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Variety's Durable Medical Equipment Program

Funder: Craig H Neilsen Foundation

Funding period
USD 25 K
Funding amount
Durable medical equipment, ranging from several hundred to tens of thousands of dollars per piece, is necessary for children with disabilities, including those with spinal cord injury, to fully participate in life and do the everyday things most of us take for granted, yet many insurance policies cap expenditures for medical equipment at $2,500 annually, if covered at all. A typical family often finds it impossible to provide the doctor visits, equipment, therapy, and other items their child needs. Through the support of our donors, Variety is able to close the gap and pay the balance, even if it is the entire cost of the equipment. To many children, Variety helps them realize a more fulfilling life, create closer connections to their families, participate in experiences they never thought possible, make friends, and even inspire future life and career goals.

Variety's Durable Medical Equipment Program is of an ongoing nature with requests for equipment received daily and services provided on an as-needed basis, much as an emergency room operates. Equipment is approved and issued as funds are raised to meet the full need. We never know the extent of the needs that may come our way, but we strive to meet every request for help for each family who comes to us. Variety focuses its efforts on children from families with low-to-moderate incomes who live in St. Louis and thirty surrounding counties in Missouri and Illinois. Through this program, Variety provides children with the tools they need to be mobile, to communicate, and therefore to become as independent and participatory as possible, which leads to increased self-esteem and greater socialization. Expected outcomes of the program this year are to provide durable medical equipment for 5-10 children diagnosed with spinal cord injury, with a minimum of 80% of those served to show improvement in at least two of our core competencies: increased independence, improved skills, enhanced self-esteem, and a boost in socialization.

Variety is committed to enhancing the quality of life for children with disabilities, including those affected by spinal cord injury. Applying under the category of Independent Living, Variety’s Durable Medical Equipment Program aligns closely with the Neilsen Foundation’s goal to empower individuals with spinal cord injury to live independently with greater emotional and physical well-being. By providing physician-prescribed medical equipment that can help children affected by spinal cord injury function to the best of their abilities on a day-to-day basis, Variety helps open up new opportunities to them. We strive to foster independence in children with spinal cord injury which increases their self-esteem and allows them to become more participatory in their community and live life to their fullest potential. (CHN: COandI chn:wdg)
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    1117 Public Health and Health Services

  • RCDC

    Injury (total) Accidents/Adverse Effects

  • RCDC

    Spinal Cord Injury

  • RCDC


  • Health Research Areas

    Health services & systems

  • Broad Research Areas

    Public Health