HAMLET — For nine years, Paula Thomas has been trying to help families with special needs children.
She knows about the daily struggles firsthand.
Her daughter, Jada, who was born 23 weeks early, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and is prone to seizures, which land her in the hospital quite often. Thomas spent seven months at the Ronald McDonald House in Durham when her daughter was born.
One year, after Jada had been in intensive care for a week, Thomas says she was divinely inspired to help others going through the same thing.
“We were talking and praying and it was like the Lord spoke to me and told me to have a fundraiser,” she told the Daily Journal in 2014.
That’s when she began Jada’s Helping Hands Helping Others, a group that raises money to donate to the Ronald McDonald House and the Lennox Baker Children’s Hospital.
Thomas previously told the Daily Journal that she chose the Durham location because “that’s the one that helped us out,” and considers it a “godsend.”
This past year, Thomas said they fed families staying at the Ronald McDonald House and provided Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for several Richmond County families with special needs children, as well as giving gifts from a “wish list.”
In 2015, Jada underwent an “unexpected surgery” to repair a ventriculoperitoneal shunt, a device used to relieve pressure from the brain caused by fluid accumulation. However, she has had no major surgeries in the past year.
“God is good,” Thomas said.
The group will hold its annual fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, selling hot dogs, baked goods and beverages. Organizers will also be giving out door prizes.