Hope for Children

$2,075 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 35 people in 55 months
Marissa Kolodziej Mortensen  OAK PARK, IL
Please make sure you read the last paragraph before donating!

My name is Marissa and after being inspired by a 17 month old's courageous battle with cancer at 12 years old, I began my organization. Today at 19, I run Hope for Children. I provide services to dozens of local & out of state families. At 9 years old, I began babysitting for neighbors and now I currently nanny and babysit for 15 families during the week. Why do I do this? To fund my organization! J I decided to open a Gofundme account a year ago, and have been able to utilize some donations since then!

My goal is to ease the emotional struggles on pediatric cancer families. My main goal however, is to bring joy, love, distraction and HOPE to these families. How do I achieve this? The first program I started was Hope bins/packages. These are bins filled with gifts, personalized to the child’s interests. I personally deliver these to families the first time we meet whether that is in the hospital or at their home. I send these to children on an occasional basis as well.  In addition,  I have and continue to do the following for families:

-        Holiday gift program for all holidays! (Easter, Halloween, Christmas, etc)

-        - Memorial items for families honoring their child.
- I provide free babysitting to parents whose children are fighting cancer.
- Take kids to appointments if a parent is unavailable to or stay inpatient with a child anytime a parent needs me,
- I have been blessed to meet many cancer warriors, locally.
In addition,  I have traveled out of state 6 times to go help families in need that are a long car ride, or plane ride away from me.  
- Hospital and home visits. Help whenever the family needs extra support. This may mean me attending the hospital with a family for 6 hours to help relieve the parent and provide extra support, a playmate and distraction to the child. During this time, I will bring a gift/activity when attending the hospital/home. 
- Watching siblings during clinic appointments. 
- "Activity/fun days" with the children I work with- to provide distraction and joy to the child as well as a break for the parents. Example of this- - My travel to MI to take a cancer fighter out for the day to the pumpkin patch. We also went to Build a bear, to ride on the merry go round & eat lunch, as well as a children's garden center. I do these for local children as well. Some examples: Frozen on ice, mini mall shopping sprees, to go see a movie, or ride a horse.
- In 2014 , I took care of a 3 year old battling cancer for 3 days while her parents enjoyed themselves on their anniversary trip. While their daughter stayed with me we did activities such as a mall shopping spree, monkey island, children's museum, out to eat & more!
- In August 2013 I had the most incredible experience bringing a child from Texas to Illinois to attend the Taylor swift concert with me, as I had received two tickets for Christmas, and wanted someone deserving to come with. 



-        My biggest commitment the past year has been to a very special little girl. I am the secondary caregiver of this child who is battling cancer, in first grade. This means I sleep overnight with her in the hospital, take care of her throughout the week, contact her doctors when needed and basically fill in when and wherever her parent needs help or cannot be there—

Please help me, help these families! I cannot do this alone any longer!  Your donation will go 100% to one of the services listed above. I also now accept TOY donations! 
Go fund me DOES takes out a percentage of the donation. EX: you donate $100, I will receive $91.80. If you are planning on donating over $100 please considering sending a check so that 100% of the donation goes to the kids. Checks MUST be made out to: Marissa Kolsen
Checks and toy donations can be sent to:

Hope for Children
PO Box 1883
Oak Park, IL
60304-0605

How you can read about my organization or contact me:

-        www.gofundme.com/hopeforchildren

-        www.facebook.com/hope4thekids

-        www.facebook.com/marissahfc


Thank you so much for supporting my mission to help kids battling cancer! GO GOLD!
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Update 6
Posted by Marissa Kolodziej Mortensen
48 months ago
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Christmas presents sent to Ava , sister Gwen, mom & dad. I work with Ava here in Chicago, but she is currently in Seattle for a transplant.
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Update 5
Posted by Marissa Kolodziej Mortensen
52 months ago
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Free babysitting to parents of children battling cancer is something I love to offer. If myself and the family are within reasonable distance it's a perfect match! I've learned there are differences from taking care of a child with cancer vs a healthy child throughout my years of doing this. I'm glad to be able to offer this so that parents can feel their child is in experienced hands. I have been asked to babysit for reasons that range to date night, or a full day! I try to make the time fun with the child as you see pictured here is myself & Zeke (leukemia fighter)we had 7 hours together this day and spent it at a craft fair & at the park!
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Update 4
Posted by Marissa Kolodziej Mortensen
53 months ago
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"Activity/fun days" are another "service" I love to offer to families. Fun days can range from 4 hours to the full day and consist of myself taking out a cancer fighter to do exactly what it sounds like- have a fun day! The purpose behind this is to provide a break to parents & a "forget about cancer" day for the child. The aim is to see a big smile on the child's face while they live like a normal kid for the time spent. One example of activities on a fun day was when I traveled to Michigan to take my sweet Maddie out from morning to evening! (See pictured) The day consisted of the pumpkin patch- hay ride, petting animals, playing at the patch, then the Fredrick meijer children's gardens were there was tons of kid friendly activities , the last stop was the mall where we rode the merry go round, ate dinner & Maddie created her very own build a bear. The smile on her face that remained for the full day was priceless!
Maddie's fun day!
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Update 3
Posted by Marissa Kolodziej Mortensen
53 months ago
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Hope bins are one of the services offered. A hope bin is completely customized after a parent fills out a form and answers questions on the child's "favorites",sizes&interests. The bin is then shopped for and wrapped in different colored paper that correlates to the child's favorites(ex:princess paper, dinosaurs etc). The gifts are placed into a large bin & given to the child at the initial meet. The goal of the hope bin is for the gifts to help distract the child from all things cancer related, fun for hospital stays& long days in isolation at home. The hope is to bring hope & happiness with these custom gifts.
Hope Bin example
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$2,075 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 35 people in 55 months
Created June 16, 2014
Marissa Kolodziej Mortensen
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