one.

His mother, Julie Read, received the now snug car seat at one of last year's Car Seat Safety Program Clinics now known as El Paso Health Car Seat Safety Program. The program is under the umbrella of the Foundation's Volunteer Corps'. The monthly clinics distribute free car seats, evaluate children for safe travel, instruct families regarding child passenger safety education and destroy car seats deemed no longer safe. 

Gunner's second car seat, though, was provided by the Foundation's Compassionate Care Program, also headed by Volunteer Corps'. Compassionate Care responds to the needs of patients and their families in crisis.

"Whenever we are able to connect a family with the equipment or resources they need, it's an incredible feeling," said Carolyn Williams, Volunteer Corps' Program Manager. "The Compassionate Care Program is made possible by monetary and in-kind donations from the community. We were happy to fund Gunner's new car seat!"

Gunner's mother is overjoyed with the new car seat. "The safety of our children is everything," she said. "It is hard, especially when you don't have the money to buy a car seat and you are told you must have one. We couldn't even get a wheelchair. We didn't take Gunner out much," she adds, "since we had a fear of driving with him. Now to have this new car seat means everything. The quality of life has risen for Gunner and the whole family!"

Devin, Gunner's older sister who most times had to stay with Gunner at home when the family had to run errands, also agrees. "I feel happy because now we can take him with us. I just want him to be happy."

For more information on the El Paso Health Car Seat Safety Program Clinics and Compassionate Care, please contact Carolyn Williams, 915-521-7229, ext. 80528,