Kimberly is a single mother with two children. Her youngest son, Marques, age 6, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancerous mass on his adrenal glands that had metastasized throughout his entire body. It left him facing a 30% chance of survival. Chemotherapy, radiation and a stem marrow transplant put Marques’ cancer in remission until a few weeks ago when the cancer relapsed.
Rent or Staying by Her Child’s Side?
Despite her best efforts to balance being a working mom in today’s challenging economy, Kimberly had to quit her job. Forced to rely on her savings, Kimberly cut out all unnecessary expenses, determined to stay by Marques’ side as he underwent treatment. Even with her resourcefulness, Kimberly was soon faced with a choice no mother should have to make: paying the rent or being at her child’s side. She did what any mother would want to do: she stayed with her child. Today, Kimberly stays strong even as Marques is back in the hospital and faces significant hearing loss from the last intensive treatment.
Kimberly’s story is unfortunately one that is all too familiar to the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation (ASRL). Founder Valerie Sobel is no stranger to how precious time is with a catastrophically ill child. Sobel spent 24 hours a day by her son, Andre, as he battled a brain tumor. Yet, as she looked around the hospital, she noticed that very few of the other parents were able to do the same for their children, forced to make the choice between their child and financial responsibilities. It was Valerie’s experience, and her appreciation of the gift of time she was able to spend with Andre, that inspired her to start the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation.
ASRL responds to the needs of single parent families in financial crisis through the urgent requests of social workers at affiliated children’s hospitals. From food, transportation and utilities to medications not covered by insurance and rent and mortgage payments, the organization helps with urgent expenses to allow parents to stay at a child’s bedside. In Kimberly’s case, ASRL has stepped in and paid for January and April’s rent this year to give Kimberly more time at her son’s side.
Donate and Support
The organization has launched the Beyond the Clock campaign in honor of Mother’s Day, calling for donations to help the moms like Kimberly go beyond the clock this Mother’s Day to be with their catastrophically ill children. These donations can relieve some of the burdens faced by single caregivers. Stories of other strong mothers who are going beyond the clock can be found here.
Donate and support the Beyond the Clock campaign.