While Ross was at Children’s Mercy Hospital, we became part of a family that no one wants to be part of; one that has one common thread…we all had a child battling cancer. It is amazing how kids seem to take the hand that they are dealt, and just fight without ever complaining or feeling pity for themselves. Ross' Foundation is set up to help these kids be able to continue being themselves, and not have to worry about burdens that these terrible diseases can put on their families.
We live only about 20 miles from Children’s Mercy Hospital, but many of the kids being treated lived hundreds of miles away. We came up with a system where my wife stayed with Ross on Wednesday's, Thursday's, and Sunday nights, I stayed with him on Friday and Saturday nights, and my mother stayed with him on Monday and Tuesday nights. Many families that had children being treated didn't have nearly that type of support system. They need help, whether it be gas money, money to pay bills, buy meals, or pay for family members to possibly stay at a hotel nearby for a few days a month in order to help them out. Many mothers stayed with their children full-time, rarely if ever leaving the hospital, not by choice, but by necessity because they had no help. Many parents don't have a salaried position that will afford them time off to be with their children, so every hour that they are not working, they are also not being paid. These families don't need to worry about those types of things. They need to be able to focus on helping their children without outside stresses. We know that through Ross's Foundation we can help these families to be able to support and take care of their kids without having to worry about finances that can accumulate that you wouldn't typically think about. We have also recognized the importance of living life to the fullest, because you never know what may happen. If we can afford a family the opportunity to take a trip where they can get away for a short period of time and make wonderful memories, or possibly buy their child something that will put a smile on his or her face, then that’s what we want them to be able to do.
Childhood cancer is terrible to even think about, but when experiencing it first hand you truly get to see how devastating it can be to families. We know that with the money raised by this foundation, we can make it easier for families to help their child beat this disease, and we can provide these children a little bit of happiness.