In 2003, one of our founders, Andie McConnell, moved in down the street from a family whose son was a brain cancer survivor. In getting to know this family, she learned of the family's struggles and loneliness when faced with pediatric cancer. These conversations stuck with her through the years and became very important in 2009 when the child of an acquaintance was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric brain cancer. In hopes of easing the financial burden brought on by cancer, she began fundraising and in doing so, a great passion was born. As the fundraising unfolded, the family she was helping became dear friends and one day the mom asked if Andie would be the "fairy godmother" for her children. In that moment, Fairy Godmother Project was born.
The first step in getting the project underway was to survey families faced with pediatric cancer and use their answers to shape the plan for the project. What Andie didn't expect was the need and void expressed by most of the families. They shared that people disappeared because they couldn't handle the reality of pediatric cancer. They all expressed a need for help with daily household tasks and with their other children.
This leads us to part one of the mission of Fairy Godmother Project which is to ease the burden of those faced with pediatric cancer even if only for an hour. Presently, we are making meals, providing professional house cleaning, hair cuts, and lawn care plus providing gas cards for local families whose children have pediatric cancer. We implemented a Financial relief fund in 2014 and were able to pay nearly $10,000 in bills for our families. We are being connected to families by word of mouth and connections to hospitals but hope one day to offer more services and connect with more families on a larger scale.
The second part of our mission is to provide families with photo sessions donated by professional photographers. Talking with many of these cancer families, we realized what an amazing gift could be given in photography. This is where co-founder, Stephanie Johnson stepped in. She is the one giving the gift of photography or finding other photographers to give this gift. Their job is to capture the families' moments, connections and their love for each other despite the stress and worry of dealing with pediatric cancer.
In 2015, we developed a program to support families facing end of life. This program provides much needed emotional, volunteer and financial support to families when their child dies. Through this program, we have been able to pay for 3 funerals/celebrations of life, contribute to a headstone and assist in the planning of services for the families. Additionally, we are building community between these families that helps with their grief.
For now, in the words of Mother Theresa, "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."
Please contact us if you are interested in tackling some small things with great love or if you or someone you know needs some small things tackled as your family faces pediatric cancer.
****Photos are shared at the discretion of each family photographed. Some families may choose to share their photos and their stories while others may not. Our purpose is to capture this time in the lives of these families. Sharing the photographs and stories is only to raise awareness of pediatric cancer in hopes of furthering help for families****