Supporting Families of Children with Cancer

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1 Supporting Families of Children with Cancer

2 The Starfish Story Original Story by: Loren Eisley One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, What are you doing? The youth replied, Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don t throw them back, they ll die. Son, the man said, don t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can t make a difference! After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said, I made a difference for that one.

3 Twenty years ago I had a life-changing experience. At a visit to the oncology ward at Children s Hospital, I saw a roomful of children of every age with one thing in common. They all had cancer. At the time, I wanted to help them all, but wasn t sure how. The memory of that visit has stayed with me all these years. In 2007, I realized how I could make a difference. My wife, Karen, and I founded Caruso Family Charities to help families who have a child with cancer. We wish a cure could be found for this devastating disease. In the meantime, we put our collective efforts into helping the families cope with the financial burdens that many times bring additional hardship to these already suffering families. Karen and Jerry Caruso We wish we could do it all ourselves but then we would only be able to help a few. Unfortunately, the needs are much greater. It is why Caruso Family Charities was founded, so we could provide assistance to many more families who need help. Your donation will help make this possible. From my heart, thank you, Jerry Caruso

4 My son, Jake, has leukemia. Everything I have goes to helping him get better. He means everything to me. My husband couldn t handle the situation and took off. He left me with all the bills including our rent and car payment. I got so far behind that the bank was going to take my car away. This meant I wouldn t have a way to get Jake back and forth for his treatments. I didn t know where to turn. When Jake and I came in for an appointment at Children s Hospital Colorado, Chris, Dr. Tom s nurse could see something wasn t right with me and asked what was wrong. I broke down and cried. I told her the whole story. She said she knew who could help and called Caruso Family Charities right away. I couldn t believe there was a charity that helped the families of children with cancer. Caruso Family Charities stepped in and paid my car payments for 3 months, plus the car insurance, gave us money for groceries and some extra money to help me with everyday living expenses. Caruso Family Charities came through when I really needed it. It was such a blessing and gave me hope. My son and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Genya

5 Our Mission Your help came when we really needed it. Genya Caruso Family Charities is a 501c3 dedicated to financially assisting families who have a child suffering with cancer. We help mainly Colorado families but also families of children being treated in Colorado. We partner with the Rocky Mountain Childhood Cancer Foundation to cover a range of needs for these families. The financial needs vary from family to family. Everyday living expenses, like groceries, rent, insurance payments, phone or energy bills, insurance co-pays, gas and tuition are common. Sometimes hotel stays are needed if the family lives far away from the treatments their child needs. We have even purchased an airline ticket for a mother in Virginia. Our mission is to help relieve some of these financial pressures so the family can concentrate on taking care of the needs of their sick child.

6 I knew something was wrong... with my youngest child, Isaac, when he started having low grade fevers and nose bleeds off and on for a month. As a single mother of 4, you know when something isn t right with one of your children. When I took Isaac to his pediatrician, he did a complete check up and blood work. It showed a significant amount of leukemia in his blood. The diagnosis was shattering. That day, Isaac was life flighted to Children s Hospital in Denver from our home in Grand Junction where I met Isaac s oncologist, Dr. Tom Smith. Isaac s chemotherapy treatments began immediately. I couldn t work, so I lost my job. I had no other resources and didn t know how I was going to care for my other three children who are 10, 9, and 7. Dr. Tom called Caruso Family Charities to see if they would help me. I couldn t believe how quickly they came to my rescue. They paid for my hotel room which was a respite for the few times Isaac got a break from the treatments. On Isaac s last treatment in November, I was elated. My elation was shortlived when I discovered my parked car had been hit by an uninsured motorist while I was at the hospital that day. The insurance paid what was still due on my car, but I had no money to buy another one and I had no way to get home to Grand Junction. Caruso Family Charities stepped in and helped me out again. They arranged for a rental car and also gave me $3,000 for another car. With that money, I was able to not only buy another car, I also purchased gas, groceries and basic necessities. Plus, I had a little left over to buy my children a few Christmas gifts. Isaac was in remission for over a year, but then sadly relapsed. He had been scheduled for a bone marrow transplant, but that was cancelled because the leukemia returned. After a few months of chemotherapy, we were told the treatments were not working and that Isaac s diagnosis was now terminal. It was recommended that Isaac go home and enjoy what was left of his short life. Caruso Family Charities helped us so much through this terrible time. They even donated the money for Isaac s headstone. I really appreciate all the help you ve given us. It made such a difference for our family. Krista Krebs

7 How It Started We wanted to make a difference Karen Caruso Twenty years ago, my wife, Karen and I were approached by Vicki, a hematologyoncology nurse at Children s Hospital. She asked if we could supply an entertainment center so the children could watch TV and movies plus have room to store books. I went to Children s to see exactly what they needed and saw a room full of very sick children from as young as 2 to teenagers of about 16. I carry this memory with me every day. It is why I want to do more to help children with cancer. Through Children s Hospital, I was introduced to Dr. Tom Smith, of Childhood Hematology Oncology Associates (now part of Children s Hospital Colorado). He told me that the greatest need was giving support to families with a sick child. Dr. Tom explained that all the family efforts are concentrated on the child with cancer while other siblings lose their attention, and usually the families struggle financially. Dr. Tom s own office staff has taken up collections to help the families who were most in need. For many families, cancer takes all their time, energy and finances. Typically there is little or nothing leftover for necessary bills, like rent, mortgage or electricity or for the expense of travel to doctor s appointments for those families who live far away. Oftentimes careers are put on hold and jobs are lost due to the toll cancer takes on parents tending to the needs of their cancer-stricken child. In 2007, Caruso Family Charities was founded to fulfill my personal mission to help these families in need, so they can spend their time helping their children. We wanted to make a difference and through Caruso Family Charities, we can.

8 Caruso Family Charities is such a blessing. My son Peyton was only a toddler when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Shortly after starting the chemotherapy treatments, he became very malnourished. We elected to have a G button inserted into his stomach so he could receive food supplements. Peyton desperately needed this extra nutrition to build up his strength to battle the cancer. At first a standard food supplement was prescribed, but Peyton couldn t tolerate it at all. Eventually a special formula was found that Peyton could tolerate, but it was about $300 a case and insurance wouldn t pay for it. Peyton would go through a case every 5 days. Dr. Tom Smith, Peyton s oncologist, called Caruso Family Charities to see what they could do. They immediately agreed to pay for the formula. I can t tell you what a blessing this was for Peyton and us. Having to find the money to pay for the formula ourselves would have changed our home life even more than the cancer has already. This disease is devastating in more ways than you can imagine. Caruso Family Charities helps ease the suffering. Caruso Family Charities helps ease the suffering. Cody Augusta Cody Augusta

9 How We Help The needs are overwhelming. Dr. Tom Smith Children s Hospital Colorado Caruso Family Charities partners with the Rocky Mountain Childhood Cancer Foundation. We also work closely with Dr. Tom Smith of Children s Hospital Colorado. In addition, we get leads from other doctors at Children s Hospital and through Centura Health. An application for financial assistance is filled out by the family in need. Caruso Family Charities establishes and verifies each situation individually with a personal visit from Jerry Caruso. An assessment of each application is made to determine how much help can be given. Once accepted, the bills are sent to Caruso Family Charities where either a partial or full payment is made for a period of two to three months. For some families, this can make a tremendous difference in their lives at a time when it s most needed. Caruso Family Charities has never said no. Cancer is a devastating disease, especially when it s your child. Normalcy just stops. From the moment a family gets this devastating news, everything is devoted to helping your child live.

10 LIGHTING THE PATH Spring Gala Our Fundraising Events We raise most of our money through fundraising events. The Caruso Family Charities Annual Golf Tournament happens in August and we sign up 32 foursomes to participate in this extremely popular event. Our Spring black tie gala is a beautiful event that provides a chance to see the year s accomplishments on video and donate through the private auction. To find out about this year s event schedule, or to donate online, please visit our website today at

11 How You Can Help You can help Light the Path. Your donation helps take care of the void left from what insurance doesn t cover for families of children with cancer. The cost to treat cancer is huge. Insurance helps. It doesn t help at all with the everyday expenses. Many times the breadwinner will lose their job, since the time needed to be with their sick child is more than many employers can absorb. Expenses can mount up and become a burden. Oftentimes, a family has to make a choice between paying for necessary treatments to help their sick child and taking care of household expenses, like rent or mortgage, car payments, gas, food and utilities. Every donation is greatly appreciated and goes entirely to helping the families. Checks may be sent to: Caruso Family Charities 9138 West 6th Avenue Lakewood, CO Credit card payments can be made securely online at Your donation will help light the path at a time when it seems most dark for families whose children have cancer. Thank you

12 To donate or to learn more about our upcoming fundraising events, visit us online at LIGHTING THE PATH 9138 West 6th Avenue, Lakewood, CO

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