Thanks to donations and support, the Marshfield Clinic Krause Family Pediatric Cancer Angel Fund, which provides assistance for non-medical expenses, has grown to more than $75,000 in just five months.
Teri Wilczek, chief development officer, reached out to Werner and Sue Krause in summer 2013 to engage them in support of Marshfield Clinic's pediatric cancer care efforts. Clinic providers and staff have treated their grandson Will for leukemia since 2012. Motivated to help others in need, they loved the idea of starting a fund to help families financially struggling due to their child's cancer diagnosis.
The Krauses started the fund with $25,000 and offered to match up to $25,000 in additional donations to the fund. The Clinic raised the $25,000 and the Krause family presented a $25,000 check this month to Clinic leaders and Development staff at an event for Krause Angel Fund donors in the Erdmann Lobby at Marshfield Center.
"This speaks loudly to this community and its caring, concern and generosity for others," Werner Krause said. "Congrats to all for a job well done."
The Krause family is hoping to continue making it easier for some of those families who struggle financially during their child's treatment. Werner Krause threw down another challenge for the Clinic.
"I don't want you to feel like this $25,000 was too easy," he said. "We'll make another $50,000 gift to establish an endowment for the Krause Pediatric Cancer Angel Fund. Go find us some partners to match it."
Five-year-old Will Krause's leukemia is now in remission, but his family is helping other families who are dealing with the challenges of pediatric cancer. The fund provides financial support to Clinic pediatric oncology patients and their families for non-medical expenses such as lodging, groceries, transportation needs, meals and many other costs families incur throughout their child's treatment.
Many people and organizations have made donations or held fundraisers. Will's kindergarten class raised more than $1,800 earlier this year collecting change while learning about money. Will and his siblings have urged his parents to hold a rummage sale to benefit the fund, his mother, Becky Krause, told Clinic staff and donors.
"Will asked me the other day 'Why did I get cancer?'" Becky Krause said. "I think he was chosen because he'd do something amazing with it. I think all of us here have seen him do that."
Will's doctor, Michael McManus, a pediatric hematologist and oncologist, said he's seen parents struggle as they deal with the financial costs, in addition to the health concerns their child faces, during treatment.
"When you have people helping each other out, it's truly amazing," McManus said.
Each of the 30 donors in attendance shared their story about why they have been motivated to support this important fund. Their stories of hope, inspiration and friendship were truly motivational.
The Marshfield Clinic system provides patient care, research and education in more than 50 locations in northern, central and western Wisconsin, making it one of the largest comprehensive medical systems in the United States.