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‘Why we give’: the Abt Family

The Abt Family Foundation was started because of our family’s heart for helping others. We try to give to all causes that touch us and deserve extra attention, and JourneyCare is among those that remain dear to us.

Our support for JourneyCare goes back several years, including during construction of the Marshak Family Hospice CareCenter on the Robert H. and Terri L. Cohn Campus in Glenview, our own hometown. Because patient families often spend days at a time in the CareCenter with their loved ones, we knew our appliances could help them feel more at home. That is why we donated a washing machine and two dryers for their exclusive use, as well as supplied all electronics and appliances for the building at discounted costs. This year, JourneyCare touched our hearts once again when we saw a request from a family that needed help from the JourneyCare Foundation’s Comfort & Joy program. The program helps provide JourneyCare patients with non-medical needs that pop up during one of the most difficult times in their lives. The program is wide-ranging and can include granting a special wish to share in life’s little joys, or helping with day-to-day needs and emergencies.

We knew we wanted to help when this came across our desk.

“Pediatric patients Kaden and Kaleighann both have struggled their entire lives with mitochondrial disease. As years pass they increasingly need more one-on-one support, additional surgeries, more medications and more daily support from nurses and their mother. Each child also requires around 200 medications daily that must be purchased, organized and refrigerated, and then given to them.

With the amount of medications this family is using, they now have four traditional refrigerators with freezers in their home in order to safely keep these medications cooled. Not only does this take up a lot of space, but it also causes their electric bills to skyrocket. Organizing medications in this many fridges also gets complicated, plus the freezer portion is not needed. With medical needs increasing for both children, the family now requires another fridge. After many discussions, the family realizes that – if they could purchase two refrigerators without a freezer – they would have more room, could remove three of their current fridge/freezer combos to lower their electric bills, and organize medications more efficiently.

But this family has only one income, since both children require their mother to stay home and help the nurses with medical care. Their income is spent on expenses like a medical van so that both children can be transported to appointments, as well as supplies that are not covered by insurance. At the end of the day, there is not much money left.”

We knew we could help this family, and made sure to help the Comfort & Joy program secure the type of appliances they needed – and deliver them to the family rapidly.
It is wishes like this – wishes that come through the Comfort & Joy program so often – that make an enormous difference in the lives of patients and their families. We are grateful for the program, and grateful we can continue to help.


– As told to Elisabeth Mistretta, JourneyCare Content Specialist
Originally published in Together to Care, Issue 1, 2017