A new drop-off daycare facility will provide free childcare options to parents receiving treatment at Parkland Hospital.
Named Annie's Place, the facility is a dream realized for the charity behind the space, Mommies In Need.
"Here we are going to be able to impact thousands of children each year," said CEO of Mommies In Need Natalie Boyle.
Surveys by Parkland Hospital showed lack of childcare was the number one reason women missed critical appointments, according to Boyle. The hope is Annie's Place will keep parents from having to choose between their health and childcare.
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"The first thing you think of when you get a diagnosis is your children and just to be able to lift that worry off is a huge stress reliever for these families," Boyle said.
The opening of Annie's Place is just the next step for the non-profit Mommies In Need.
Boyle started the charity after she was diagnosed with cancer while trying to raise twin toddlers -- and then learned another friend, Annie Nace, was diagnosed with colon cancer and had few resources for childcare.
She raised funds to find a nanny for her friend and the idea evolved into a charity providing free in-home care for parents facing a health crisis. Nace lost her battle to cancer but her legacy lives on in each family served.
Mommies In Need has provided more than 25,000 hours of free childcare.
"I think it took someone who personally went through it to see that need and to understand it," Boyle said.
Named in honor of the first mother the charity helped, Annie's Place, will expand Boyle's mission to serve even more families in a permanent facility on the Parkland campus.
Boyle said the environment will be a fun and safe place for kids to play, while staffed by teachers who have experience in trauma-informed care and can address the needs of each child as their family faces a health crisis.
"Here we are going to be able to impact thousands of children each year," Boyle said.
For more information on Annie's Place and for referrals, visit: https://www.mommiesinneed.org/anniesplace
For more information on Mommies In Need, including their free virtual childcare programs or to donate, visit: https://www.mommiesinneed.org/