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Tyler Foundation recognized by Boston Children’s Hospital

Athol Daily News
February 6, 2012

ATHOL — The Tyler Foundation recently received recognition and thanks from Children’s Hospital, Boston for its continued support of families being served by the hospital’s Childhood Epilepsy Center.

Heather and Erik Plotkin, formerly of Athol, established the Foundation after recognizing the difficult financial constraints faced by many families with children being treated for epilepsy when their own son Tyler was diagnosed and treated for it several years ago.

In a letter to the Foundation, Blaise Bourgeois, MD, director of the hospital’s Division of Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology, stated, in part, “The need most common among all our families remains transportation expenses. We’ve used the Tyler Foundation extraordinary needs fund to purchase parking vouchers and gas cards for numerous families. We’ve also provided vouchers for cafeteria room service for parents who can’t leave their kids’ bedside.”

Bourgeois added, “The fund additionally helps defray costs for services and equipment not covered by a family’s insurance. We used the fund to pay for a month’s worth of acupuncture treatments to help a 17-year-old with seizures and for electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) sessions for another teen with epilepsy. Neither therapy is covered by insurance. The Tyler Foundation has given our patients and their families more of a voice in their treatments. In short: ‘We decide, not the insurance companies.’”

Bourgeois also stated, “It’s not just the Tyler Foundation endowment fund for which we’re immensely grateful; it’s also the exuberant, aboveand- beyond generosity we’ve received throughout the year from Heather and Erik Plotkin and their family. The familiar faces of the Plotkins accompanying ‘care packages’ (blankets, toiletries, laundry detergent) on Mother’s Day and the December holidays symbolizes optimism and vitality, strength in the face of adversity, and deep empathy for those families going through particularly bad stretches.”

Bourgeois noted, “One of our patients had a hemispherectomy for his seizures, but after two months they were getting worse and he needed more surgery. He and his mother were traveling back and forth from Connecticut, and she was at wit’s end trying to cope — her electricity was going to be shut off, she was behind on her car insurance payments and ran the risk of driving illegally. Thankfully, the Plotkins extended their philanthropy to pay her electric bill and car insurance.

“This wonderful generosity additional helped the mother of three-month-old girl who’d also had a hemispherectomy and was experiencing severe seizures. This mother had given up her job; was two months behind on rent. The Plotkins came through for her by providing the funds to make her current on rent.

“A third single mother — only 19 — living independently in upstate New York was struggling to care for a daughter with Vacterl syndrome, enduring shunts and escalating seizures. The Plotkins provided the funding for this young mother’s past-due electric bill and car payments.

“This kind of direct, personal philanthropy is rare, and the Childhood Epilepsy Center is fortunate to have the Plotkins and the Tyler Foundation as our friends and allies. We appreciate how, during the recent holiday season, [they’ve] helped us make the complex and often difficult lives of our patient families a little lighter by giving them the gift cards for local restaurants. These seemingly small gifts can make a big difference — the gesture that might keep frustrated parents and caregivers from discontinuing treatment at Children’s for logistical reasons.”

More information on the Foundation can be found online at