Published: Thursday, July 11, 2019
Now that Matt and Leah Herron have moved to Omaha, Neb., after five years in Dickinson, the couple and their three children won’t need the type of medical travel assistance NDAD provided both Leah and their daughter, Blakeley, in their times of need.
The impression NDAD left on the Herrons didn’t get left behind in North Dakota.
"As far as I know,” Leah said, “not very many states have such an awesome program as NDAD that has such a smooth process of getting the help they need.”
Shortly after birth in early 2016, Blakeley had severe gastroesophageal reflux disease and related eating challenges. She had several surgeries, including a gastrostomy, to attach feeding tubes — first to her stomach, then to her small intestine.
NDAD helped Blakeley keep appointments in Sioux Falls, S.D. and Fargo during these gastrointestinal issues.
“(NDAD’s general assistance) process is so easy and simple that, honestly, it seems like it’s too good to be true. But it IS true, and it’s a huge help,”
The aid was especially timely, coming during six months when Matt was without work and the family without income.
“It was a huge relief for us,” Leah recalled. “We knew we could get her to her appointments.”
Blakeley still uses tube feeds these days, but only to assure she’s getting enough calcium, vitamins and other nutrients to gain weight.
"She’s now at the point where she’ll now eat about anything,” Leah said. “She’s actually turning out to be our best eater out of our three kids.”
The marked improvement comes as Leah’s own serious swallowing issues from a chronic immune system disease remain markedly improved for nearly two years. Back then, NDAD provided Leah with help for several long trips to and from Mayo Clinic in southern Minnesota.