WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Recovering from the visible and invisible wounds of war can place a massive burden on veterans and their families. A North Carolina political icon continues to use her influence to try to lighten the load.
A car crash in Italy left Karee White’s daughter Kimmy – an Army Captain at the time -- with traumatic brain injury. "We have her home," Karee said, "that’s the good part of it."
But, White knows a big piece of the daughter she remembers will never return. Nearly five years after the crash, she said it’s still a struggle to provide constant care for her daughter who is immobile and requires a feeding tube. "The toughest part was how it changed our family so abruptly," White said.
But with each day, White said her big military family grows closer together. "We would give up that accident, for sure," she said, "but we wouldn’t give up how it’s changed us."
Former Sen. Elizabeth Dole is on a mission to improve support for those -- like the White family -- dealing with the physical, psychological, and financial challenges of full-time care-giving. "So many of them feel alone, they don’t realize there are others out there experiencing the same thing," said Dole.
When Dole heard White's story the former senator hugged the North Carolina mother and thanked her for coming.
Dole and her foundation worked to build a support network for those they call 'Hidden Heroes'. And, at the latest conference in Washington, they unveiled a new way of helping caregivers find balance and stability in their lives. "This map I think is going to be a tremendous asset," Dole said.
The map lays out milestones and markers that families can expect to experience throughout the care-giving process – highlighting crucial points from becoming aware of the injury to finding a rhythm.
And, the hope is that it will also serve as a guide for lawmakers, companies, and anyone else hoping to help these hidden heroes.
In Wash, I’m KM
If you’re interested in learning more about the map or the hidden heroes campaign follow the links in the side tab.