"In April 2011, our 10 year old daughter Lauren was diagnosed with a rare malignant brain tumor. As any parent can imagine, we were absolutely devastated, but our spirits were lifted by the love and support we received from our community. Friends, family - even total strangers rallied to support us in many different ways. After nearly losing her vision, Lauren received chemotherapy treatments at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh followed by six weeks of Proton Therapy at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Today, she's cancer free. We're incredibly grateful to the doctors, nurses and staff in Pittsburgh and Boston who helped save her life.
The groundswell of support we received during Lauren's journey included tens of thousands of dollars in financial support which was provided through the generosity of our community. We were fortunate to have insurance which covered all of our medical expenses so we began to think of ways we could use these funds to pay forward some of the incredible love and grace we had been shown.
Lauren is the beneficiary of research. Ten years ago, the cure rate for her particular cancer was only around 15%. Today it's 70%. During her treatment, we met other children and their families who were struggling with tremendous logistical and financial hardships we didn't have to face. We will never forget the sight of young children receiving chemotherapy treatments alone in the hospital because their families couldn't afford hotel rooms, airplane tickets or even gasoline to make the trip with them. Even more importantly, we learned that travel costs sometimes cause children to miss-out on the same critical research treatment options that were so important to our family.
We established The Killian Foundation with these children in mind. The funds we received from our community served as the seed money to get us started. However, our goal from the beginning was to develop a sustainable Foundation which could help families long after our initial funding was gone. Before we even finalized our official non-profit status, we managed to double the size of our initial fund. We received our 501(c)(3) non-profit status in February 2014.
While there are many other deserving causes and charitable organizations, we've elected to transform our own experience and the support we've received from our community into a positive force for change. Unlike other non-profits which are focused on "cancer awareness", the vast majority of the funds we raise go directly to people who really need them. Long term, we hope to extend our assistance to families struggling to visit other children's hospitals. In the meantime, we sincerely thank everyone who has helped us along the way - we hope you'll join us as we continue to pay it forward."
- Christine & Scott Killian