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Va. parents collect supplies for medically fragile children in Texas

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va.  -- Parents of special needs children in Central Virginia collected food and equipment for parents of medically fragile children in Houston after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc.

"We have diapers and catheters," said Candice Coleman, a mother of a special needs child who is also helping in the collection effort.

The donations were tucked away in a donated storage unit off Ironbridge Road.

"Here we have specialty respiratory equipment, we have ventilator circuits," says Shawn Burrow, a special needs mom who is coordinating the donation effort.

Most of the donations filling the unit are from parents of special needs children who personally understand the need the parents in Houston are going through.

"Many of these kids are on ventilator support, they require oxygen, they are tube fed, they have the highly specialized equipment, that's not just comfort, it's life-saving, life-sustaining equipment."

And the items being collected for medically fragile children are not something the average person donating would have and right now would be hard to get in the Houston area.

The families are donating from their own reserves.

"They're giving from their heart," says Tara Sample, who runs ThisAbility.org. "Because they completely understand and empathize with the needs of these parents who are in the situation they are in now in Houston".

Candice Coleman knows first hand what Houston families are going through, and wanted to help.

"The Shaw family, that have literally lost everything and they have a son with down syndrome and I was just like what would he need because that's what I would need for Molly."

The coordinated effort took just two days and will be loaded and on its way to Houston on Tuesday.

"Our partners know what's where, so there is no delay," Burrow said. "We entered it into a Central Inventory system which is already being matched to the kids that need it".