The Butterfly Fund stands alone – a source of solace to many families who are financially devastated by their child’s brain or spinal tumor diagnosis. While other pediatric cancer groups focus primarily on research for a cure – as critical as that need is – our Butterfly Fund exists for the sole purpose of easing the immediate burden that sudden hospitalization or prolonged treatment can place on a family.
In its first year (2000), this Fund provided approximately $11,000 in financial support to families at pediatric facilities in Georgia. Today, the Butterfly Fund provides $275,000 to $300,000 per year in financial assistance to cover the cost of housing, utilities, funerals, car payments, travel expenses, and more for families of children treated at pediatric facilities in eight southeastern states.
The need for this program has not abated during the economic downturn – in fact, more families than ever are facing financial hardships when parents must leave work to care for desperately ill children. Through feedback from our parents and the social workers at the facilities served, we are constantly reminded of the importance of the Butterfly Fund – and maintaining it has long been of utmost priority to BTFC.
No one has seen the heartwarming accomplishments of this fund more clearly than Sherry Samuels, BTFC Patient and Family Services Coordinator. On the front lines of the agonizing battles our parents fight every day, Sherry is keenly aware of the personal and financial challenges they face. And the Butterfly Fund gives her the resources to alleviate some of their suffering – “peace in our storm,” as one mother gratefully described it.
“As our families face new and often daunting challenges,” says Sherry, “the Butterfly Fund has been a source of support at some of their lowest moments. From the single parent scrambling to figure out how to make ends meet, to the two-parent households deciding which income is easier to live without, to families financially devastated by the economy prior to their child’s diagnosis, the Butterfly Fund is able to offer our families financial relief. It allows the parents/guardians to focus on a more pressing concern – the health of their child.”