To All of Our Supporters,
Listed below is an update on some families we have been helping since our last report.
One of the benefits of being a small, volunteer non-profit organization is that we have the flexibility to try to meet the needs of the families in our area, even when the requests for assistance are a bit irregular. Emma was an eight-year-old with a history of recurrent optic glioma when her social worker contacted us. The rigors of treatment and surgeries left Emma with some paralysis and her parents needed a larger handicap accessible vehicle to transport their daughter. The Foundation was able to work with the social worker, the family and an auto dealer to provide a down payment for a larger vehicle and we continued to make auto loan payments for multiple months after the purchase.
Six-year-old Hailey and her family had been battling with a Wilms’ tumor diagnosis for nearly two years when the Foundation was contacted for assistance. A child’s treatment plan for cancer often follows a path that has a lot of ups and downs and twists and turns, making it difficult for the family to adjust to all the changes that need to be made. Hailey’s mom had taken a leave from her job to care for her daughter and found she had to extend the unpaid leave when the treatment plan needed to be altered. The Foundation was able to offer mortgage support for the family while Hailey received treatment.
Most of the children whose families we assist seek treatment at only one of the area hospitals with whom we partner. But there are times when families must travel to other hospitals, some of them at significant distances, for treatment unavailable locally. Alem was first diagnosed at Penn State Children’s Hospital in 2019 with bone cancer. The fourteen-year-old teenager has had extensive treatment and surgery since his diagnosis. He and his mother have also had to travel to Boston for additional surgery and treatment. The Foundation has provided gift cards to help with expenses for the mother and son while they travel out of state for treatment.
There are so many things that can happen to put additional financial stress on a family already under pressure due to the loss of one income or hours of unpaid leave necessary to attend the many appointments that are necessary for treatment. One of the most common financial stressors we see to the families we assist is the loss of a reliable auto that is essential in times of medical emergencies. Cam’s family auto was totaled during the time of his treatment and an affordable, reliable replacement vehicle became a real priority for the social worker following the family. The Foundation provided the funds to purchase a pre-owned vehicle found by the family and provided multiple months of rental assistance to help get them back on their feet.
Often, the treatment for pediatric cancer patients will span a period of years, not months. This prolonged period of lost wages will often cause families to pay the minimum each month for utility bills, just enough to keep the services from being shut off but mounting up over time. We were asked to pay an overdue bill for Veronica’s family because her mom was unable to work due to the schedule of her daughter’s treatments for acute lymphoid leukemia. Instead of paying the month’s charges, as requested by the social worker, the Foundation paid the entire overdue bill for the family.
The story above, about being able to wipe out a utility debt is an illustration of just how much your continued support means to the families we assist. Because of your generosity, we have the funds we need to support, and sometimes go above and beyond, the requests that are made to us from our social work partners. We thank each and every one of you who participated in the Jeff Musser Golf Classic on June 22, either by playing golf, or purchasing a sponsorship, or by bidding on one of our Silent Auction items. Your involvement in the event ensured that we are able cover a lot of rent, utility bills, auto loan payments and other necessary household costs. We look forward to seeing many of you at our Cadillac Dinner on September 23, about which details will follow in the coming weeks. Our gratitude knows no bounds and we couldn’t do what we do for the families in our area without what you do for us!
The Board and Volunteers of the Jeff Musser Foundation