Still just a baby, Joseph has already faced more challenges than most people do in a lifetime. His mother, Alexis, escaped an abusive relationship during her pregnancy with little more than the clothes on her back. Although Alexis was able to move in with a family member and find a full-time job, she still struggles financially. She now receives free diapers and other baby essentials from Baby Basics, a program of Children’s Aid and Family Services.
Joseph was born five weeks prematurely after Alexis went through an extremely difficult pregnancy. The baby spent one month in the NICU at the hospital and was diagnosed with Bartter Syndrome, a rare disease that affects kidney function.
“Joseph was taking six different prescriptions when he came home and needed to see a kidney specialist several times a month,” Alexis said. “And whenever he ran a fever, I had to take him to the emergency room right away.”
As a result of his condition, Joseph needs frequent diaper changes, which causes even more strain on Alexis’s limited finances.
“Even though I work full time, I was spending almost all of my money on diapers,” Alexis said. “The Baby Basics program has been a big help. I can save some money now and I’m very grateful.”
Alexis works hard to ensure her baby has a good childhood, and she lights up when she talks about him. “He loves playing with animals and toy cars. Despite everything he’s gone through, Joseph is the happiest baby. When he smiles, everyone feels better,” she said.
Children’s Aid and Family Services is able to provide free diapers and other baby essentials to low-income families in northern New Jersey because of the generosity of the Greater Newark Holiday Fund.
To make a donation, visit holidayfund.org.