All In For Miller helps families with financial burdens associated with coping with a child's illness.
It was a horribly tragic situation no family wants to encounter. A toddler gets sick after a family vacation, and a trip to the emergency room becomes the first step in a three-year medical journey full of sorrow and joy.
That's the story of Miller Grover, son of Alanda and Joe Grover, and little brother to Mary Madison and Molly. Diagnosed with a rare pediatric cancer at 17 months old, Miller died at age four. What the Grover family learned from Miller's short life is that every family deserves to feel safe and secure while they are focused on a sick child.
"Joe and I believed that Miller had a purpose here," says Alanda. "He went through a lot in a very short period of time. He could light up a room, and you just knew he was here to make a difference.
"His story is not over."
The family founded All In For Miller, a nonprofit to honor Miller's life by helping to alleviate the financial burden families face when dealing with pediatric cancer and special-needs children. For the Grover family, Miller's treatment required months of living away from their home in Evans, near Augusta, GA, for treatment and follow-up medical visits. For one stretch of treatment, Alanda and Miller lived in Atlanta full time for six months. For another, they were based in Houston, TX, for months. There were times when the family traveled to Atlanta every three months for treatment, staying for days at a time.
As Alanda describes it, it's a stressful, expensive time for a family, a time when energy and emotion should be focused on only one thing — the children.
"It can be a very lonely world to be a parent of a child with cancer or a special-needs child," says Alanda. "No one wants to talk about it. But we do. We want to do more than just talk about it, we want to help others during this time of their life."
The Grover family is committed to supporting families who are not as fortunate as they were to finance a life consumed with a child's medical care. Hotel costs. Airfare. Even mortgages. In its first year, All In For Miller raised its first round of funding by hosting a golf tournament and selling gold bows seen on mailboxes around their community in September, childhood cancer awareness month.
"Dealing with something on this level is life-changing," Alanda says. "As a Mom, it breaks my heart to hear about families who are worried about keeping their job, paying their bills, living on the road. If I'm able to help someone even in a small way, that helps me, too.
"It's giving our whole family a purpose."
Learn more at All In For Miller.
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