?The Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation enables single parents of children with
life-threatening illnesses to care for their children fulltime by
relieving financial burdens when other resources are exhausted or unavailable.?
?A child is diagnosed with a terminal disease. The mother finds herself alone. Why?? Statistics shows that 78% (8 out of 10) couples separate or divorce once it is determined that their child suffers a life-threatening or catastrophic chronic illness.? Invariably, mothers become the single care-givers.? The struggles of these lone parents and their dying children remain hidden to the world.?? So do the impossible choices that these mothers must make.? If a mother quits her job to care of her child, the family finances shatter.?? If she chooses to continue to work, then her dying child must often face suffering and treatments alone, a frightening prospect for both mother and child.
??Ms. Sobel?s inspiration for the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation stems from her own staggering loss ? that of her teenage son Andre who died of a malignant brain tumor.?? Within the same year, her husband took his own life. Over the subsequent months of grief, she sought a way to honor their lives.? As she reflected, Ms. Sobel realized that through her ordeal, she had never needed to worry about finances or the lack of any other resource.? She had been able to help Andre in every imaginable way.? She wondered how she would have managed had financial and emotional support been lacking.? Then the question hit her ? what might be the plight of mothers without her resources?? How could they possibly cope?? Ms. Sobel says she experienced an unexpected upwelling of gratitude for her blessings and also a burst of clarity as to what the mission of the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation must be.
Exploring the world of the single care-giver Ms. Sobel found a place of quiet suffering where mothers staggered from crisis to crisis.?? They had few advocates.? In one case, the request for help was to provide a part time caregiver while the mother went to work. The cost of this would have been $2200. Ms. Sobel asked a mother how much money would allow her to give up work to care fulltime for her terminally ill son.?? The answer: $800 per month.? ?Just imagine the senselessness of forcing that mother to leave her dying child and go to work, so she can pay a stranger to do what she most wants to do? reasons Ms. Sobel.? ?Working with select hospitals nationally, the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation provides crisis funding when NO other help is available.? Payments go directly to landlords, utility companies, grocery stores, insurers.? The hallmark of the ASRL program is to help within 24 hours.?? The parameters of assistance are as wide as are the needs of the families.? The Foundation helps to enhance their lives as well as to salvage them from crisis.? Grants have been made to buy wigs for the self-conscious teenager losing her hair to chemotherapy, comfortable beddings, and music lessons for a sibling feeling the neglect of a mother overwhelmed with the needs of the critically ill child. In other cases, grants have covered travel cost to bring relatives in to help or, to pay for a last vacation for mother and child.? The speed and simplicity of the process make this foundation unique.? The caregiver does not fill out any forms.? Instead, the hospital social workers identify the financial crisis and apply to the Foundation using an electronic form.??
Valerie Sobel is keenly aware that such monies do not replace the health or the life of the child.? She intends only for the work of ASRLF to soften the crisis and to increase the families? ability to cope.? Her objective remains focused and pragmatic ? that relief should come promptly.
??By caring for the care-giver, we care for the child.?