About Disability Funding Specialist
Tamara’s journey to becoming a fund raising expert began when her brother, Hal, and his wife gave birth to triplets at only 27 weeks. All three babies were less than two pounds. The neonatologist told them it would be a miracle if all three survived. On the second day, their little son Jacob had a massive brain bleed which changed their lives from then on as he was eventually diagnosed with cerebral palsy. At ten years old, his parents wanted Jacob to receive a new and promising treatment, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBOT (which is no longer new and has solidly proven its effectiveness). At first everything was expected to go through for Jacob to receive the therapy, but then their insurance company refused to cover it. With that notification, Tamara declared that she would raise the money herself. Not knowing anything about fundraising, she sat down at the computer and began doing research. Hal was uncomfortable with asking for help, but Tamara insisted it wouldn’t be hard and went on to prove it. She raised over $12,000, providing Jacob with three rounds of treatment.
Tamara and her family are owners of The Bike Rack in St. Charles IL. It began as a small shop, around 900 square feet, and grew into a large and successful store of over 10,000 square feet over the course of 40 years. With his passion for biking, Hal discovered a bicycle Jacob could ride with the family despite his disability. Out of this technology, a new division of the business was launched called “Creative Mobility” which specializes in bikes designed to maximize the abilities of the disabled and give them freedom to ride. In this division of The Bike Rack, all bikes are customized and ordered to fit the capabilities of the rider. Hal often does fittings and modifications meeting the needs of a wide variety of clients, from children to disabled veterans. Where the average two wheeled bike may cost around $300; the adaptive bikes average $3000. That is the challenge and reason families of the disabled need funding support; the expenses they face usually have an extra zero added to the number.
With multiple successes in raising funds for Jacob, Tamara decided that she would guide and coach the parents who came into their store needing adaptive bikes for their children that they couldn’t afford. She put together a fundraising packet which gave them step by step instructions as well as the most current collection of funding sources. With this resource, Tamara assisted hundreds of families. “I vividly remember receiving a thank you letter from one of the parents telling me how with the help of my packet she was able to raise $9,000 for her child.” Tamara recalls.
“I’ve been writing The Funding Guide for Children with Disabilities for many years and have received great enthusiasm along the way,” Tamara shares. “This has allowed me to develop partnerships with many hospitals, organizations and nonprofits interested in sharing my guide with the families they serve.”