The Padre Pio Foundation of America generously awarded a grant of $100,000 to The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) to ensure more children can get to cancer treatments during the ongoing pandemic. The continued spread of COVID-19 has made travel and care more complicated for families, and this grant provides crucial assistance.
“Every day we receive letters and prayer requests for children who have been diagnosed with cancer. And we saw, firsthand, how childhood cancer affects families and how life literally changes in a split second with that diagnosis,” said Padre Pio Foundation of America Executive Director Julie Fitts Ritter.
“One of our staff members lost a nephew to this awful disease. Every day we joined with her in the updates. Watching the family go through the ups and downs, the good news and bad, throughout treatment was heartbreaking. We knew there were so many other families going through the same thing. We understood the added stress of COVID-19 could not be easy for any family in this situation. The Padre Pio Foundation of America and our benefactors wanted to do something to help during these trying times.”
The burdens families are carrying as they face childhood cancer have only become heavier in the past year. The need to travel to another city, or even across the country, for specialized treatment is not uncommon. Travel is more difficult and potentially dangerous, so some families are forced to delay treatment or take more time off work to drive instead of fly to a medical facility. Their ability to rely on family and friends for help is limited due to quarantine and exposure concerns, and many families are experiencing increased financial hardship.
In a 2020 survey by the NCCS of families they serve, the organization found that:
- 85% of families reported job loss or a reduction in hours (please note 75% of families helped by the NCCS report earning less than $50,000 a year)
- 25% of families experienced a delay in treatment or follow-up care which was decided by the treating facility
- 20% of families asked for treatment or follow up care to be delayed due to concerns related to COVID-19
- Nearly 56% report being concerned about how they will afford the expenses associated with their child’s treatment
- 91% report feelings of anxiety due to COVID-19 and the majority reported experiencing excessive worry
As one parent commented in the survey, “To put it simply, [the pandemic] has made an already unexpected and traumatizing situation 1,000 times worse.”
The NCCS is there when needed most to help families get where they need to be to be—physically, financially and emotionally—and give their children the best shot at survival. The NCCS is extremely grateful to The Padre Pio Foundation of America for stepping in to provide assistance as more families need support.