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Charities making transition from immediate relief to long term care


MOORE, Okla. — Edith Morales says she’s astonished she survived, but her recovery will continue to be long and painful. Her spine was severed, six vertebrae splintered, and both her face and hands were crushed. Edith will need long-term care due to paralysis, but does not have medical insurance.

Where are the millions of dollars in donations pouring into Oklahoma going and why aren’t they being used to help the Morales family?

Mrs. Morales’ urgent needs at Integris have been well taken care of and last night she and her family thanked all the nurses, doctors and surgeons who have worked to get here where she is today. The issue is with that transition from immediate urgent needs to long term recovery.

Christina Morales says, “She had only been on the new job that she has for just over thirty days so she was just shy of qualifying for her health insurance and so right now our biggest need is being able to move her.”

Edith’s family has called numerous long term care facilities that simply can’t help them without proof of payment. With millions of dollars raised through concerts, t-shirts and flat out donations, the Red Cross’ Janienne Bella says that’s where they come in.

“We continue to spend at a rapid pace and make sure it gets in the hands of clients and it`s going out very quickly,” says Bella. “It`s coming in quickly and it`s going out quickly.”

Bella wants everyone to know they are here for more than just food and shelter. They are making that transition with survivors from urgent needs to long term care.

“Medical and mental health. I mean, we are going to be seeing needs pop up for a long time and we definitely want to make sure we are reaching out and visiting with those people now and in the future,” says Bella. “It will be an ongoing relationship for quite some time to make sure all of their needs are met.”

Bella says if there is anything she could say to Edith Morales and her family it would be to give her a call.

“We will definitely hook her up and make sure all of her needs are being met,” says Bella.

Both the Red Cross and United Way say Edith Morales is the perfect example of a survivor they will be standing by until all her needs are met.

United Way CEO Debby Hampton says, “That is exactly the need that these dollars are going to be spent on that the agencies will start providing case services for her.”

Hampton says it’s their case by case management they are calling the key to her long term recovery.

“There are probably more needs than just the medical that Ms. Morales may have and they can start that process immediately,” says Hampton.

Hampton says the Morales family will get to know their case worker very well and they are in it for the long haul.

Even though the Morales family has already called out for help, the Red Cross’ Janienne Bella says her biggest concern is that other survivors will fall through the cracks.

Bella says, “Oklahomans have a lot of pride and it takes a lot for them to step up and raise their hand and say, ‘Me. I need help.’”

Both agencies want everyone to know assistance is and will remain available for everyone and Edith Morales will be on their radar for quite some time.

If you have not yet received help or if you want to get in touch with a case worker, both agencies encourage you to call 1-866-477-7276.