Organization aims to help nurses through creativity

Thursday, January 10, 2019

A charity has been established to help nurses who are sick, struggling or face daunting challenges.

Elysia King, a Cape Girardeau nurse and artist, set up a charity aimed at helping the very people whose job it is to nurse others to health. She is using her artistic skills to design shirts that illustrate the fight that a particular nurse is going through. Proceeds of the sales will go directly to a "Nurse in Need."

The charity, called "Rad Nurse," and launched out of Cape Girardeau, recently helped a St. Louis nurse named Lesley McKeever, whose young son recently finished treatment for leukemia.

"It was a hard fight, and it's not over yet," McKeever said in a recent phone interview with reporter Marybeth Niederkorn. "I had to cut back on hours, and eventually had to leave altogether," McKeever said of the time frame around her son's diagnosis.

"It really means a lot," she continued, voice shaking with emotion. "We struggle financially. Even now, he just finished chemo on Dec. 11, and I'm still not able to work right now because his immune system is not up to par. He gets sick."

So, McKeever said, she and her family still need support, and not just monetary.

"(King) is also doing some things to help us emotionally -- a postcard initiative where people can send me a message, things like that," McKeever said.

"I feel honored to be her first participant because I really think this is an important mission, and I'm excited to help her get it established, up and going," McKeever said.

To support the charity, King said, the Rad Nurse apparel line is officially launched. People can buy shirts and hoodies, adding that the goal is to pair each nurse's story with a specialized design. King will design the pieces herself.

"We're in the 'every little bit helps' phase still, but it would be amazing to find additional sponsors for Lesley and our future nurses," King said.

The goal is to partner with three businesses to sponsor a Nurse in Need every three months.

Several Cape Girardeau residents are involved in the charity, including Whitney Vandeven and Elysia and David King.

"Ultimately, I want people to understand that this is not another GoFundMe campaign: this is about partnering with nurses on an individual basis: meeting them where they are and sharing their story in a unique way while connecting them with a community of support," King said.

By Dec. 28, $1,000 had been raised for McKeever, according to the organization's Facebook page.

If you're interested in donating or buying the shirts to help a nurse, go to www.radnurse.net. This is yet another example of how creative people in Southeast Missouri are giving of their time and talents to help others. We wish Rad Nurse the best in their attempts to help nurses in need.

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