Here’s the story of The Roo Crew, shared by our Founder and Executive Director, Lindzey Neely:
“Our daughter Ruthi is a twin, and like many sets of twins, Ruthi and her brother arrived early. We knew to prepare for an extended stay in the NICU, but what we couldn’t have known is that only hours after delivery, the NICU attending physician would visit our room to share his discovery that Ruthi had something called VACTERL Association—which we had never even heard of. He explained that Ruthi, only three pounds at birth, would face myriad obstacles, including vertebral and cardiac defects, the absence of a kidney, and feeding and growth hurdles.
Parenting is always a journey, and in that moment, we could feel our journey shifting. Four years and countless doctor visits, specialist consultations, hospital stays, and imaging appointments later, the journey has definitely been a long and winding road. We’ve seen Ruthi eat nothing, then grow chubby on a G-tube, and ultimately battle through a difficult and stressful weaning process to become a completely independent eater. We’ve been inspired by Ruthi’s resilience and toughness through seven torso casts, with more casting and surgery to come. And along the way, we’ve also been inspired and blessed by numerous doctors and friends who have helped us navigate what will surely continue to be a long road.
We call our daughter “Ruthi Roo”. The Roo Crew is named in her honor because she is definitely our hero, but we are driven by the reality that in our community there are many other families of little “roos” who face tremendous medical and educational obstacles and could greatly benefit from additional assistance and support. The Roo Crew was founded to help these families navigate their own difficult roads and help them leap the obstacles they and their children are facing.