Sharon Hurff has been a social worker for 17 years, but for the past three years she has worked at Levine’s Children Hospital. When a child is diagnosed with cancer, they are assigned a social worker, and Sharon just happens to be one of those social workers at Levine’s Children Hospital. Each year, approximately 110 children are diagnosed with cancer at Levine’s Children Hospital. ONE HUNDRED AND TEN.
One of the things Sharon does is try to match up families with organizations that can help them through their fight with cancer. HomeTown Heroes happens to be one of those organizations. I just assumed, and you know what they say about people who assume, that Sharon had many many organizations like HomeTown Heroes to choose from when assigning families. But, unfortunately, that is not the case. She has very few organizations to choose from and that is a shame. Luckily for us, HomeTown Heroes is one of those organizations. I say “us” and not only the families with cancer because we, as a city, county, state, should feel lucky to say we live in the same state as the people of HomeTown Heroes.
HomeTown Heroes is an organization whose motto is “Big Kids Helping Little Kids“. They are a group of volunteers who work with families when their children are diagnosed with cancer.
When speaking with Sharon, she indicated that several factors were involved when assigning a family to HomeTown Heroes. It is not just, “Here is a group – Good Luck”. No. When HomeTown Heroes is assigned to a family, they become part of that family. They want to be involved in these families lives. Every part of it. And not all people are comfortable with that.
Additionally, HomeTown Heroes is limited in the number of families they can be involved in for several reasons. Resources (people, funds) are limited. They are limited by county. Everything they do is volunteer. Every person involved is a volunteer and they depend on their community to continue to support them so that they can continue to support these children and families.
Sharon could not sing HomeTown Heroes praises enough. She told me that they were “amazing” and were “nothing but wonderful”. She also recounted a story for me. She told me about one of the families of HomeTown Heroes.
This family had a child with cancer. Both parents worked full time, but had to take time off without pay and without benefits in order to care for their child with cancer. (Wouldn’t you?) Their house was in foreclosure and they were on the verge of being homeless. Why? Because they were taking care of their child with cancer. HomeTown Heroes stepped in and not only did they support this family emotionally, they were able to generate enough money to bail this family out of foreclosure. Can you imagine the weight that was pulled off this family’s back by HomeTown Hereos?
Sharon indicated that Capt. Mike, a member of HomeTown Heroes, never lets her down. She can call on him and he will do everything in his power to take care of these children.
Aren’t we lucky to live in a city associated with HomeTown Heroes?
Wouldn’t we even be luckier if they could help even more children out?
How could that be possible?
If you are interested in finding out how to help HomeTown Heroes check out www.HomeTownHeroesonline.org for more information.