Eastern Iowa family says Variety's 'Compassion Fund' helped when twins were born early

Published: Dec. 10, 2019 at 3:33 AM CST
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KCRG-TV9 is co-sponsoring a radiothon with KMRY Radio in Cedar Rapids. The money will go to the Compassion Fund for Variety, the Children’s Charity which will give money to parents of critically ill children in the hospital to pay for unexpected expenses. That money can help them with gas, food, etc.

The number to donate is 319-378-6400.

The Happel family from Vinton benefited greatly from the fund. They had twin boys back in July at only 32 weeks.

Long commutes from their home in Vinton to the NICU at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids would have been costly if it wasn't for the Compassion Fund.

Now, Stacey and Brian Happel watch in awe of their twin boys Finn and Dax. The boys are growing up right in front of their eyes.

"They’re really talking here, a couple of weeks ago and getting their personality and stuff,” said Brian, their father. “It's a big change because before this it was just crying and that's it."

The babies were supposed to be due in September. The Happels say they were nervous to find out the babies were coming early.

"I have worked in a NICU for about 18 years as a nurse and now a nurse practitioner,” said mother Stacey. “So I know very well what can happen when babies are born early.”

"I was kind of freaking out you know,” added Brian. “You get woke up in the middle of the night and told this is going on, we gotta go, this was scary."

The babies stayed in the hospital for two weeks, mainly learning how to eat. Mom, dad and big brother Cole were by their side.

At first, the family did not want to accept money from the Compassion Fund but realized a hospital stay can hurt their wallets.

"We're spending a lot. I'm trying to run things at home and run back-and-forth,” said Brian. “Stacey is down there all the time, so we're eating out. The gas and the hospital bills just keep adding up."

As helpful as Compassion Fund was for the Happels, they know it can help others. That's why they want people to donate.

"It helped us out a ton, and I know there are families needing more,” said Stacey. “Especially this time of the year with the holidays."

The Happels are happy to have their kids home and healthy.

"We cannot imagine not having them here now,” said Stacey.

"Once we got out of there [the hospital] and we knew everyone was good and healthy, it was awesome,” added Brian. “We're pretty blessed to have three healthy boys now."

The Happels say having some of that financial stress alleviated really helped them focus on their babies.

to donate.