November 9, 2020
Just this week, Danielle Griffith, the program director at the Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund, was contacted by a social worker at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to discuss a boy named Charlie. An adorable four-year-old from rural Pennsylvania, Charlie suffers from an intense food allergy that causes unceasing vomiting and dehydration. Months ago, after the coronavirus gripped the country, travel to care was seriously restricted, and to complicate matters, both of Charlie’s parents lost their jobs. The expenses and logistics associated with travel prevented Charlie’s family from accessing the medical care he needed. Now, as medical services are opening up, the Dolan Fund was able to provide Charlie’s family with safe, clean and convenient hotel lodging through Kolbe’s Hopeful Nights program.
It was almost a year ago, when the Dolan Fund board of directors approved an initiative to assume operations for The Kolbe Fund’s Hopeful Nights program. To ensure a seamless transition, I have worked intimately with the Dolan Fund to forge and strengthen collaborations with hospitals, hotels, and other like-minded nonprofits in the region. Together, we have realized a partnership that enhances the Dolan Fund’s already efficient and effective suite of programming by utilizing a single point person and application process. Recognizing that this partnership eliminates unnecessary expenses and increases the value of each donor dollar, The Kolbe Fund has filed for dissolution.
When I met Peggy Dolan in the fall of 2013, The Kolbe Fund was freshly founded and I was keenly aware of the impact that Peggy and the Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund team were making on the community of families in our region that struggled as they cared for their critically ill or special needs child. Peggy, who had helped more than 20,000 families over the then 37 years since her young daughter passed away from leukemia, was an inspiration to me. She was a cheerleader for my resolve to celebrate my son’s miraculously good health through The Kolbe Fund. While The Kolbe Fund provided hotel lodging and support for families traveling to Philadelphia, the Dolan Fund dispensed emotional support and financial relief for the families currently residing in the region.
With your encouragement, over these seven years, The Kolbe Fund’s Hopeful Nights program has provided more than 3,200 nights of emergency hotel lodging to hundreds of families traveling to obtain the best pediatric care. Now operating under The Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund, we are stronger and more impactful than ever. For financially strapped families who must travel to access top pediatric care, the pandemic has made life particularly difficult. Complicated issues of quarantine, COVID testing requirements, and hospital safety policies that restrict accompanying guardians and siblings create logistical stressors for families who are already stretched thin. Kolbe’s Hopeful Nights keeps families together in a safe and clean environment as they await COVID test results required prior to some treatments or entry into communal living at the Ronald McDonald House.
In addition to Kolbe’s Hopeful Nights, in response to COVID-19 the Dolan Fund has prioritized the alleviation of pain for families caring for a critically ill or special needs child as they experience joblessness. Often these medically vulnerable children require expensive technology and adaptive equipment in order to school at home. The Dolan Fund’s Financial Assistance Program makes direct bill payments to cover otherwise unaffordable expenses like these. Furthermore, the Dolan Fund’s on call social worker provides emotional support and guidance for families in need who are navigating the often-confounding maze of social services.
This Thanksgiving, at The Kolbe Fund, we are truly grateful for the privilege of having supported so many families over these seven years and our ability to create a durable legacy through this meaningful partnership.
Please, as a tribute to the good work we’ve done and the good work we have yet to do, make a contribution of any amount to the Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund. Your support for the families that struggle financially and emotionally as they care for their child is deeply appreciated.
Katherine R. Schnittman
Founder & President