Caring For Children Foundation Partners with HospiceCare in the Berkshires’ Pediatric Palliative Care for Holiday Effort
Children Afflicted with Serious Medical Conditions will Receive Gifts and Financial Support from Sponsors as Foundation Marks 20th Anniversary
Pittsfield, MA (Dec. 9, 2016) - The Frank and Rosemary Iovieno Caring for Children Foundation (Caring for Children) has partnered with HospiceCare in the Berkshires’ Pediatric Palliative Care program, ensuring that 37 deserving children with life-limiting medical conditions will receive gifts and financial support from sponsors near and far.
Children in the HospiceCare in the Berkshires-run program range in age from nine months to 17 years afflicted with diagnoses that include cancer, seizure disorders, traumatic brain injury with cerebral palsy and congenital myotonic dystrophy.
“All of the children have complex medical conditions that require their parents to take them to long distance medical providers for specialized care. That leads to significant financial challenges for all of our families,” said June Green, Pediatric Palliative Care Program Coordinator.
Because of these hardships, several parents “told us that they had already prepared their children that this would be a ‘lean’ Christmas,” she said.
That’s where Caring for Children comes in.
Each child is sponsored by an individual or, in some cases, employees of companies elect to sponsor a number of children as a group. As part of the sponsorship, clothing and special requests are granted for all of the children in the household. Gift cards to national chain stores and movie theaters often are included.
“Being the sibling of a chronically ill child results in many challenges and sacrifices; the parents often have to choose between providing for their sick child and doing something for their well child. Caring for Children eliminates the need for them to make a choice during the holiday season … the two programs could not be better matched,” Green said.
“The Pediatric Palliative Care Program is a special partnership in so many ways. The children they support are so deserving of additional assistance, especially during the holidays, which is our primary mission,” said John Iovieno, President and Founder of the foundation, named after his parents who were longtime supporters of the cause.
“Now that I live in the Berkshires and am raising my family here, it was very important to me that the foundation have the opportunity to positively impact families here in this community and not just across the rest of Massachusetts and upstate New York,” he said.
“It’s especially meaningful this year as we mark 20 years of the annual holiday effort,” he continued. “Twenty years ago it started with 40 volunteers taking care of 25 children. By comparison, this year we have had over 1,000 volunteers, 10+ corporate sponsorships that are going to help over 400 children with gifts and money raised.”
In the past, Caring for Children initially worked with hospital programs that focused on children afflicted with life-threatening illnesses such as HIV/AIDs and sickle cell anemia and these children were followed by some of the largest hospitals in the commonwealth, including Children’s Hospital, Boston Medical Center, UMass Worcester and Bay State.
However since the Holiday Effort has grown each year, it became increasingly important for the foundation to not only expand its reach geographically, but also to expand support to children with all different types of medical conditions. Therefore, in recent years the charity launched programs in Albany and Poughkeepsie, NY, as well as others in Massachusetts that help children with a wide-range of life-threatening or life-limiting conditions.
The holiday effort culminates this Sunday, Dec. 11, with a wrapping party in Lexington, MA from 12-4 PM.
While all of the children in the HospiceCare in the Berkshires Pediatric Palliative Care have been sponsored, those wishing to take part in next year’s holiday effort are encouraged to contact the Foundation directly at www.frankccc.com/contact.
Donations are also accepted year-round and will be earmarked for assisting children this holiday season who were not directly sponsored by a volunteer, or through the charity’s year-long enrichment program that also sponsors kids within the county. To make a donation, visit: www.frankccc.com/register/monetary.cfm.
Caring for Children is an official 501(c)(3) charity, so all gifts and monetary donations are tax deductible. Donations made by December 31, 2016 are eligible for deduction in 2016.
See the Caring for Children Foundation website at www.frankccc.com for more information.