Pediatric cancer foundation One Mission isn’t trying to cure disease. It’s not fundraising for research, medication, or long-term treatment, and it’s not raising awareness.
Instead, this local nonprofit fills a somewhat overlooked need in the cancer community: immediate comfort. One Mission plans and prepares elaborate meals, decor, and social events for families at Boston hospitals, where it also gives out thousands of parking vouchers for parents shouldering (very expensive) extended stays.
“We provide the soft touch of cancer support,” explains founder Ashley Haseotes. “We’re not about doing a 5K for some 10-year research plan—though, of course, that’s important, too. No, we’re getting families through the day to day.”
Haseotes dropped everything and started One Mission after spending 188 days at Boston Children’s Hospital with her first child, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at just seven months old. There, she noticed a very apparent lack of financial, emotional, and everyday support for parents who were missing work to stay with their sick child. She specifically remembers having to “kick and scream” for a mat so that her baby could learn to crawl.
“The hospital’s mission is to keep a child healthy and alive. It’s like a one-track mind,” Haseotes says. “There was never a cool catered meal or an interesting event—and, if there was, it was there one week and gone the next.” One Mission is therefore focused only on sustainable comforts that can feasibly be provided and depended upon. “I don’t want to bring in Taco Tuesday once and then say, ‘Oh, we ran out of funding,'” she adds.
These programs may be small, but they have a huge impact. “People hear about us and think, ‘That’s so nice,'” Haseotes says. “But it’s more than nice. It’s the difference between parents having to skip meals or not to stay by their child’s bedside. We’re legitimately saving these people.”
And while One Mission is still a tiny operation—Haseotes ran it out of her own living room for four years, though she upgraded to an office this year—its reach is impressive. One Mission has raised over $6 million for children’s hospital programs around the country, including locations in Philadelphia, Providence, and Dallas. The majority of the funding, though, stays close to home, going to Boston Children’s and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Haseotes insists that hers is tough but necessary work. “It’s traumatic for a parent to have to re-visit the hospital where their kid stayed,” she says. “But all hospitals have this need, and it’s just not on their dime. I’ve never met a hospital that has these little comforts in their budget. That’s a hole I’m determined to fill.”
For more information, visit onemission.org.
Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/2016/08/04/one-mission/
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