This article was published as part of #GivingTuesday's #WomenWhoGive series, which celebrates women who give back in their communities.
Martha (Marty) Barnes is a native Texan and best known as Casey’s mom. After welcoming Casey to the world in 2006 Marty quit working in the tech field to be a full time mom. Marty used her tech skills to design and create many online tools for families like her own.
Marty and her husband Tim created the nonprofit Casey’s Circle after Casey’s passing in 2016. Casey’s Circle is best known for the special needs events they host throughout the year. Marty and Tim started hosting events unofficially in 2012. The first holiday party had about 20 kids attend and in 2016 there were over 150 kids. They host movie events, play dates, birthday celebrations and much more. In addition to special needs events, Casey’s Circle also hosts bereavement events for families that have lost a child due to medical illness. Casey’s Circle does more than just social events; they also offer education, support, and a wide range of tools to help in the day-to-day needs of raising a medically complex child.
In addition to her own organization, Marty is very active in the special needs community. She volunteers with organizations such as Texas Parent to Parent, Mommies of Miracles and Hand to Hold. Marty writes articles for special needs publications, including The Mighty, Complex Child, and many others. Marty works closely with Dell Children’s Hospital and the Palliative Care Team to help improve family centered care and best practices for children with complex medical needs. Marty is a key parent stakeholder with a team of researchers spread across the US that are working to improve the standard of care for a variety of medical treatments and conditions. Some of their work has been published in medical journals.
Marty never passes up a chance to share Casey’s story or to meet another parent of a medically complex child. Being able to connect and help other families through Casey’s story has become Marty’s mission and passion. Marty does a lot of public speaking for nursing students, med students, as well as many other parents and professionals on a regular basis. Casey’s life may have ended, but through Casey’s Circle and Marty’s efforts her story continues to inspire and teach people every day.