Y Helps Mother Care for Her Son so She Can Get Life-Saving Dialysis / by Zina Daniel



For him to be able to go to the YMCA, have fun and be a kid — it meant a lot to me.
— Keonia

For many parents, the beginning of the school year is welcomed. Children are stimulated and educated during the day, and parents don’t have to worry about childcare. But for parents like Keonia, when the school year ends, daycare challenges begin.

Keonia is a single mom to her son, Marion, and she has a visual impairment in one eye and is blind in the other. She also suffers from pancreatic and kidney failure, for which she gets three dialysis treatments weekly. The treatments, which can last up to four hours a session, help remove excess water and toxins from her blood, which normally would be done by the kidneys when they function properly.

No Local Support

Keonia’s sight impairment prevents her from driving, and she has no local support network that can help take care of Marion during her dialysis treatments. That means she had to take him with her to her treatments once school was out. However, she encountered another obstacle: The director at the dialysis center told her that she could no longer get treatment if she continued to bring Marion. 

With no place for him to go and no one to look after Marion, Keonia had to stop attending her treatment sessions altogether.

“I was just dealing with it the best way I can,” she said. She was in desperate need of some support.

Y’s Summer Camp for Marion

Luckily, she sought out a local agency, which connected her to the YMCA. After hearing Keonia’s story, Brian Shelley, senior program director of day camps at the Indy Y, offered to help. He gave Marion a full scholarship to attend summer camp, ensuring he had a fun and safe place to be while Keonia received her weekly treatments.

“It was a big stress reliever, for me to know he's okay,” said Keonia. “He cares for me a lot, and he worries for me a lot. For him to be able to go to the YMCA, have fun and be a kid — it meant a lot to me.”

When Marion started summer camp at the Y, staff counselors immediately noticed how energetic and positive he was. He participated in YMCA’s summer activities, like arts and crafts, STEM programs, and sports. “They made me feel special,” Marion said.

Success stories like Keonia and Marion’s happen every day at the YMCA, thanks to generous donors like you. Thank you for your continued support of your community and click here to support the Youth Development Center at the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis.