Operation Family Caregiver Coach Supervisor
Mikelle Raffel (Kel) was born and raised in Montana and met her husband, a U.S. Army Court Reporter of 18.5 years, in Germany while helping her Aunt, a single mother in the Army, care for her daughter. With 16 years of marriage, Kel has “grown up” in the military life style and has helped with many FRG organizations, volunteered wherever help was needed in her community, and been involved in starting spouse support groups.
For the majority of her time, Kel has been a stay at home mom and a caregiver. She has three children and one is special needs with several issues that require multiple therapies, medical care, and even long hospital stays. She also had a son who was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 while they were stationed overseas in Germany, but were sent back to the States for treatment at Walter Reed in Bethesda, Maryland. Ryan passed away in 2012, almost a year after treatment began. His treatment and everything that came with his diagnoses lead Kel to start an organization to help other Military families that had children with cancer because she understood the struggle and witnessed how little help there was available to these families and children. Her organization brought toys to Walter Reed, sent grants to families struggling financially, and supported them in any way they could. Kel also went to Capitol Hill several times to allocate for more funds for Pediatric Cancer research. She’s written blogs that promote the truth about Pediatric Cancer and served on the Parent’s Board at Walter Reed as well. Kel and her family recently had to relocate to San Antonio, Texas, for her husband’s job and is where they currently reside.
Her favorite program for Blue Star Families is the partnership with Operation Family Caregiver which is part of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving. She loves that they are helping open the door for Caregivers and bringing attention to this group of individuals that is growing by the day. Because of the program, Caregivers are able to connect with others going through the same things and build friendships and share recourses to help each other out.