This holiday season, most of us are planning festive parties, gathering around the dinner table for big meals, and exchanging presents with our loved ones.
But for families affected by the financial burden of cancer, this time of year is far from merry. Nearly one in three families are unable to meet their own basic needs while a child is in treatment, so gift giving and celebrations just aren’t in the budget.
That’s why Family Reach is hosting its annual Hope for the Holidays campaign, which empowers caregivers to purchase the holiday essentials for their family. Inspired by a hospital visit to one little girl, the program gives 100 percent of donations to the families in need. There are still hundreds of families nationwide waiting to be granted Hope for the Holidays and their grants will not be fulfilled until Family Reach raises $100,000.
“Hope for the Holidays brings joy to homes when they so desperately need it and cannot afford it,” says Family Reach CEO Carla Tardif. “By providing funds directly to parents, Family Reach empowers parents to purchase exactly what their children want and need and to bring joy to their family.”
Boston is home to leading hospitals and cancer institutions where researchers, doctors, and caregiving teams deliver cures. At the same time, Boston is also home to families—middle class, hardworking families—who cannot access care or cannot afford to keep a roof over their heads due to the financial burden of cancer.
One Boston area family knows all too well how the financial burden of cancer affects families during the holiday season. In 2017, 4-year-old Ruby was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma. She began an intensive treatment regimen that included chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, and immunotherapy.
Ruby’s mom left work to stay by her daughter’s side; soon after, Ruby’s dad lost his job due to his continued leave of absence to be with his family. With zero income, they struggled to make ends meet.
Their loss of income coupled with increased out of pocket expenses made keeping up with the cost of living—paying for rent, groceries, and utilities—nearly impossible. Paying for holiday expenses, bringing holiday cheer to Ruby and her brother, would be impossible without Hope for the Holidays.
“Family Reach has been a constant source of relief for my family since Ruby’s diagnosis,” says Ruby’s mom. “They have helped us many times from helping us with utilities to covering our heating costs last winter, and also letting us give our children a Christmas they deserve.”
Thanks to the generosity of Family Reach supporters, Ruby and her family will receive the gifts they were wishing for and their family will enjoy a holiday meal together.
Hope for the Holidays allows individuals to make a general donation, commit to sponsoring a family, or create personal fundraising pages. Whether it’s $5 or $500, every contribution plays a significant role in helping families during the holiday season. Support families fighting cancer and give the gift of Hope for the Holidays.
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