Meet Delena Stuart Watson, founder of Ragan's HOPE, a nonprofit that assists families enduring medical issues. Delena knows the trials and hardship of having a sick child. Her daughter, Ragan underwent more than 50 surgeries before turning 15 and is the namesake behind the charity. Delena left a successful corporate career to pursue her passion to help others. She started a ministry at Fellowship Church that focused on children and that quickly grew into her overseeing more than 1000 volunteers.
Delena still considers her greatest accomplishment her children, who are now grown. We wanted to know more about Delena and Ragan's HOPE and she was kind enough to answer a few questions:
Dawn Tongish: Please begin by telling us about Ragan's Hope.
Delena Stuart: Our Mission at Ragan's HOPE is committed to helping parents of children with catastrophic illnesses or injuries endure the initial impact and embrace the future by providing financial, emotional and spiritual support, in the name of Christ. Our Vision is to help parents and communities lift up the children with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, to not only learn to rise up and meet their challenges, but to go on to live extraordinary lives.
DT: What are your duties at Ragan's Hope?
DS: I am the founder of Ragan’s HOPE.
DT: How did you become involved with Ragan's Hope, and why are you so passionate about the work being done at the organization?
DS: Ragan is my daughter and she endured over 50 surgeries and over 100 day procedures during the first 15 years of her life. She is now 26 years old. We saw so many needs that families like ours could use and there wasn’t a foundation meeting those needs. I would encourage you to watch our video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CetdwiXh6wM
DT: It can be difficult for any nonprofit to pay the bills. How do you stay afloat?
DS: We are blessed with private and corporate donors. We also have a wonderful event in several cities called Night of Superstars. This event is to honor 20 children in the community that have excelled in the arts, community service, sports, academics, etc. Although we do not look at this event as a fundraiser (other than to raise funds for the event itself) but if there are funds left over we use 25% to go into a scholarship fund and the 75% goes into the general fund to support the families in that community. I suggest you take a look at this link to better explain our Night of Superstars events http://raganshope.org/night-of-superstars/
Greg Johnson originally founded this event and last year we pulled the event under Ragan’s HOPE which it is now a Ragan’s HOPE event.
DT: How can the people of North Texas and beyond help meet your needs for 2014? What are your biggest needs?
DS: We continue to assist families throughout the year and so volunteers are always needed. We have opportunities for those that want to be engaged with the families as well behind the scene roles.
DT: What is the most memorable moment in your experiences at Ragan's Hope?
DS: Seeing parents not only endure but learn to embrace their future…their new normal. It is wonderful to see parents getting back to work, providing for their families and then to give back to others by volunteering in some capacity.
DT: What is the first thing you do when you walk into work each day?
DS: Pray for our families and the overall foundation.
If you'd like to nominate a local resident for a BubbleLife community profile, contact Dawn Tongish at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Twitter at @DawnTongish.