Since today is Giving Tuesday we want to highlight 3 amazing charities that are unique and special to each of our founders. From 12/2 through 12/6 we’ll be donating 10% of our profits to these charities.
The Life Raft Group In January 2011, Jessica's father was diagnosed with a very rare cancer called GIST.Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is found in the digestive tract that does not attract enough research interest either from government or the pharmaceutical industry. With little information and a very scary diagnosis, her family was very happy to find The Life Raft Group (TLRG) which sole purpose is to cure GIST and to help those living with it until then. To do this, the Life Raft Group focuses on three key areas: research, patient support & education, and advocacy, which lay the foundation of their mission to ensure the survival of GIST patients through a comprehensive approach connecting individual patients’ needs, the worldwide community of GIST advocates and the global health and research environment. Nearly 9 years later, Jessica's father is still showing No Evidence of Disease (NED) during his regular scans and being fully supported by TLRG and it's dedicated community every step of the way.
Jackson Chance Foundation was founded by an incredible family with an even more incredible son named Jackson. Jackson was born on 11.11.11 and lived his entire life in the NICU. Jackson passed away after 10 short months. While his family spent everyday in the hospital with him they noticed many families did not have the resources to do the same. Many families were unable to afford the transportation costs. Visiting a baby in the NICU is as essential for their recovery as medical treatment. Carrie and her husband Terry started Jackson Chance Foundation so parents could visit their babies in the NICU without the financial burden of parking. Carrie has now been named “The Parking Fairy”.
Jessie’s family became involved with Jackson Chance Foundation when her twin boys were born prematurely and spent almost 3 months in the NICU. Their parking fees would have been close to $3,000 in the end without the support of the NICU transportation program. Annually, JCF provides more than 63,000 days of parking to over 1,200 NICU families. Every $300 raised provides one monthly parking pass. The transportation program is available at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital. They continue to grow and spread their reach to support more NICU families.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chicago creates and supports one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. This organization is so special to Niki having been a part of it for the past 10 years.
Niki began my involvement back in 2009 on the Leadership Board; served as Funds Development co-chair from 2012-2014 raising over $400,000. Starting an annual gala for the young professional network & supporters of Big Brothers Big Sisters was like planning her wedding all over again! Only this time for a bigger and better reason to celebrate!
Along with a colleague, Niki started the Corporate site-based program at her HQ for her day job, currently in its 6th consecutive year. The program matches 20 Bigs and Littles and meets on a bi-weekly basis; it fosters growth, enhances confidence, they work on homework and talk about the future. Niki was a Big mentor for 3 of these years before her little went off to college. She taught her to floss and Niki taught her to stick with a sport, among many other things.