“Your child has cancer.”
When our son, Will, was diagnosed with a brain tumor, those devastating words started our family on a long, painful, and miraculous journey. Like any family dealing with a life-threatening diagnosis, we experienced a wide range of emotions and challenges, but with supportive friends and family and our faith to keep us going, we quickly realized how blessed we were.
While most people can empathize with the emotional struggles of caring for a child with cancer, the overwhelming financial burdens faced are frequently overlooked. A family who cares for a child with cancer bears substantial expenses during the diagnostic, treatment, and follow-up phases of this disease. Many financial stressors fall outside the realm of what most people picture when they imagine treatment costs, including loss of income as time spent away from work increases with caregiving needs. It’s not uncommon for a parent, guardian, or other caregiver to lose his or her job in these situations, and what might initially seem like a short-term crisis can quickly become a long-term problem that puts the financial security, quality of life, and future well-being of the entire family at risk — all in addition to the family’s battle with cancer.
So, we decided to try to help.
In the early days, we held an annual holiday party at our home following a special screening of It’s a Wonderful Life at Nashville’s beloved Belcourt Theatre. Usually, the funds we raised were only a few thousand dollars, but with that money we were able to provide at least one family with peace of mind during the holiday season. Each year, our little event got bigger and bigger, and what started as an annual holiday party with a purpose grew to become something more. In 2009 we officially chartered The Wonderful Life Foundation as a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
With the support of caring individuals from our community, we are working diligently to provide relief for families experiencing financial hardship while fighting pediatric cancer. Through referrals from social workers at area hospitals, the Foundation grants requests for financial assistance so that families are better able to focus on healing. We assist families with a variety of needs, including transportation expenses, rent/mortgage payments, and utility bills. As we continue to grow, we’re looking to develop networks of support services that provide lodging and meals for families during treatment, and someday, we hope to operate a Wonderful Life Home that supplements the amazing work of organizations like Ronald McDonald House.
We need your help as we continue to raise funds, build awareness, forge community partnerships, and create a network of supportive resources. If you’re interested in making a contribution to the Foundation — either financially or as a volunteer — please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that the work we do is made possible by the generosity of people like you! And as always, 100% of the money we raise goes directly to families, thanks to sustaining sponsorships from local businesses.
Thank you for your support!
Angie & Robbie Cook