The Mother’s Hope Foundation Endowment Fund Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation
Inspired by the personal story of cancer survivor and founder, Cathy Howe, the Mother’s Hope Foundation established the Mother’s Hope Foundation Endowment Fund at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to help families whose children are receiving cancer treatment at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. The purpose of the Fund is to provide flexible resources to help as many families as possible who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of their children battling cancer. The hope is that by alleviating some of the financial worry the families will be better able to cope and support their children throughout the cancer treatment whether as an inpatient or outpatient.
The Fund can be used for food, house hold expenses, car repairs, travel needs, lodging, phone bills, out-of-pocket expenses for medications or medical supplies, child care for siblings, or any other expenses that will help to ease a family’s financial burden and allow them to be at their child’s side.
Social workers at Children’s Hospital work closely with families to understand their situations and connect them to the services and resources they need. The social workers act as liaisons to distribute Mother’s Hope Foundation Endowment Fund resources to families such as these:
Several years ago, William was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that affects the skeletal system. At the time, Children’s Hospital’s oncology team treated William’s cancer with aggressive chemotherapy. Although William received almost two years of chemotherapy, his cancer relapsed last summer when William was only 9 years old. With three other children at home including a small toddler, William’s mother is left to juggle the many challenges of a household with four young children, while further contending with William’s illness. William’s mom is also a single mother, so the pressure to keep the family afloat financially rests solely on her shoulders. After attempting several different therapies for William, Children’s physicians recently determined that William’s cancer is incurable, and that the focus should be on making William as comfortable as possible. This news has been absolutely devastating for William’s mother and siblings. William’s mom is doing her best to remain at William’s bedside and the comfort of knowing that Mother’s Hope is there to help her out with covering food and incidental items during this time is a small source of relief in what can only be described as the most difficult situation imaginable for any parent to face.
Joey, age two, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma stage IV. His treatment will consist of six cycles of chemotherapy every 21 days, a harvest of his stem cells followed by radiation and more chemotherapy. Joey has a brother who is five years old. His father is a construction worker and his mother was a nurse. She was diagnosed with cancer of the salivary gland ten years ago. It is a slow growing, incurable cancer that will eventually take her life. She has known that she would leave her children prematurely but now has to live with the real possibility that her son may leave her first. When Joey was first diagnosed, she was going to take a Family Medical Leave of Absence, but quickly decided to quit her job because of the seriousness of her son’s illness and the lengthy hospital stays required. Joey’s father will continue his work but the absence of his mother’s job will mean a 50% drop in their income. They will have to significantly cut back on expenses.
Christina is three years old and recently diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She also has very fragile bones and is in a body cast and two arm splints. She lives with her mother in Greenville, Pennsylvania. Her mother is her primary caregiver. Her father lives out of state and does not provide much assistance. Her mother has only a few extended family members and is the sole financial support for her and Christina. With Christina’s diagnosis, her mother is taking a Family Medical Leave of Absence, so she receives no salary and has very little income.
Families like these are moved to learn of the Mother’s Hope Foundation Endowment Fund. They are so grateful to “those kind strangers” who donate money to help people they have never met. The board of Mother’s Hope decided to establish this fund as a perpetual endowment so that it will generate income and be a source of support for families battling cancer at Children’s Hospital each and every year. In September of 2010 Mother’s Hope Foundation added $100,000 to the Mother’s Hope Foundation Endowment Fund of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and continues to add funds each year.