Inspired by Audrey Leishman’s near death experience in April 2015, the Begin Again Foundation was born out of a fiery passion for helping others.
The Begin Again Foundation works to bring life’s most pressing needs to families experiencing medical and life crises.
Right here in Virginia Beach, we’ve teamed up with CHKD’s Social Work Department to help patient families with uninsured expenses. We learned firsthand how stressful the hospitalization process can be on the entire family. Life doesn’t miraculously stop when admitted and the financial responsibilities outside the hospital walls remain. Each family’s need is different and that’s why we trust CHKD social workers to determine how we can best help alleviate financial burdens. From paying electricity bills to supplying toll passes, we work to bridge the gap between medical treatment and a child’s full recovery. In less than three years, we’ve served more than 2,000 CHKD patient families and continue to work to find ways to meet the needs of our community.
One of Audrey’s greatest passions is feminine hygiene education as it relates to menstrual health. Hundreds of women experiencing homelessness are sheltered at any given time in Virginia Beach. These women are often faced with the choice between finding their next meal or using unsafe, toxic resources during their period. That’s why we’ve partnered with local homeless shelters and deliver monthly shipments of “Audrey-approved” safe, organic pads, new underwear and feminine wipes in an effort to protect local women against Toxic Shock Syndrome.
On a more national level, our LEISHLine Financial Aid Fund awards one-time $1,000 grants and resources to Sepsis, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and Toxic Shock Syndrome survivors across the country. We’ve awarded grants to more than 100 survivors and have expanded our services to include case management to assist with the intricacies of managing disability, insurance coverage and more.
Every two minutes, someone dies from Sepsis. We’re on a mission to continue educating the public on symptoms to look for with our new awareness initiative, Sepsis Ambassadors. Our Sepsis Ambassadors are trained volunteers working to educate local parents, students and school staff on the signs and symptoms of sepsis.