To All of Our Supporters,
Listed below is an update on some families we have been helping since our last report in December.
There are times we are approached for assistance by the social workers with whom we partner because they know we will consider requests that sometimes fall outside the parameters that govern other non-profits who will only pay rent, mortgages or utility bills. We try to employ enough flexibility so that we may offer assistance, however it is needed. Nine-year-old Yeray’s family of six had been struggling for years with the financial implications of his diagnosis of high-risk pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia late in 2016. He’d experienced many treatments, bone marrow transplants, hospitalizations and relapses. Sadly, his father, the sole bread winner for the family, died unexpectedly, leaving the family with funeral costs in addition to the devastating emotional loss. The Foundation provided assistance with funeral expenses for dad and continues to support the family with rental, utility and grocery assistance.
Another such “outside the box” request was received for the family of Lily, a five-year old little girl who’s been battling bilateral retinoblastoma since she was 8 months old and lost one of her eyes. Following years of treatment to deal with the implications of her condition, Covid restrictions forced Lily and her parents to stay in Philadelphia while she was receiving treatment at CHOP. Living expenses in Philadelphia, while still maintaining their primary residence became a major issue for the family. The social workers at CHOP were able to secure funding for housing with another organization but the Foundation supplied funds for gas, and food and other living expenses.
There are times when expenses are identified for a family that fall outside what we normally cover but will cause the family a hardship significant enough to keep them from paying other bills. Such was the case with Michael’s family of five. Michael suffers from myelodysplastic syndrome and he and his family were trying to manage Michael’s reaction to a bone marrow transplant when we were contacted by his social worker. Michael and his twin brother both have developmental delays and his father, who had recently retired, has Parkinson’s disease. When the family found out their home required some repair to make it safe for the family, and could not afford to have the work done, the Foundation provided funds to help the family through this rough patch.
The length of time the Foundation assists a family is as varied as the kinds of help we provide. Obviously, the child’s diagnosis and length of treatment are factors in how long one or both parents may be unable to work. The family’s financial situation when the diagnosis takes place is also a factor. The families we assist are often struggling before their child’s diagnosis is made, adding to stress already present. We were initially contacted about Arielis in 2015 when she was first diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Arielis, her mom and two sisters began having financial difficulties soon after her diagnosis was made. Over the past five years, the Foundation has assisted with utility bills and rent, as identified by the family’s social worker, while Arielis continues to be treated at Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey.
Ruby’s family was referred to us in the summer of 2020 when the 20-month-old little girl was first diagnosed with anaplastic ependymoma, a rare brain tumor. Although the Foundation offered support at that time, the family was hesitant to accept help. Several weeks ago, the social worker contacted us again about the family. Treatment is ongoing for Ruby and the financial implications to her family have become significant enough for them to accept assistance. The Foundation will cover the family’s mortgage for quite a few months and will remain in touch with the social worker and the family to determine whether additional support is required.
Thankfully, 2020 is over and we’re all looking forward to trying to find a “new normal” as 2021 unfolds. We’ve set the dates for our two yearly fundraisers, the Jeff Musser Golf Classic on June 23 and the Cadillac Dinner on September 24. We’ll keep you up to date about both events as decisions are made. While some aspects of the events may look differently this year, our efforts on behalf of the families we’re asked to assist have not changed. To those of you who have continued to support us, with end of year giving or with donations throughout all of last year, we humbly thank you. Because none of this is possible without you, with your continued generosity, we can continue the mission that has become so important to all of us!
The Board and Volunteers of the Jeff Musser Foundation