PHOENIX, Aug. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Desert Financial CEO Jeff Meshey is in the business of creating exceptional financial experiences for the credit union's members. Recently, he got to share exceptionally good news. Desert Financial is making a $10,000 donation on behalf of the organization's Random Acts of Kindness program to help a young family fund lifesaving care for their daughter.
Recently, Dave and Kendra Riley of Ahwatukee learned two of their three children—2-year-old Olivia and 5-month-old Keira—each have a rare and aggressive genetic brain disease that impacts the nervous system: Metachromatic Leukodystrophy, or "MLD."
Olivia's case has progressed, and her chances at a long future are fewer. Her motor skills have quickly been regressing, and she receives treatments in a clinical trial each week in Iowa, but she will never fully recover.
Because Keira is so young and has not experienced symptoms yet, she's eligible for cutting-edge, potentially lifesaving gene therapy treatment only available in Milan, Italy. But she must get there quickly. The family needs to raise $500,000 to cover travel and medical expenses. So far, just 29 children have undergone the novel therapy.
Meshey heard the Riley family's story and was so moved, he personally shared the news about the $10,000 gift with Dave and Kendra during a Zoom call last week.
"There is nothing most parents wouldn't do to save the life of a child. I couldn't imagine coping with a rare brain disease for two out of three young children. We knew we had to help. This is exactly why we're so passionate at Desert Financial about our Random Acts of Kindness program. It's my favorite part of the job — giving a check like this one," he said.
Kendra and Dave shared that since their original story was reported, people across the community and around the country have rallied to help with fundraisers. It was their turn to be moved when Meshey shared the news.
"We are so incredibly grateful and just in awe of your generosity, and that of the entire community," said Kendra. "Every single amount given means so much to us; we're so thankful."
The family is working with the Armer Foundation to collect funds and is making plans to travel to Italy in August in hopes of a positive outcome for Keira. The entire family will have to move there temporarily, and expenses for follow-up care will continue.
Donations to the Armer Foundation to help the Rileys can be made here.
About Desert Financial Credit Union Celebrating 81 years in Arizona, Desert Financial is the state's largest credit union with $6 billion in assets, more than 330,000 members and 47 locations across the Valley. As a not-for-profit cooperative, Desert Financial takes pride in sharing success. In 2019, Desert Financial gave nearly $11M to Valley nonprofits, the community and members. Learn more at desertfinancial.com.