To All of Our Supporters,
Listed below is an update on some families we have been helping since our last report in October.
This year we added a new health care provider to the list with whom we partner. A concerned friend of a family with a child battling cancer contacted us to see if we could offer support. We explained our procedure and asked the friend to have the child’s social worker reach out to us. As a result, we got our first request for assistance from the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in York about 18 year old Desirae who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2018 and liver cancer this year. The social worker was seeking rental assistance for Desirae and her single mom. The Foundation has provided rental support that will continue through the end of 2020 and also provided assistance to repair mom’s aging vehicle so she can ensure transportation for Desirae’s many medical treatments.
Scarlett is an eight year old little girl who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at PSH. She began chemotherapy at the hospital following diagnosis and it’s expected most of her two year treatment plan can be accomplished at the outpatient clinic in Hershey. Scarlett lives at home with her parents and two older sisters. Mom stays at home to care for the children and dad can take time off work to help with Scarlett’s care but he doesn’t get paid for the days he misses. To help defray the lost wages associated with Scarlett’s treatments, the Foundation has covered the family’s mortgage and a utility bill through the end of 2020.
Nineteen year old Nekai was diagnosed at Nemours hospital with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare, aggressive soft tissue cancer that occurs most commonly in teens or young adults, and usually starts in the torso, arms, or legs. Five days after his diagnosis, Nekai suffered a catastrophic brain hemorrhage, resulting in brain death, and was placed on life support. Sadly, he passed away one day later. While this family’s journey was not an extended one like some of the families we assist, the financial implications were no less devastating. The Foundation contributed funds to help with funeral costs.
Kal-El is a six year old little boy who was diagnosed at PSH with Wilms’ tumor, a form of pediatric kidney cancer. The little boy has had extensive chemotherapy treatments and surgery since his diagnosis. He lives at home with his mom, dad and younger brother. Mom doesn’t currently work outside the home but dad, a truck driver, has had some periods of lost wages due to Kal-El’s treatment schedule and the pandemic’s impact on his job. The Foundation has covered several months of the family’s mortgage payments and two utility bills for the same period of time.
Treatment for pediatric cancer is as varied as the types of cancer diagnosed and the side effects for each child can be just as varied and often extensive. Nine year old Ryland has been treated for quite a few months at PSH after being diagnosed with a large spinal tumor extending over the majority of his spinal column. His extensive treatments led to complications that prompted a hospital stay of more than 60 consecutive days. His treatment and the resulting complications are ongoing and will include the need for physical and occupational therapy. Prior to Ryland’s diagnosis, both parents worked full time outside the home. Mom has had to take unpaid leave to care for her son and dad has had periods of FMLA resulting in lost wages. The Foundation has been assisting the family by paying rent and an auto loan and phone bill for the last several months.
This year has been one none of us will soon forget! 2020 has caused all sorts of complications many of us never anticipated. But, despite all the challenges this year has placed in our way, many of you have continued to support us and the families we assist. To those of you who may support us with your end-of-year contributions, or those of you who sent donations to support Lancaster’s Extra Ordinary Give, or decided to support our fundraisers, without the events taking place, we humbly offer our most heartfelt thanks. Our mission to support families with children battling cancer continues, regardless of what’s happening in the world around us. We couldn’t do any of this without your support, so on behalf of all the families you’ve helped us assist this year, we thank you and wish you a blessed and healthy holiday season!
The Board and Volunteers of the Jeff Musser Foundation